The United States Congress has designated October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The purpose is to help the businesses and the community at large to understand and appreciate the contributions that people with disabilities can make to society.
People with developmental disabilities want many of the same things that the rest of us enjoy and take for granted. They want to be able to support themselves, live independently, have friends, hobbies, and perhaps even a pet. To make the “American dream” a reality, it starts with a job. For those who are unfamiliar with working with people with disabilities, it can be a daunting prospect. Many employers don’t’ know what they can expect, or may have erroneous assumptions. The goal of this month is to dispel some of these myths and show the world what they are capable of.
October 20th is Disability Mentoring Day in Connecticut. On this day, businesses can volunteer to host one to one job shadows, give tours, participate in career fairs, and other job related activities. Businesses interested in participating can contact Connect-abilityfor more information. Connect-ability is a grant funded program in the state of Connecticut that was established in 2005. Its goal is to provide support and technical assistance for employers and job seekers with disabilities. The program does not assist with job placement, but rather helps employers and job seekers examine and overcome barriers to employment such as transportation and low expectations.
Both job seekers with disabilities and employers should take advantage of this awareness month and of mentoring day in particular. The risks are minimal and the rewards can prove endless.
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