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State agencies, partners kick off national Disability Employment Awareness Month with initiative for NY businesses

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Sat, Oct 13th 2018 12:15 pm
Business pledge increases opportunities for inclusive employment
In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, in partnership with the Employment First Commission, announced an employment initiative to help employers hire dependable employees with special abilities.
To highlight the positive contributions that people with disabilities can make in the workplace, New York is launching the EmployAbility Pledge, which encourages businesses to commit to embrace a philosophy of inclusivity and to join the state in creating communities that seek to include individuals with all abilities.
Businesses who sign the EmployAbility Pledge will receive a window decal and a digital badge for their website designating their business as one that supports inclusion. They will also be listed on the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities' and Employment First Commission's websites as inclusive businesses. Businesses are encouraged to take the EmployAbility Pledge that can be found on the OPWDD website.
The pledge builds on the efforts of the EmployAbility Toolkit launched last year, which provides businesses with guidance for employing people with disabilities and an overview of the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.
The EmployAbility Pledge and the EmployAbility Toolkit were created through the Employment First Commission, which is a group of several state agencies and community representatives charged with making competitive, integrated employment the first option when considering supports and services for people with disabilities. The mission of the Employment First Commission is to increase the employment rate and decrease the poverty rate for New Yorkers with disabilities.
Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Acting Commissioner Kerry A. Delaney said, "Supporting people who want to work is an important part of New York's ongoing efforts to achieve full community integration for people with disabilities. The EmployAbility Pledge encourages employers to practice more inclusive hiring."
New York Employment Services System Director of Employment Policy Andrew Karhan said, "New York state has set rigorous goals to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. There are two parts to this equation: qualified individuals with disabilities and businesses looking for talent. The Employability Pledge is a critical step in recognizing the importance of partnerships with business."
John Robinson, CEO of Our Ability Inc./Disability:IN New York, said "People with disabilities have historically been underemployed and underrepresented in the workforce. Earning a paycheck is the best way to assist people with disabilities in becoming independent and living in an inclusive society."

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