For the past 68 years, each October the nation comes together in a campaign to raise awareness about disability employment. In 1988, it was made official, and the month was proclaimed National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). October is a time to reflect and discuss the barriers and successful opportunities that people with disabilities encounter every day when trying to work or find work.
Well, here in Massachusetts the Patrick Administration has made a set a high goal of job creation. As a result, we have consistently offered innovative programs through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s (MRC) vocational rehabilitation division by providing people with disabilities assistance in finding jobs – and keeping them. By supplying MRC consumers with services like diagnostic evaluations, interests and aptitude tests, and job coaches, the MRC is preparing consumers to find competitive employment.
The Administration’s commitment to empowering self-sufficiency for all Commonwealth residents is actualized in the MRC’s mission of promoting equality, empowerment, and independence of individuals with disabilities. By having a more inclusive workforce we not only reflect the communities we serve and enrich those around them, but also ensure that all our residents have equal access to employment, and ultimately independence.
In FY2013, the MRC placed over 3,500 citizens with disabilities into competitive employment opportunities based on their choices, interests, needs and skills. MRC consumers make an average of $12.79 per hour and work an average of 26.4 hours a week.
Every day the MRC continues to bring awareness and create opportunities for independent living and work for consumers. In recognition of this year’s National Disability Awareness Month themed “Because we are EQUAL to the Task” the MRC is holding a series of events. They include:
- October 11, 2013 – Disability Awareness Day at CVS/Caremark Corporate Headquarters
- October 16, 2013 – Disability Awareness Day at Sam’s Club
- October 22, 2013 – Disability Mentoring Day at Boston City Hall
- October 23, 2013 – City of Cambridge Disability Mentoring Day
Also, in Massachusetts October is Disability History Month. Commissioner Charles Carr (MRC) and colleagues will highlight this local celebration with a screening of “The Great Fight for Disability Rights” documentary. This screening will occur October 16, 2013 at the State House.