Sen. Tom Harkin today delivered keynote remarks to open a two-hour virtual event for state employees and disability advocates to recognize Disability Employment Awareness Month and the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Presented live by the Office of State Human Resources from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., it may be viewed on demand via YouTube.
The retired Iowa legislator, who introduced and co-wrote the bill that became the ADA, now serves the disability community through his work with the Harkin Institute at Drake University. His keynote addressed disability employment and how the public sector may model North Carolina’s efforts to be more welcoming and inclusive of individuals with disabilities in the state government workplace.
The second hour of the event featured a panel of state employees with lived experiences who are succeeding in the state government workplace and are helping others do the same. Speakers participating from locations across North Carolina included Cathy Deal, Counselor in Charge with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (Morehead City); Mark Ezzell, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, N.C. Department of Transportation (Raleigh); Barbara Lucas, Case Worker with DHHS Vocational Rehabilitation (Concord); and Tim Moore, District Service Officer with the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (Morganton).
A media availability that Sen. Harkin conducted also may be viewed online at https://youtu.be/VIBa9qa9pMs.
Governor Roy Cooper, who issued Executive Order 92: Employment First for North Carolinians with Disabilities in March 2019, proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month, recognizing the value and talent that people with disabilities add to our workplaces and communities.
Visit the OSHR website for additional information about Employment First. More than 1.3 million North Carolinians have a disability, making up approximately 13 percent of the state’s population. Of those, more than 720,000 are of working age, but only 35 percent are employed, compared to 76 percent of North Carolinians without disabilities.
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