Message from the Superintendent
Expect. Employ. Empower.
Starlight Programs is happy to be observing National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM); an annual campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of NDEAM is to educate the community about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of workers with disabilities. The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week of October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week".
In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with ALL types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to what is now National Disability Employment Awareness Month. We all have a role to play in-and benefit to gain from-increasing opportunities for meaningful employment for people with disabilities. This year's theme encapsulates this in three powerful words. It conveys that advancing disability employment is about much more than just hiring. "It's about creating a continuum of inclusion. And the first step on this continuum is expectation," said Kathy Martinex, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy when announcing this year's theme, which is "Expect. Employ. Empower."
Starlight Programs, through the Adult Services Program and Muskingum Starlight Industries (MSI) celebrates disability employment awareness on a daily basis. Some 175 adults with disabilities are employed in the workshop, enclaves and in the community. These workers are engaged in a variety of jobs including light assembly, lawn care, recycling, janitorial, food service and retail. Most recently, the Adult Program and MSI have been partnering with Opportunity for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) to assist individuals to explore and find jobs of their choice in the community. These services are made available through the Employment First program funded by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Twelve individuals have been able to take advantage of this new program over the past year. Another twelve individuals will have this opportunity during the next year. Starlight Programs is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. Employers and employees can learn more -during October and throughout the year-by visiting the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep/. If you are interested in an employment opportunity-call Missy Hartley or David Newton at 453.4622.
John E. Hill