October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Advancing Access and Equity.” This year, the “Barber National Institute joins the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”
“Since the program began in 1986, more than 600 adults have been placed in jobs at approximately 400 businesses in Erie County. Once hired, many employees remain on the job for three years or more.”
Read the full press release below.
“(Erie, PA) — October 11, 2023 — Barber National Institute joins the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), 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 “Advancing Access and Equity.”
The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when it started as a week and focused only on people with physical disabilities. Later, it expanded to a full month, and its name and scope evolved to acknowledge the importance of increasing the workforce inclusion of people with all natures of disabilities.
“Our communities and economy are strengthened by the inclusion of all people, including people with disabilities,” said Barber National Institute Senior Vice President Robert Barber. “Their contributions have historically been vital to our nation’s success and are more important today than ever. We must build an accessible, equitable economy that fully includes the talent and drive of those with disabilities.”
Through the Barber National Institute, adults with intellectual disabilities and autism develop skills needed for employment through programs such as Small Group Employment and can be matched with Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) and businesses throughout Pennsylvania through Supported Employment.
Small Group Employment offers a variety of work experiences and specialized training in landscaping, food service, janitorial work, and machine operation. These and other opportunities give participants the experience needed to gain employment. The goal of the program is to prepare individuals for future employment success.
Supported Employment matches individuals with highly trained and professional employment specialists or “job coaches.” These highly trained professionals work side-by-side with the adult, remaining at the worksite until the new employee performs all job duties to the employer’s satisfaction. They will return to the site whenever needed to assist the adult in learning new responsibilities. The goal for each supported employee is that he or she will successfully and independently maintain employment in the community.”