The Louisiana Workforce Commission announced today the kick-off of the 2012 Work Pays Job Fairs in recognition of the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The ADA legislation that was signed by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990, has helped to advance the civil rights of people with disabilities by dispelling myths, breaking down barriers and removing prejudices within the work place to have equal employment opportunities.
“The law has helped jobseekers with disabilities who want to be included in the workforce,” Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said. “The annual Work Pays Job Fairs are a great venue to connect these jobs seekers with employers that are looking to hire, grow their business and invest in Louisiana.”
The Work Pays Job Fairs will take place in October, which is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Since the job fair initiative began in Louisiana nine years ago, it has connected roughly 13,000 job seekers with more than 1,300 businesses and that number is expected to increase this year.
The statewide events are led by LWC’s Office of Workforce Development and sponsored by the Department of Health and Hospital’s 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, is responsible for coordinating the events.
More than 54 million people in the United States live with a disability of some kind, be it sensory, physical, cognitive, developmental or psychological.
Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, which is part of the LWC’s Office of Workforce Development, works to serve individuals with disabilities through its Vocational Rehabilitation program. The flagship program offers services that lead to employment such as career counseling and vocational guidance, occupational training, assistive devices, transition from school to work, job site accommodations and job placement. Last year, LRS served 29,277 of that 2,146 gained employment.
The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. The law has created an environment where individuals with disabilities are better able to develop meaningful skills, engage in productive work, live with dignity and participate fully in the life and economy of our country. The ADA is only one of many laws that ensure equal access for everyone. Others include the Assistive Technology Act, Fair Housing Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The law's employment section, for example, provides protections for those with disabilities in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay and social activities, while restricting questions that can be asked about an applicant's disability before making a job offer. During the Work Pays Job Fairs many of these topics are discussed at complimentary mini symposiums that are provided to employers to keep them abreast of disability-related issues and workforce practices.
The LWC helped 239,310 people get jobs in the past year. For more information about LWC’s no-cost services and resources, visit www.laworks.net.
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