Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Making Employment First a Reality

Today I’d like to focus people’s attention on employment.  For the sake of my own son and others who can benefit from a determined and creative approach to job development and support, I’m increasingly pivoting toward this essential advocacy focus.  We’re told that conditions are good for people seeking work now – so we need to seize on this opportunity for people with disabilities who are looking for jobs.  Now’s the time, and I hope you’ll join me in making this a reality here in our community.

As I noted in my first blog post of the year (https://www.ddinwdc.com/2022/01/a-new-year-for-people-with-disabilities.html), 2022 is the tenth anniversary of DC’s designation as an “Employment First” state (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/employment-first). TOMORROW, March 9 at 3:00, as part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Kevin Wright, currently on the staff of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council (https://ddc.dc.gov/), will talk about his own experience as a young person with a learning disability pursuing employment, and will then lead a panel discussion on ways to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities in the DC community:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89262103167?pwd=cDNOL2VQa2tDdmVoVG12Yyt4UXZ3UT09.

This event will be doubly informative because Kevin (kevin.wright@dc.gov) is himself leading the charge on behalf of the DD council toward an Employment Summit that is scheduled to take place in OctoberEmployment has been identified as one of the key goals of the DC DD council’s 2022-2026 state plan, which can be found here:  https://ddc.dc.gov/page/ddc-five-year-state-plan-2022-2026.  The focus of Employment First is competitive, integrated, and customized employment for people with disabilities, and this summit is intended to gather all essential stakeholders to assess where we’ve seen progress over the past ten years, while also identifying the challenges ahead and developing strategies to bring more people with disabilities into the DC workforce, both public and private.

If you’re reading this, then I know you have a viewpoint on how the DC community is doing in terms of integrating people with developmental and other disabilities into the workforce.  There’s a working group that’s already beginning to put together the building blocks to make sure the October summit has maximum impact, and if you’d like to be a part of the planning please reach out to Kevin: kevin.wright@dc.gov.  But first, tune in Wednesday at 3:00 - https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89262103167?pwd=cDNOL2VQa2tDdmVoVG12Yyt4UXZ3UT09.

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