This month may be best known for pink ribbons and breast cancer awareness, but a lesser-known awareness campaign is helping millions of adults with disabilities find meaning and independence through gainful work
One local vocational services expert shares her insight on the month.
Contributor: Lois Forman, MS, Director of Outpatient Vocational Services at Bancroft NeuroRehab
Monday, October 24, 2016
If you’ve never heard of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, you’re not alone. Despite the fact that Congress first established the awareness campaign back in 1945, it remains relatively under the radar. But that doesn’t make it any less important than those well-known observances this month. And this year, the Department of Labor is promoting the hashtag #InclusionWorks to advance this important message.
In fact, there are more than five million adults with disabilities throughout the U.S. currently seeking opportunities, but unable to access services that could enrich their lives with meaningful employment.
That’s where my work comes in. As the Director of Outpatient Vocational Services at Bancroft NeuroRehab in Cherry Hill, I’m accustomed to meeting individuals at various stages of recovery from brain injuries and neurological impairments, and my work given me a 360 degree view of the immense skills, talents and interests of the population we serve.
In fact, the right job can make a world of difference for these adults, but unfortunately, this group is often overlooked for employment.
Take, for example, the success story of Walter Crary, 58, of Williamstown. Walt sustained brain and spinal cord injuries in a motorcycle accident in 2005. After years of physical and cognitive rehabilitation, and work with us at Bancroft NeuroRehab, he’s now a star employee at Home Depot in West Berlin, where he consistently wins accolades from customers and supervisors. What’s more, Walt has the renewed confidence and independence that can only come from gainful work.
But business owners and those with the ability to employ this population may not realize the terrific benefits to their companies’ bottom lines, too. We work hand-in-hand with a few amazing local enterprises to place employees in the right jobs that are mutually beneficial, and besides retaining a terrific, loyal employee, these companies also enjoy:
- Various tax incentives, where applicable, for providing employment for these individuals.
- An untapped employee pool. More than five million adults in the U.S. have an intellectual or developmental disability.
- A workforce that’s capable, hardworking and reliable. Employers and community partners describe Bancroft staff as punctual, dedicated, productive and loyal – all terrific qualities of any employee!
If you are in a position to hire or offer opportunities for individuals with disabilities, remember #InclusionWorks! It works for the employer and employee, for the remainder of October, and throughout the year.
At Bancroft NeuroRehab, an interdisciplinary team of experts assesses and treats each patient’s unique needs. From mild concussions and memory impairments to traumatic brain injuries, dedicated, compassionate clinicians help individuals rebound, recover, reconnect and reenter the workforce after illness or injury.
If you or someone you know has questions about neurological health or is struggling to find meaningful employment after a brain injury, Bancroft NeuroRehab can help.