The Christie Administration kicked off National Disability Employment Awareness Month yesterday with the New Jersey departments of Labor and Workforce Development and Human Services participating in the state’s fourth annual Disability Pride Parade and Celebration Day in the capital city.
The Department of Labor, celebrating a record-breaking placement of 4,439 individuals with disabilities into unsupported, private-sector jobs during Fiscal Year 2014, was honored at the event by the Alliance Center for Independence, which organizes the annual parade. Observed annually in October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month seeks to educate people about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
“My department is proud to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month again this year as we continue the Employment First policy Governor Christie initiated at the start of this administration,” said Labor Commissioner Harold J. Wirths. “Our department’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, by working cooperatively with Garden State employers, has successfully linked thousands of individuals with disabilities to jobs, training and the support services they need to transition into independent and sustainable employment. I am proud of their achievement in placing more people into private sector jobs than ever before.”
The state departments of Human Services and Labor will engage in a variety of activities in October that promote community awareness of disability employment issues, including saluting employers who have successfully mainstreamed workers with disabilities into their operations. The departments also will highlight the accomplishments of individual workers with disabilities and tour businesses that have used assistive technology to accommodate workers with disabilities.
Additionally, the Christie Administration is organizing a targeted seminar to educate employers about the programs and services available to assist businesses in hiring workers with disabilities.
“Governor Christie declared New Jersey an Employment First state in 2012, encouraging a fundamental shift in philosophy and expectations about employment for people with disabilities,” said Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “We all benefit from diversity in the workplace and our goal, as organizations that provide supports to people with disabilities, is to focus on assisting people in obtaining integrated, competitive employment that increases financial independence and a sense of pride and accomplishment in being a part of the workforce.”
As part of the Disability Pride Parade and Celebration Day today, Alice Hunnicutt, director of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, accepted an Appreciation Award from the Alliance Center for Independence, which honored the department for the ongoing partnership it has with the organization to encourage individuals with disabilities to become successful participants in their communities.
New Jersey assisted 4,439 individuals with disabilities to land jobs in state Fiscal Year 2014, July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, by matching them with employers looking for qualified job-seekers.Related Articles: