Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Join us in celebrating
National Disability Employement Awareness Month
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.
NDEAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "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."
 The Arc of Orleans County's Supported Employment program assists individuals to help them successfully find and maintain employment. Short and long-term supports including evaluation, assessment, hands-on job coaching, and advocacy with employers are offered. Listed below are programs used by The Arc's Supported Employment program to assist individuals with placement.
Traditional Supported Employment
Individuals served in this program are referred by ACCES-VR (Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation), formerly known as, "VESID." ACCES-VR provides many different services for people with disabilities who want to work, receive career training, or who want to return to work after an injury or illness and cannot return to their former line of work. ACCES-VR refers these individuals to agencies like the Arc of Orleans County for Job Placement services and possibly Job Coaching services. Employment Specialists work with these individuals to assist and educate them in locating and maintaining appropriate employment in their communities. Once working, these people may or may not require additional support. If additional support is needed, often times a job coach will come on the job site to assist with their training needs. Job coaches will remain with this person until they are stable in their job. The job coach's assignment may or may not be long term.
Employment Training Program 
This is a fairly new and very successful program offered by NYS. The Employment Training Program (ETP), offers to pay the wages of employees with disabilities who are hired in the community. NYS will pay the wages for up to one year with the employer gradually assuming wage responsibility as the worker gains experience and knowledge of their job. Job seekers attend several trainings and a very detailed discovery stage before looking for employment in their communities. Again, an Employment Specialist works with this person until placed in a job. Then a job coach assists the employee with on the job training.
Direct Placement
This is also an ACCES-VR sponsored program. Once the participant has been approved for services by ACCES-VR they are referred to agencies like The Arc of Orleans for Job Placement services. An Employment Specialist will provide support and guidance to the person while they are looking for a job. Once placed, the Employment Specialist will provide three months of follow up services as needed.
All of these programs provide services such as resume writing, interview practice, job search activities, training in basic work skills and referral and linkage to other services that will assist a person in finding gainful, and meaningful employment of their choice. These programs all come with employer incentives.

Myths and Facts About Workers with Disabilities
Myth: Hiring employees with disabilities increases workers compensation insurance rates.
Fact: Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization's accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.
Myth: Employees with disabilites have a higher absentee rate than employees without disabilities.
Fact: Studies by firms such as DuPont show that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities.
Myth: Persons with disabilities are inspirational, courageous, and brave for being able to
overcome their disability.
Fact: Individuals with disabilities are simply carrying on normal activities of living when they drive to work, go grocery shopping, pay their bills, or compete in athletic events.
During the upcoming weeks, we will be sharing more information on the Supported Employment program, along with spotlights on area businesses (Albion Redemption and Della's Chocolates) that have partnered with The Arc of Orleans County by employing individuals through the SE program.
If you have a business and are interested in more information on partnering with The Arc of Orleans County, please contact Melissa Cotter, Supported Employment Manager, at 585-589-0305 ext. 4325.

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