The Employment First Advisory Partnership, which I have been fortunate to be CO-Chair since its legislative inception continues to make progress in raising awareness regarding the employment of people with disabilities in Colorado through our efforts with our agency and local partnerships, which include Colorado APSE, the Division for Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Education, Department of Higher Education, Department of Labor, the Office of Employment First and Healthcare and Public Financing.
Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) holds significant importance in Colorado, as it does across the United States. NDEAM is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of individuals with disabilities to the workforce. For Colorado, and indeed for every state, this observance carries several key meanings:
- Promoting Inclusivity: NDEAM promotes inclusivity in the workplace. Colorado businesses and organizations use this month to showcase their commitment to creating diverse and inclusive work environments where individuals with disabilities are valued for their skills and talents.
- Educating Employers: In Colorado, as in other states, NDEAM is a chance to educate employers about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities. It provides an opportunity to dispel myths and misconceptions about disabilities and employment, encouraging businesses to explore the talents of every potential employee.
- Empowering Individuals: For individuals with disabilities in Colorado, NDEAM serves as a source of empowerment. It highlights their capabilities and talents, encouraging them to pursue employment opportunities and contribute meaningfully to the workforce.
- Advocacy and Policy: NDEAM also serves as a platform for disability advocacy in Colorado. It can be a time when policymakers, advocates, and citizens come together to discuss and promote policies that support the employment rights of individuals with disabilities.
- Community Engagement: Community events and activities organized during NDEAM in Colorado foster a sense of community among individuals with disabilities. These events often include job fairs, workshops, and seminars that provide resources and support for job seekers with disabilities.
In essence, National Disability Employment Awareness Month along with our many partners, agencies, job coaches, and families serves as a catalyst for positive change in Colorado by fostering understanding, encouraging inclusivity, and promoting equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the workforce.