SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Grateful for the important role performed by workers with disabilities, Goodwill Manasota commemorates National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this month. This year’s theme for NDEAM, administered by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, is “#Inclusion Works,” which underscores the important role played by workers with disabilities in enhancing workplace diversity.
“By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, Jennifer Sheehy. “Our nation’s most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works.”
NDEAM’s origins date back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week of October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The name was changed in 1962 by omitting the word “physically” to acknowledge workers with all types of disabilities. The period of recognition was extended to a full month and the name changed to its current iteration in 1988.
For 114 years, Goodwill has worked to support job seekers with disabilities and specialized circumstances through training, job placement and internal employment efforts. Locally, Goodwill Manasota offers the Supported JobsPlus (SJP) program. Implemented in 2005, the SJP program targets sustainable employment for those with significant disabilities. Part of the process includes identifying specific jobs at each store to earmark for a person with a disability. Through partnerships with agencies throughout Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties, individuals who have been unsuccessful obtaining employment elsewhere and have a desire to work are referred to Goodwill. As positions at Goodwill become available, the agencies are notified and applicants are interviewed.
In July of 2016, The Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind and the Division of Blind Services recognized Goodwill Manasota with the “Appreciation Award” for its partnership with the Division of Blind Services. The honor highlighted Goodwill’s hiring practices and the tremendous support shown towards individuals who are blind or visually impaired by creating a barrier-free environment, enabling them to achieve independence.
"Goodwill believes that by assisting all workers achieve their full potential – through education, specialized skills training, and the power of work – we are able to build stronger communities," said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “We look forward to a day when all Americans with disabilities who have a desire to achieve self-sufficiency will be able to find jobs and make important contributions to the workplace and their communities.”
For more information about how your donations help Goodwill support employees with disabilities in obtaining meaningful employment, visit Goodwill Manasota’s website at experiencegoodwill.org.
PHOTO ID: Goodwill team member Michelle Miller, who has a visual impairment but is able to work part-time thanks to Goodwill Manasota’s Supported JobsPlus program
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.