In recognition of Pennsylvania Disability Employment Awareness Month the Departments of Public Welfare and Labor & Industry is featuring an art display created by Pennsylvanians with disabilities and highlighting the need for continued collaboration and advocacy to promote improved access and equality for individuals with disabilities. A Lancaster city art gallery is among those featured at the State’s Capital.
The Friendship Heart Gallery, located at 118N Water Street, and Verve Vertu Art Studio in Luzerne County both are taking part in the art display entitled "Creativity without Limits." The galleries offer individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities an outlet of self expression and the means to economic independence.
"Pennsylvania draws strength from its diversity. By providing training, education and employment options to our citizens with disabilities we are able to empower them to enrich our workforce," said Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth. "The Department of Public Welfare, in partnership with the Department of Labor & Industry, provides the services needed to build a diverse workforce."
There are, according to Diversity, Inc., 37.2 million people with a disability in the United States.
Labor & Industry's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) provides employment opportunities to Pennsylvanians with disabilities. Last year, OVR programs resulted in nearly 10,000 Pennsylvanians with disabilities successfully achieving employment. Twenty percent of those 16 and older who are employed have a disability, according to Diversity, Inc.
"OVR understands the unique needs of people with disabilities and works daily to ensure that they are connecting in a meaningful way with employers," said Labor & Industry Secretary Hearthway. "By employing people with disabilities, employers gain a valuable, hard-working employee and people with disabilities become part of Pennsylvania's growing workforce."
Disability Employment Awareness Month has been recognized nationally since 1945. It began as a week and in 1988 was changed to a month long recognition. Each year a different theme is chosen to help promote the contributions to our failing economy provided by people with disabilities. The theme this year is "Because we are EQUAL to the Task."
The Friendship Heart Gallery is located in the newly opened Steeple View Lofts, 118 North Water Street. The Gallery is in Suite 101. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. It stays open later, until 8 p.m., on First Fridays. It is closed on Sundays.
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