BATON ROUGE -The Louisiana Workforce Commission is spearheading the statewide 2010 WORK PAY$ Job Fairs in October to connect job-ready citizens with disabilities and local companies looking to hire.
The job fairs are free to employers and job seekers. Businesses seeking to fill hourly, entry-level and management positions are encouraged to register for the job fair before Sept. 30.
The job fairs coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. They will take place in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans, Slidell and Shreveport.
“Louisiana companies see diversity around them through their vendors, partners and customers and find it increasingly important to have the makeup of their workforce reflect the makeup of their customer base,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. “Workforce diversity includes citizens with disabilities, and we recognize that job fairs are a key venue to provide employers with access to this talented population of job seekers.”
To bring more people with disabilities into the state’s workforce, LWC recently integrated Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS), the designated state agency that provides vocational rehabilitation and various independent living services, to assist individuals with disabilities gain employment. The Vocational Rehabilitation program within LRS offers individuals with disabilities services that provide them with the skills, training and resources needed to find employment and develop lifelong careers. Some of the LRS services include career counseling and vocational guidance, occupational training, assistive technology and devices, transition from school to work, job site accommodations and job placement assistance.
The American Community Survey shows that Louisiana is home to almost 400,000 working-age people with disabilities; 275,000 of these adults are underemployed but want to work. Since the job fair initiative began six years ago, roughly 8,900 job seekers have connected with more than 1,000 businesses across the state.
This year’s job fairs will also feature Mini Symposiums for participating employers. These events will offer an opportunity to network and valuable information on a multitude of workplace topics. Job seekers who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) will be offered Work Incentive Seminar Events (WISE) to learn how to stay in control of their benefits while enriching their lives through employment.
The job fairs are being led by LWC’s Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative and sponsored by the Department of Health and Hospital’s Medicaid Purchase Plan through its federal Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. The WORK PAY$ Coalition, a consortium of agencies working together to increase the employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in Louisiana, are responsible for coordinating the events.
For more detailed information on the job fairs including dates, locations, times or to register, visit www.work-pays.org or contact Kisha C. Thomas, LWC’s state lead/project coordinator for the DPN Initiative at 225-342-7651.
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