Advocates for people with disabilities worked hard this winter. In addition to helping rescue families stranded by the cold, ice and snow, there was much work done at the Georgia State Capitol.
Advocacy organizations did convince the General Assembly to approve $390,000 for a supportive employment program for graduating high school seniors. This part of the state budget is sitting on the Governor’s desk, waiting for his signature. This important jobs program is just a drop in the bucket, but is a start. Workers with developmental disabilities are the last to group to find a job, and have the greatest chance of living in poverty.
This boost in Georgia to fund an innovative jobs program will be good for the state and the country. The labor pool is shrinking in the U.S., with employers facing a shortage of 20 million workers by 2020 as baby boomers retire. Top Corporations are taking extra efforts, because building a disability candidate can be difficult.
Corporations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., KPMG, Liz Claiborne and Procter and Gamble have placed 75 students with disabilities in internships. KPMG, Eastman Kodak, IBM and Pepsi all landed on DiversityInc’s Top 10 Companies for People with Disabilities list.
Booz Allen’s efforts to do something different began at the top. CEO Chairman Dr. Ralph Shrader has a son with a disability.
“Finding a job—and gaining the significant benefits that come with employment is difficult, but when the right opportunity comes together, the rewards for the employee and the company are extraordinary,” Dr. Shrader says.
Now Governor Deal, please make sure this $390,000 stays in the budget.