Business, State and Federal Government Focusing on Disability Employment

RALEIGH, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Each October, the disability community observes National Disability
Employment Awareness Month to celebrate the many contributions of
workers with disabilities – in reality, people with disabilities face an
80% unemployment rate in North Carolina and across the country.

“Efforts are underway in the private sector and on the national and
state levels to address what many see as a catastrophic unemployment
rate among people with disabilities,” said Chris Egan, executive
director of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities
(NCCDD). “For example, Employment First is a national movement built on
the idea that employment is the first priority and preferred outcome for
people with disabilities.”

“In North Carolina, Project SEARCH, Reaching the Summit of Success and
Learning and Earning After High School are NCCDD programs working to
increase competitive employment opportunities for people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Egan said. “In the private
sector, some of the state’s biggest employers are participating in the
North Carolina Business Leadership Network’s (NCBLN) fall conference on
Thursday, October 22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”

The conference will feature a number of presentations such as
“Inclusion: Bringing Employees with Disabilities Completely into the
Company Workforce” by Great Wolf Lodge and “Bringing Technology into the
Workplace to Release the Productive Talents of People with
Disabilities.” The day’s agenda will feature speakers from EY, MetLife,
Duke Energy and a panel of self-advocates addressing, “The Challenges
Facing People with Disabilities that are Looking for a Career.”

“Employment is so important to people – it provides a sense of purpose,
pride and accomplishment while building a network of co-workers and
friends that grow to become an important part of their lives as opposed
to living in isolation,” said Egan. “Here in North Carolina, we have a
great opportunity for state, county and municipal government to set the
example by ensuring inclusive hiring processes are in place that
encourage applicants with disabilities to apply and compete for jobs.”

The North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) works
to assure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
(I/DD) and their families participate in the design of and have access
to needed community services, individualized supports and other forms of
assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity
and inclusion in all areas of community life. The Council identifies
problems facing its community through its five-year planning process and
funds innovative projects and initiatives that promote the goals of the
Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act)
for all North Carolinians.


North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities
Devika Rao,