October is Disability Employment Awareness Month in
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[October 03, 2008]
CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich proclaimed October 2008 as Disability Employment
Awareness Month and announced Thursday that his administration will
recognize numerous companies this month for their commitment to
hiring people with disabilities.
In the last three years,
the Illinois Department of Human Services vocational rehabilitation
program helped 15,165 people with disabilities become employed, an
average of 5,055 people employed each year.
employers, both large and small, are finding that people with
disabilities represent a proven work force of dedicated, qualified
and valuable employees," Blagojevich said. "We will continue to work
hard to help people with disabilities find and retain good jobs in
Illinois. Everyone has a right to go to work and support themselves
and their families."
As Illinoisí lead agency serving individuals with disabilities,
the Department of Human Services helps people with disabilities
prepare for and find quality employment that pays a living wage and
offers opportunities for advancement. The department works closely
with employers through its corporate business partner initiative to
match them with qualified individuals with the skills and qualities
they need. The agency also offers a wide range of support services
to assist eligible individuals with disabilities in obtaining and
The percentage of people with disabilities who received job
placement services from the Department of Human Services rather than
through a contract agency rose from 32 percent in fiscal to 39
percent in fiscal 2008.
The 15,165 individuals who became employed through the
departmentís vocational rehabilitation program work an average of
29.5 hours per week, and 30.1 percent receive medical insurance
benefits through their employer. The average hourly wage earned by
individuals employed after participating in the departmentís
vocational rehabilitation services rose from $9.41 in fiscal 2006 to
$9.79 in fiscal 2008.
Blagojevichís administration actively encourages businesses to
participate in Disability Mentoring Day on Oct. 15. This day is
recognized across the nation and allows employers to see firsthand
the value and diversity that workers with disabilities bring to the
workplace. Job seekers with disabilities have the opportunity to
learn about a variety of employment settings, which can assist them
in career exploration and job search.
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"The most important part of a job search is the ability to network
with people in the work force," said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams,
Ph.D. "Helping job seekers with disabilities develop employment
networks can help level the playing field during their job search.
This year the administration is working to increase the number of
job seekers with disabilities who are involved in mentoring
Recognition events are being organized by many of the
department's field offices, including those listed below:
Oct. 9 -- Employer
panel at Workforce Network in Peoria, 10-11:30 a.m.
Oct. 14 --
Passavant Hospital tour, Jacksonville, 9-10:30 a.m.
Oct. 15 -- Downers
Grove DRS office will host an employer panel at the Glenside
Public Library, Glendale Heights
Oct. 15 --
Springfield DRS office event at the state fairgrounds
9 a.m.-noon -- Independent showcase. 52 community agencies will
distribute information to general public.
1-4 p.m. -- Employer fair. 75 area employers will distribute
information and applications on current and future job openings
for potential candidates. Open to general public.
Oct. 17 -- Nancy
Turini, transition specialist, Grand Chain Learning Center,
Oct. 30 -- Chicago Region 1 employer
recognition event at South Shore Cultural Center, Solarium Room,
7059 S. South Shore Drive, Chicago
For more information about hiring people with disabilities and
other services provided by the Department of Human Services,
Department of Rehabilitation Services, call 1-800-843-6154 or
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]