October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Ohio is an Employment First state, which means we place a focus to ensure every individual of working age has an opportunity to seek employment.
Preparing for employment starts at an early age. That’s why the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD) provides programming, opportunities and camps to teens and young adults with disabilities. Through the county board efforts, they can experience what work is all about and where their vocational interests may be.
Currently, SCBDD is actively supporting 64 individuals who are competitively employed in our local community. SCBDD works with provider partners, as well as Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, to support people in employment. This support looks different for every person. It includes training and assistance during orientation, on-going job coaching, technical assistance, or support locating resources to maintain a job.
We are fortunate in Shelby County to have a variety of employers who understand that people of all abilities can have a positive impact in the workplace and provide valuable support, especially as we face a continued labor shortage.
If you are an employer interested in learning more, contact Jeff Coaty at 937-497-8155. If you are interested in learning more about services at SCBDD, check out our website at www.shelbydd.org and make sure to follow us on Facebook (@shelbydd.org).
The writer is the superintendent of the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities.