North Carolinians with disabilities have the ability and desire to seek employment and careers in order to earn competitive wages and benefits, enable them to reach their maximum potential, achieve economic self-sufficiency and contribute to their communities. People with disabilities make a positive impact on the economy by earning wages, purchasing goods and services in their communities, and becoming self-supporting.
However, in today’s U.S. labor force, only 19.8 percent of Americans with disabilities are employed compared to 68.8 percent of those without disabilities. This results in most people with disabilities living in poverty and dependence, and often segregated from the community.
“Expect. Employ. Empower.” is the theme of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Held each October, NDEAM aims to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
Everyone plays an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month. Please join the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities in changing attitudes and beliefs about employing those with disabilities.
By Ron Reeve and Chris Egan, North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities
Reeve is the chair of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities. Egan is the executive director of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities.
The original article appeared in the Sun Journal on September 27, 2014.