October Is Disability Employment Awareness Month In Colorado

The month will focus on showing employers how to tap into a valuable resource

(DENVER) – October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and today in a press conference at the Capitol, Gov. Hickenlooper officially kicked off the month with the issuance of a proclamation and an urging of employers to consider how much this workforce population can offer.

For employers with concerns about the cost of providing accommodations to workers with disabilities, a study by the Job Accommodation Network, a service of the U.S. Labor Department, has found that most employers have reported no cost or a very low cost in making accommodations to employees with disabilities. The return on their investment has been the retention of valued employees.

This year’s Disability Employment Awareness Month takes on added significance in Colorado.  In July, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation was transferred from the Department of Human Services into the Department of Labor and Employment.  As noted in Senate Bill 15-239 which authorized the move, the transfer will “provide a more comprehensive and integrated approach to getting unemployed individuals with disabilities trained in skills for today’s jobs and into the workforce.”

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Centers across the state can help businesses learn about this rewarding employment option.  Staff can answer questions and help employers learn more about the vast pool of qualified job seekers with disabilities.

“This is a valuable resource that is being regrettably underutilized,” says Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Ellen Golombek.  “In hiring workers with disabilities, you’re more likely to find dedicated employees who are willing to go the extra mile to be productive.  Individuals with disabilities exhibit higher retention rates, are extremely productive and are prone to be problem-solvers because they have had to solve serious problems all their lives.”

About National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In 1945 Congress designated a week in October to recognize the skills and contributions of people with disabilities to the workforce.  In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month.  National Disability Employment Awareness Month has become an important annual tradition.  Throughout the years, this observance has grown into a celebration of our continued efforts to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The official theme for this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month is “Inclusion Works.”  It reflects the fact that when employers create a culture of belonging, they gain competent, dependable employees and help workers with disabilities to stretch their limits.  The dividends that are paid back to the company -- and to Colorado -- are significant.

Governor's Proclamation: Disability Employment Awareness Month In Colorado

For immediate release

Date: September 30, 2016
Contact: Office of Government, Policy and Public Relations
Bill Thoennes at (303) 318-8004 or Cher Haavind at (303) 318-8003
Fax: (303) 318-8070
Web:  www.colorado.gov/cdle