Rockville, Maryland, Nov. 7 – Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger Ben Jealous for Maryland’s governorship.
In the weeks prior to the election, Hogan made new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month. RespectAbility is a nonpartisan, nonprofit national organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity to recognize the contributions of workers with disabilities,” said Hogan in the proclamation. “Through local and national campaigns we create greater awareness of the talents and skills individuals with disabilities bring to their employers.”
This proclamation followed a year of steady job growth in Maryland. Last year, 5,944 people with disabilities got new jobs. In total, there are 334,505 working-age people living with disabilities in Maryland. That total includes people who are blind or deaf or have other visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, as well as people with invisible disabilities including learning disabilities, mental health or Autism. Among them, 137,517, or 41.1 percent have jobs. Maryland ranks 17th compared to the rest of the country.
Gov. Hogan is committed to finding ways to open doors for people with disabilities. This past July, Hogan announced he would open a new center at the University of Maryland that will be dedicated to employment possibilities for youth with disabilities. The Center for Transition and Career Innovation for Youth with Disabilities will be a division at the School of Education. The center will conduct research work on college and job preparation for high school students with disabilities. The University of Maryland, College Park will partner with the Disabilities Department, the Division of Rehabilitation Services and the Division of Special Education & Early Intervention Services for the center.
Meanwhile, youth with disabilities, along with adults with disabilities, can find services in the state’s active Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS). DORS connects businesses with people with disabilities, who have the job skills, during the hiring process. In 2017, they matched 2,565 employees with disabilities to different jobs. They also offer people counseling, career assessments, technology and training. Likewise, DORS offers business owners and hiring managers awareness training, inclusion initiatives, and consultations.
According to Hogan, Maryland is “dedicated to the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act, particularly as it relates to the rights and freedom for people with disabilities to work and advance their chosen careers and lead independent and full lives in their communities.”
Also in Maryland, Sen. Ben Cardin, who responded to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire, won his re-election for a U.S. Senate seat.
Lauren Appelbaum is the Communications Director of RespectAbility and the Managing Editor of The RespectAbility Report. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.