For Immediate Release | October 22, 2021
In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has chosen the week of October 25th to highlight careers and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities experience much higher rates of unemployment than those without disabilities for a variety of reasons: lack of transportation, affordable housing, and access to healthcare, as well as widespread misconceptions among employers and the general public about the many skills people with disabilities bring to the workplace. People with disabilities may also worry that if they get a job or start a business, they’ll lose essential government benefits critical to their wellbeing. Fortunately, it’s possible to retain these benefits while pursuing employment or self-employment.
“Many people with disabilities may be unaware of all of the resources and no-cost support available to support them as they look to advance their careers,” said Kristin Corash, Director of CDLE’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. “I encourage workers with disabilities interested in advancing their careers to contact our offices; our expert staff provides a wide range of individualized employment services based on our clients’ strengths, priorities, and interests. This tailored approach helps us connect them to employment and educational opportunities, on-the-job training, on-the-job support, and more.”
Yolanda, a business owner and chef, is just one of the many people DVR has supported. “With intense counseling and guidance, I was able to move forward with my dream,” she said. “I worked with a [DVR] business consultant... I would not have been able to do this without DVR.”
National Disability Employment Awareness Month comes at a time when people with disabilities are experiencing especially high rates of unemployment in the wake of the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 people with disabilities had an unemployment rate of 17.9 percent, the highest rate in seven years. To put that number into perspective, it’s useful to compare it to the Great Depression, when the unemployment rate reached 25 percent. In comparison, people without disabilities experienced an unemployment rate of 8.31 percent in 2020.
During “Careers and Employment Opportunities” week, CDLE will be highlighting upcoming trainings, events, and resources to support people with disabilities as they advance their careers. To keep up with CDLE, workers, employers, and others can follow the agency on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. To find your local Workforce Center, visit CDLE’s website and to find your local Vocational Rehabilitation office visit DVR’s website.
October 25-28 is DVR Employer Week. One of the most effective tools to learn about a business - who they are, what they do, and what career opportunities they can offer - is to hear directly from the professionals who work for that business. Employer Week is intended to do just that. Join nine different employers throughout the week, learn more here.
October 26th from 12:00 - 1:00 is our final lunch and learn: Title I Best Practices: How to have an accessible, inclusive and successful interview process. Register here.
October 27th from 12:00 - 1:00 we are honoring a small and large employer, individual and rural champion who have made exemplary efforts in hiring people with disabilities during our Shining Stars of Disability Employment Award Ceremony. Register here.
You can find more CDLE and partner events here on our website.