October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Erie County
How does it feel to get your dream job? Several adults with disabilities shared how they felt about getting a job during a presentation at the Barber National Institute to mark Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about opportunities for Americans with disabilities. Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper presented a resolution commemorating the October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Erie County.
Over the past year, the Barber National Institute Supported Employment Program has helped 28 adults secure jobs with employers in the community. In addition, over the past year three adults received raises, two adults received promotions and four adults were given addition hours or responsibilities.
“We will welcome back these adults who all have worked very hard to achieve their dream of employment,” said Maggie Dimitriadis,Director of Intellectual Disability Services for Adults. “It is a great opportunity to share their experiences in the community with all of us, and share any advice to their peers who still seek and wait for the day when they can announce ‘I got a job!’”
The Supported Employment Program assists adults with physical and intellectual disabilities with everything from assessing their skills and interests to developing resumes and preparing for job interviews. Once they are hired, job coaches assist with training and remain at the worksite until all duties are completed to the satisfaction of the employer.
This year, individuals found employment in the fields of housekeeping, food service, manufacturing, child care, horticulture, retail and janitorial.
“The success that we are celebrating would not be possible without the commitment from our employers in the community and the hard work from our dedicated job coaches,” said Dimitriadis. “But most of all, it is because of the work that our individuals put in to learning the tasks, submitting applications, and proving to all that they can achieve any dream that they set their minds to.”
The presentation is the first since Gov. Tom Wolf officially designated Pennsylvania an Employment First state in March, joining a national movement that establishes employment as the goal for all persons with disabilities.