October is Disability Employment Awareness Month

national disability employment awareness month

JFCS’ Vocational Rehabilitation program goes back to 1958

By Sheilah Howard • JFCS Career Services Director

More than half a million Minnesotans report having one or more disabilities and the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is double that of people without disabilities. During our current historically tight labor market, it’s more important than ever to reach out to often-overlooked talent pools, including those with disabilities, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The work of Vocational Rehabilitation programs across the state, including at JFCS, remains critical.

JFCS’ Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Extended Employment program provides services to individuals with disabilities who are seeking to improve their work lives or find employment. Our VR program goes back to 1958 when the Jewish Vocational Workshop was organized as a joint project of the vocational department of the agency, the Minneapolis section of the Council of Jewish Women, and the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. Today, we serve 80-100 participants each year, with a wide range of disabilities and support needs. We work with each participant in the way that best supports them, whether that is in person at a community location, their workplace, JFCS’ office, or virtually.

Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Minnesota, recognizing that individuals with disabilities bring skills, experience and talent to the workforce and are a critical part of our economic success. October marks the 77th annual observation of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and this year’s theme is Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.

“Employees with disabilities broaden business perspectives, create more inclusive workplaces where everyone feels more welcome, and increase the problem-solving capabilities of the organizations where they work – among many other strengths,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said. “Minnesota’s economy and its competitiveness require the contributions of all people, including those with disabilities.”

Click here for more information on Disability Employment Awareness Month.

For more information on JFCS’ Vocational Rehabilitation program, call 952-546-0616 or click here.