MOUNT VERNON — October 2020 is the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness month. This year's theme is “Increasing access and opportunity.”
Locally, around 50 employers and six industrial partners provide community employment in Knox and surrounding counties in partnership with New Hope Industries. Seventy individuals participate in a variety of occupations, including retail, stocking, dish washing, customer service, fast food, maintenance, bank teller, janitorial, dining room attendants, manufacturing, and construction.
“New Hope Industries would like to thank our community employers and local industries for their continued partnership in employing persons with disabilities. As a result of these partnerships, individuals are able to gain and maintain meaningful work through vocational habilitation and community employment,” said Angie Wise, CEO of New Hope Industries. “Many thanks for your commitment to disability inclusion where everyone is recognized for their abilities.”
As a way of thanking employers, the Rastin Observation Tower and the footbridge will be lighted in green on Oct. 20.
The partnership between New Hope Industries and local employers dates back to the late '80s or early '90s when New Hope was under the umbrella of the county board of developmental disabilities. New Hope has continued to provide the service since it became a fully certified agency provider in 2007.
In announcing the national observance, U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said, “Ensuring that America’s workplaces continue to include and accommodate people with disabilities will be an important part of our economic rebound. Looking ahead, the Department will remain focused on the policies that led to a strong economy and record-low unemployment rates for persons with disabilities prior to the pandemic. A vigorous economic rebound and job growth will, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase access and opportunity for Americans with disabilities.”