As we all realize October is the National Disability Employment Awareness Month, but it is much more than that. It is a time in which we must celebrate our diversity as we prepare a qualified workforce for the global community. No other organization in the world has been charged with a greater mission or a greater need than the Public Vocational Rehabilitation system. It is through this organization that we impact the lives of all members of our communities.
Individuals with disabilities remain the largest untapped resource of talent for the workforce. Failing to recognize their talents and contributions fails our communities as they become narrow in focus and stagnant in development. However when individuals with disabilities are not only given the opportunities to compete in the global workforce our communities are enlightened, our businesses are more vital and our economies are more robust.
Think for a minute about that person with a disability who recently was placed
on a job and the impact that one opportunity created:
1. Co-workers found new ways to do things in a more efficient manner
2. Businesses found additional customers frequenting their establishments
3. Supervisors learned better ways to train new employees
4. Individual workers realized more confidence and self-esteem
Today more than ever before there are opportunities awaiting individuals with disabilities if we do our jobs well. We must learn more about the changing workforce, the new demands placed on business, the new competition for jobs, and the new processes and ways to perform the work in a highly efficient work structure. As we learn these things we will advise our clients to make better informed decisions regarding training, treatments, and placement services.
To do our jobs effectively we must do it together. We no longer have the luxury of doing everything in isolation. We have almost 5,500 clients on the waiting list hoping we find a way to do our jobs efficiently so they can be served. We must work together, sharing information, researching information, marketing our agency and our clients, so that we are efficient and effective with our economies of scale. None of us know it all, but together we are a powerful force of information and networking that will realize great things for those individuals with disabilities that WE SERVE!
Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month by placing a client on the job of their choice!
A great debt of gratitude and appreciation is owed to Jan Davis, Ruth Allison, Sally Prange, Renee Sprock, Michelle Krefft, Barb McClannahan and Mike Maher for their work on the development and training for the Marketing Toolkit. One of the hardest things to do is to stand before our peers and train them on things that are critical to the advancement of our mission. The months of preparation and development of tools was a huge success as these ladies did an amazing job in making all of us feel comfortable with the information and how to use it.
Indeed the tools that have been offered to staff, enhances our professionalism and creates a confidence in us to be able to do our jobs more effectively. This toolkit presents a system by which staff can develop the relationships with employers that is necessary to develop opportunities for qualified candidates. This team’s tireless drive to produce a marketing design that is easy to use, simple in application, and effective in presentation will no doubt improve our outcomes.
Sharaine Rawlinson Roberts, MSW gave a presentation, “Transition Help at Your Fingertips: PEPNet Products and Resources.” There are more than 3,000 products on www.pepnet.org that are available at no charge. Most of the products are appropriate for disabled, deaf/hard of hearing or hearing children. Ms. Rawlinson Roberts provided a handout with Web sites to access multiple resources. She briefly described some of the items which covered multiple issues related to transition. The Web sites will link you to information on everything from choosing a college, learning about assistive listening devices, legal issues…everything you need to know about transition and more!!!
I will send this information in the mail so I can enclose a copy of the handout she shared. All of the materials from these Web sites are available to use but they would like to be cited as the source of the materials.
Let me know if you want more information on the conference. Since I know there were others attending, I just wrote about the session that seemed most useful to me. It was an interesting conference.