Strengthening workforce opportunities for people with disabilities

According to data from the Institute on Disability at The University of New Hampshire, more than 340,000 people with disabilities got new jobs last year, which is almost four times the amount of the previous year.

Governor Doug Ducey expressed his support for strengthening workforce opportunities for individuals with disabilities by declaring October 2018 as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Arizona.

The increase in hiring Americans with disabilities is due to a variety of factors.

“You have a job market that needs workers, you have a recognition from businesses that people with disabilities have talents and you have a culture that is increasingly embracing diversity and all of its aspects and lastly, I think we can’t underscore technology,” Philip Kahn-Pauli, RespectAbility policy and practices director, explained.

RespectAbility is a national, non-partisan and nonprofit organization that works to advance opportunities for Americans with disabilities.

Kahn-Pauli explained that businesses and other organizations can become more exclusive and benefit from hiring employees with disabilities.

“You need the leadership who has the vision, you need [HR] managers who are trained in what does it mean to hire people with disabilities and then you need to go out and find the workers,” he said.

New initiatives in Arizona are attempting to provide job opportunities to people with disabilities, and to shed a light on the benefits of doing so.

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJFF), the nation’s first not-for-profit organization to focus exclusively on adult Autism, established an endowment fund at The Watts College of Public Services and Community Solutions at Arizona State University.

The DJFF is working with First Place Global Leadership Institute to address the needs of adults with Autism and their families.

First Place Global Leadership Institute also works to improve the lives of those diagnosed with Autism, with a special focus on increasing the number of housing options available to Autistic adults.

“It’ll be a great collaborative effort between this newly named center at the Global Leadership Institute, Arizona State University and Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and, of course, our organization and all of our endowed funds,” DJFF founder and Executive Director Linda Walder said.

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Adult Autism Public Policy Fellowship Endowed Fund will support a fellow who will develop a national public policy agenda and white paper addressing issues that impact adults diagnosed with Autism.

Walder said people have various strengths and talents to offer and “adults who are diagnosed with Autism can be amazing employees, can truly contribute and enhance the business where they work.”

Sierra Ciaramella

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