Gateway Services has announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October.
The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.”
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year, “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“Our national recovery from the pandemic cannot be completed without the inclusion of all Americans, in particular people with disabilities,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Their contributions have historically been vital to our nation’s success and are more important today than ever. We must build an economy that fully includes the talent and drive of those with disabilities.”
Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month Gateway Services will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate the community on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. A feature article is planned along with weekly informational posts via Facebook. Additionally, a celebration is being planned for individuals who have participated in the Community Employment Services (CES) program and have met their goals of finding a job.
“Gateway Services is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Tracy Wright, CEO. “We want to spread the important message that we value all perspectives, especially those of individuals with disabilities.”
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/NDEAM.
Gateway’s CES program, in collaboration with the Department of Human Services Division of Rehabilitation, provides services to individuals with a variety of disabilities from Bureau, Marshall and Putnam counties, offering a number of strategies and opportunities for employment. From resume building or developing interview skills to the actual job search, the CES program covers all aspects involved with successfully obtaining employment. If needed, Gateway also provides a job coach while the employee becomes acclimated to his/her new position.
“Individuals involved in the CES program have a wide range of disabilities from intellectual or learning disabilities that have been lifelong to physical and medical disabilities that have occurred later in life,” states Wright. “Our philosophy program is that everyone who has a desire to work should be given the opportunity to find a meaningful job suited to his/her interests and abilities.”
Gateway’s CES program has assisted individuals in finding jobs in a variety of occupations including janitorial, retail, office work and maintenance.
For more information about Gateway’s CES program, contact Michael Brown, CES supervisor, at 815-875-4548 Ext. 255, or visit our website at www.gateway-services.org.