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National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2016

“This year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme focuses on the importance of inclusion, especially when it comes to business, opportunity, and innovation. When we diversify our workforce we create opportunities for growth and improvement – not just for those with disabilities, but for everyone.”
                             Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation
                             National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2016


     National Disability Employment Awareness Month is observed every October. NDEAM is a nationwide campaign celebrating the skills and talents workers with disabilities bring to our workplaces. To reflect the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy announced that the official theme of 2016’s campaign is “#InclusionWorks.” Here at United Cerebral Palsy, we represent the theme of #InclusionWorks through each of our programs, and highlight the skills and talents of workers with disabilities through our Supported Employment program.  

     United Cerebral Palsy’s Supported Employment (SE) team is dedicated to ensuring that individuals with all disabilities locate, obtain and maintain quality employment opportunities. SE recognizes the strengths of the individuals we represent and will only place our clients in an employment role that fits both the employee and employer. In order to ensure a proper job placement there are several steps taken. We partner with local businesses that allow our applicants to volunteer at a job site for a few hours in order to conduct a “Situational Assessment.” Situational Assessments are trial work experiences that give applicants an opportunity to complete a variety of job tasks. This assessment helps the individual decide what field(s) of employment interest them. Additionally, it allows the SE team to determine talents and abilities of that individual and what, if any, supports may be needed in employment. An employment specialist will assist in completing applications and the interview process, as well as advocating for the individual and negotiating with the employer in regards to the accommodations the individual may need. Following job placement, a job coach will accompany the individual, helping to understand job tasks until the individual feels comfortable working alone. An employment specialist will continue to support the individual through site checks and phone calls. UCP will continue with long term support as long as the individual remains employed.

 “Too often in our Nation’s history, individuals with disabilities have been eager to work but could not find a job, facing red tape, discrimination, or employers who assumed that disabled meant unable and refused to hire them.”
                             Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation
                             National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2016

     As mentioned above, there are often many misconceptions about hiring an individual with a disability. UCP is working to break the barriers caused by these misconceptions. Some common misconceptions include: People with disabilities do not want to work, Employees with disabilities are more likely to have accidents on the job, Employees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate and Persons with disabilities are unable to meet performance standards. Clients in our Supported Employment program are often eager to work and become a part of a team at a local business. Safety hazards and liability are common concerns when hiring an individual with a disability. UCP is dedicated to ensuring the safety of our clients. We will not place an individual in a workplace that we feel could be an unsafe environment for them. A study conducted by the DuPont Corporation revealed that the safety records of people with and without disabilities were identical. It is also important to note that insurance rates are solely based on the relative hazards of the operation and that organization’s accident experience, not on whether any workers have a disability. The same DuPont study showed that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities and 92% of 2,745 employees observed with disabilities rated average or better in job performance than employees without a disability. UCP wants employers to know that not only can individuals with disabilities complete job tasks; they are capable of being an elite employee. As an organization we strive to promote a life without limits every day.
                                                                                              - Shayna Sims

If your company is interested in hiring an individual or becoming an assessment site through our Supported Employment program, please contact Diana Pierce, Director of Adult Services at (251) 479-4900 or dpierce@ucpmobile.org.

For more information on the #InclusionWorks campaign visit the link below: https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/

                      Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation – National Disability
                                         Employment  Awareness Month, 2016
Equal to the Task II: 1990 DuPont Survey of Employment of People with Disabilities