October Named Disability Employment Awareness Month

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Governor Bill Haslam is designating October as Disability Employment Awareness Month to generate awareness about the talents and abilities of Tennessee citizens with disabilities.

“A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?” is the theme of the 2012 National Disability Employment Awareness Month," Governor Haslam said. "The theme calls attention to a potentially untapped personnel resource in Tennessee and across the country – persons with disabilities.

“Unemployment among persons with disabilities is a challenge that affects all of our citizens. By making a conscious effort, each of us can make a difference.”

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) within the Department of Human Services (DHS) provides rehabilitation services to Tennesseans with disabilities.  A number of individuals with the most significant disabilities, such as quadriplegia, blindness and traumatic brain injuries, have found employment after completing rehabilitation programs through DHS and community partners during the fiscal year 2011-12.

“Businesses that actively recruit qualified employees with disabilities often discover untapped skills and talents. As a group often overlooked, persons with disabilities are committed and motivated employees,” said DHS Commissioner Raquel Hatter. “They also contribute valuable consumer perspectives regarding what the disability market needs and desires.”

Vocational rehabilitation offices across the state as well as the 17 Tennessee Rehabilitation Centers located in rural communities and the residential comprehensive Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna provide numerous services to clients, including vocational training, physical or occupational therapy and transitional life skills. For more information on the TRCs across Tennessee, please, visit http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv/rehab/vrs.html .

DHS staff members are working with businesses and agencies across Tennessee on activities recognizing Disability Employment Awareness Month. Local activities include:

Oct. 6 - Go! Fest Sponsored by the City of Chattanooga area industry and agencies strives to eliminate barriers for persons with disabilities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact: Phillip Stevens 423 425-7800. Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park, 301 North Holtzclaw Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 

Oct. 17 - Disability Employment Awareness Month, Community Open House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact: Delwyn Smith 423 478-0332. TN Rehabilitation Center at Cleveland, 3069 Overlook Drive, 
Suite B, Cleveland, Tn.

Oct. 17 - Disability Mentoring Day. Contact: Trish Farmer, 615 313-4907. Statewide

Oct. 31 - Area Recognition Awards Luncheon by Southeast Placement Consortium, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Contact: Carol Martin at cmartin6@utk.edu. Chattanooga Convention & Trade Center, One Carter Plaza, Chattanooga.

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