New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

10/03/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2023 15:38

OPWDD Kicks Off National Disability Employment Awareness Month (N...

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities is excited to kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by sponsoring and participating in New York State's Disability Rights and Employment Awareness Month (DREAM) Symposium. For the second year in a row, this first-of-its-kind day-long symposium, created by Governor Kathy Hochul and Chief Disability Officer Kim Hill Ridley, celebrates the value that New Yorkers with disabilities bring to the workforce and assists in matching prospective qualified candidates with employers.

As the state agency whose mission is to help people with developmental disabilities live richer lives, OPWDD is committed to helping people who are able to work prepare for and find employment. That's why I am so pleased that we are also announcing the launch of our new virtual training for New York employers called "EmployAbility: Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities." We are hosting this training in partnership with Adult Career & Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR), New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID) and Eleversity. You can learn more about this training here: EmployAbility: Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities registration - Webex.

This new EmployAbility training, the creation of which was first introduced in legislation by Assemblyman Chris Burdick and Senator John Mannion, and signed into law by Governor Hochul last year, will help educate employers about the benefits of diversifying their workforce by hiring people with disabilities. Our first training, which will be free and available to any New York employer, will be held on October 24, with more offerings planned in the future!

In addition to the launch of this new training, throughout this month we will be visiting New York employers and highlighting stories of others that exemplify best practices in hiring people with developmental disabilities on our social media channels. We will echo this year's National theme for NDEAM, which is "Advancing Access and Equity," as we also honor the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a precursor to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

We hope you will join us as we recognize the unique talents, creativity and skills that people with disabilities bring to the workforce by following our social media channels and resharing our employment success stories. If you are an employer or know an employer who would like to learn more about hiring people with disabilities, contact us at [email protected]so we can connect you with tools that will help you to add diversity to your workforce.

Lastly, please support inclusivity by patronizing the employers on our EmployAbility Honor Roll who have already joined our mission to help more people with disabilities pursue their employment goals by signing our EmployAbility Pledge. Working together, we can and will create thriving communities across the state that are inclusive of people of all abilities and stronger because of it.


Kerri E. Neifeld,