October marks National Disability Employment Awareness (NDEAM) Month. Employees with disabilities are integral to every workforce, and this month’s theme for NDEAM is “Disability: part of the equity equation.”
Too many people with disabilities face obstacles to entering and remaining in the labor market due to discrimination, lack of accessible transportation, workplace accommodations, quality education, and disability-exclusive policies.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the contributions of our workers with disabilities, educates society about disability employment, and sheds light on the inclusive policies and practices that people with disabilities need to thrive in the workplace.
“People with disabilities are like everyone else and deserve a chance to create opportunities, make their own money and participate in their community,” said Laura Degler, Assistant Director, Workforce Development. “People can and want to work.”
The Arc’s workforce development team partners with the people we support to identify what kind of work they are interested in, prepare resumes and prep for interviews, and coach them while on the job to ensure they have the support they need to be successful.
For Chris, that means celebrating his eight-year anniversary working in the produce department at Wegman’s. He recently received recognition for his years of dedicated service. In that time, Chris has provided incredible customer service, helping people find the items they need, and always ensuring shelves are fully stocked.
And, for Ebrianna (Bri), that meant taking on a new role last month. Bri accepted a position with Giant, tending the salad bar. She ensures the food is well stocked, and the hot bar items are always at the perfect temperature. Bri loves that her new job gives her the opportunity to interact with customers and colleagues, and she particularly loves earning her own paycheck.
“We build relationships with employers throughout Anne Arundel County and the Mid-Shore and educate them on the value of hiring someone with IDD and the importance of equity and inclusion,” said Degler. “We help employers learn how to coach, train and communicate with their new employees. Often, employers ask if we have another great candidate because the person with IDD has been such a great employee!”