October Proclaimed National Disability Employment Awareness Month

County Commissioners Present Proclamation During Public Meeting

(l-r) Commissioners Shaw and Smith, Commissioner Director Krickus, WDB Executive Director Beth Rodgers, Commissioner Deputy Director Myers, Commissioners Selen, Cabana and Mastrangelo.

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed October 2023 “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” last night during a meeting in Morristown.

Commissioner Deputy Director Christine Myers spoke of the skills and talents disabled individuals offer in the job market as she presented a framed proclamation to Beth Rodgers, Executive Director of the Northwest New Jersey Workforce Development Board (WDB). She accepted the proclamation on behalf of the WDB’s Disability Employment Committee, which was recognized for the support they provide to individuals with disabilities in the workforce.

“We all have gifts. We’re designed to be productive because that brings value. Working gives us that evidence that we are productive. You can be productive doing so many things, in so many ways, that bring far broader benefits than if you were not disabled,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Myers.

This year marks the 78th Anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as well as the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in programs conducted and funded by the Federal government. The Act supplements the American with Disabilities Act that prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment.

“Even with these acts and a low unemployment rate in the United States, only about 20 percent of people with disabilities have a job. And some who do are paid less than the federal minimum wage. The Department of Labor recently announced it’s reviewing the policy in relation to this, which is a step in the right direction,” said Myers.

(l-r) Beth Rodgers, Executive Director of the Northwest NJ WDB and Commissioner Deputy Director Myers.

The Employment and Training Services (ETS) Division of Morris County’s Human Services Department works with other state and local agencies, as well as the education and business communities to promote and build a strong and competitive workforce. ETS is a partner within the N.J. Department of Labor One-Stop delivery system that helps all job seekers, including individuals with disabilities, compete in the labor market through career services offerings. The Northwest New Jersey WDB develops policy and planning that guides ETS, and their Disability Committee helps ensure those with disabilities are being represented and advocated for in the system.

“We’re really working to try to bring awareness to the opportunity to hire such amazing and talented individuals. If you meet these individuals, they have so many gifts and talents. Some of the businesses have shared that they are some of their most amazing workers,” said Rodgers.

Commissioner Deputy Director Myers will also be attending Employment Horizons’ Annual Recognition Dinner tonight, where she will present another proclamation to the organization on behalf of the County Commissioners. Rodgers noted that Employment Horizons is one of the largest employers of individuals with disabilities in Morris County, providing innovative programs and employment opportunities that have long been supported by the county.