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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 26, 2015
For More Information Contact:

Jonathan Burman or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201

www.nysed.gov

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State Education Department Recognizes Employers of Individuals with Disabilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

The New York State Education Department has been celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by recognizing businesses from across the State that do an outstanding job of employing individuals with disabilities. The Department’s Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES), along with the State Department of Labor (DOL), New York State Commission for the Blind, and other partners, has organized several events this month to highlight the connection between businesses seeking qualified workers and workers, who just happen to be individuals with disabilities. Through the Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) program, the Department assists individuals with disabilities in securing and maintaining employment in order to support independent living. All month long, businesses of all sizes from all parts of the state are being acknowledged for their willingness to invest in qualified people with disabilities in their communities by offering them employment opportunities.

“The employers being recognized have learned something very valuable:  employing qualified, capable, and hard working men and women who happen to have a disability is good business,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “These businesses not only help these adults live independently and provide for their families, but they also create new customers for local businesses and enrich their communities by making these individuals a part of them. Good business is good business, and other businesses should follow their lead.”

“The businesses being celebrated this month are giving individuals who may have had trouble securing employment in the past the chance to show that they are the right persons for the job,” Deputy Commissioner for Adult Career and Continuing Education Services Kevin Smith said. “They know equal employment for all is good business for employers, employees, and our State’s economy.”

“Having a disability should never be a barrier to employment,” New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Designee Roberta Reardon said. “In fact, hiring a disabled employee adds to both the talent and diversity of the workforce. I encourage all businesses in New York to seek out and hire people with disabilities whenever possible.”    

“We are grateful to the committed service providers, inspiring advocates, dedicated educators, and countless others whose friendship and support strengthen our system,” said Brian Daniels, Associate Commissioner for the New York Commission for the Blind. “Their combined efforts are punctuated by the forward-thinking employers who hire state residents with disabilities.  This month especially, we thank them for touching so many lives.”

ACCES-VR offers individuals with disabilities a wide range of supports—from counseling and guidance, assessment, job placement, and job coaching to tuition assistance and equipment and inventory for those who are self-employed—to help them make a career and earn a living. These individuals work with Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors who connect them with the right programs and people so they can reach their employment goal. In 2014, more than 26,000 individuals became eligible for ACCES-VR services and more than 12,000 secured employment. There are 15 ACCES-VR offices statewide.

ACCES-VR works closely with the DOL and the New York State Commission for the Blind in helping individuals with disabilities find jobs and identifying employers that hire these individuals. The Commission for the Blind provides vocational rehabilitation for people who are blind and nominates businesses to be recognized this month. Additionally, DOL vets all businesses nominated as part of NDEAM.

This month, events have been happening across the state. There are 19 events total. During these events, selected businesses are recognized for their work in giving individuals with disabilities employment opportunities. Last year, 38 employers statewide received this distinction. The full list of events is included at the end of the release and here: http://www.acces.nysed.gov/common/acces/files/vr/NDEAM%202015%20events%20listing%20-%20Statewide.pdf.

Businesses can learn more about ACCES-VR and providing employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities here: http://www.acces.nysed.gov/vr/acces-vr-your-no-cost-source-quality-staff