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National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2016 - #InclusionWorks

December 21, 2016

To celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October, the LEAD Center invited guest bloggers to reflect upon the issue of disability employment and this year's theme of “Inclusion Works.” The five guest bloggers focused on two main themes. One theme was the important role parents of individuals with disabilities can play in helping make workplaces inclusive; the other theme centered on different methods and resources people with disabilities can use to succeed at work.

Two of the guest bloggers, Gail Williamson, a talent agent for Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin & Associates, and Scott Monette, founder of 100 Percent Wine, are both parents of people with disabilities. Williamson's interview with LEAD staff was turned into a blog article about her work as a talent agent for actors with disabilities. Williamson said that, through her work, she hopes to reduce the stigma around disability and help employers in and outside Hollywood view people with disabilities as talented potential employees. Monette wrote about how he and other entrepreneurial dads understand that the talents of people with disabilities can be beneficial to businesses in many industries. The blog by Rose Sloan partnered well with both Williamson's and Monette's reflections. Sloan is a Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, and a person with a disability who believes her success can be attributed to the high expectations of her family, teachers, and employers regarding her abilities.

Blogs from Larry Russock and Anne E. Hirsh focused on how service providers and employers can help people with a variety of disabilities succeed at work. In his blog, Russock, who is the Program Director of Employment and Day Services at St. John’s Community Services in Pennsylvania, points out that practices like Customized Employment and Guided Group Discovery have been used to help people with intellectual disabilities achieve employment. These same practices can also help others with different disabilities and barriers to work. Hirsh, who is the Co-Director of Job Accommodation Network (JAN), wrote that most employers find that providing a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities is both inexpensive and easy. Employers also report that providing reasonable accommodations to these employees results in benefits for their organizations.

To read these and other blogs, visit the LEAD Center blog.