October is Disability Employment Awareness Month

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 7, 2013

LANSING – Statewide, approximately 19 percent of people with a disability in Michigan are employed. To recognize Michigan’s employment accomplishments and to identify the improvements that are needed to obtain a competitive wage in an integrated environment, Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Michigan.

Disability Employment Awareness Month is spearheaded nationally by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), with this year’s theme being “Because we are equal to the task.” This is an opportunity for Michigan residents to be educated about disability employment issues and to celebrate the contributions of its citizens with disabilities.

“Michigan is making great strides in assisting those with developmental disabilities find integrated employment, but there is still work to be done,” said Vendella M. Collins, Director of the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC). “We encourage businesses to explore and recognize the contributions that employees with disabilities bring. These workers are loyal, dependable and bring unique contributions to the workforce.”

During October, the MDDC is celebrating the achievements of people with disabilities in employment and also encouraging businesses to adopt Employment First policy. In August, the Council adopted an Employment First mission and principles, which outlines the expectation of employment for all working age citizens with disabilities.

An Employment First Policy outlines that people with disabilities are employable and can work in integrated work environments alongside the general workforce and be compensated at or above the minimum wage.

For more information about Employment First and to see the proclamation please visit www.michigan.gov/ddcouncil.

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The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council works to support people with developmental disabilities to achieve life dreams. The Governor appoints the 21-member Council. The Council works to ensure that people with developmental disabilities are supported across their lifespan to live self-determined lives in a diverse and inclusive community.