Seattle Foundation Blog

Ensuring Equity and Opportunity for People with Disabilities in Today's Workforce

Today kicks off National Disability Employers Education Awareness Month and the continuing Disability Civil Rights Movement.


October 11, 2016

By Mary Grace Roske, Vice President, Marketing & Communications

At Seattle Foundation, our commitment to equity and opportunity includes people with disabilities. Today kicks off National Disability Employers Education Awareness Month and the continuing Disability Civil Rights Movement.  There are 15,000 disabled people in Washington who need support to gain employment. In King and Snohomish County alone, there are more than 3,500 people with disabilities who want to work, but there isn't public funding to provide support to them in finding and succeeding in a job.

It's important to understand that good jobs for people with disabilities are possible to find. More organizations are now actively creating jobs for disabled people within nearly every industry and becoming more welcoming to those who live with physical or mental challenges. It can be a complete win-win, with the employer gaining a team member custom-fit to the job requirements and the employee finding fulfillment and income through a rewarding job.  It's called supported employment.

Supported employment is based on the principle that individuals with disabilities have the right to be employed by community businesses where they can earn comparable wages, work side-by-side with co-workers with or without disabilities, and experience all of the same benefits as other employees of the company. Supported employment assists people with a range of disabilities by providing individualized supports that enable them to become successful members of the workforce.

I've seen the impact that successful employment for people with disabilities has -- on the individual, his or her family, the company, and the co-workers. Many local employers, large and small, are active participants in supported employment.  Visit here to see employers from all industries that work through Redmond-based AtWork! to meet their employment needs and support people with disabilities.

Ensuring equity and opportunity means inclusion for people with disabilities in today's workforce.  Learn more about supported employment during National Disability Employers Education Awareness Month by visiting www.atworkwa.org.

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