It's easy to forget other things the month of October represents with a commercially successful holiday like Halloween overshadowing everything else. But aside from October being the month to celebrate the gifting of candy, it is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)
According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy website, www.dol.gov, NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for the 2013 campaign is "Because We are Equal to the Task."
The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) are especially fond of the campaign's purpose and its statewide program, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) helps support the campaigns message.
A press release issued by DCF states that during the fiscal year 2013, 1,707 Kansans with disabilities were employed throughout the state as a result of the VR program.
"When Kansans with disabilities are employed, everyone wins," DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. "Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to fully participate in the communities; businesses have access to qualified employees to meet their workforce needs in a competitive marketplace; and the Kansas economy benefits through increased employment and reduced reliance on benefits."
Having accessible jobs for individuals with disabilities not only benefits the individual but has a positive impact as well.
A study conducted by Wichita State University's Center for Economic Development and Business Research found that the employment of VR positively impacts the economy when people employed as a result of VR services spend their income in local communities on housing, groceries, gasoline, services and taxes, etc.
Each dollar earned as a result of VR placement translates into $1.66 in total earnings through the economy. For each VR client employed, approximately 1.85 jobs are created in the overall economy.
Vocational Rehabilitation in Dodge City
The Kansas Department for Children and Families website, www.dcf.ks.gov, describes the VR program as an effort to empower Kansans with disabilities to become employed and self-sufficient.
DCF Director of Communications Theresa Freed said the program helps individuals from start to finish in everything to do with obtaining and retaining a job — from helping with the application process, job placement, to offering counseling and guidance — free of charge.
"Our staff is happy to help someone get started with the employment process," Freed said. "They will walk them through the entire way."
Individuals interested in applying for the program can visit the Dodge City DCF office located at 1509 Ave P or visit the website: www.dcf.ks.gov to apply.
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