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Category: Governors

Utah Becomes 3rd in the Nation for Employment of People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 21 – Amid a trend of nationwide job growth for people with disabilities, Utah is outperforming far bigger states like California and Texas. According a new report by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility, the Beehive State now ranks 3rd in the nation for employment of people with disabilities.…

Texas Gains 3,796 Jobs for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 21 – Nationwide 111,804 people with disabilities got new jobs last year, including 3,796 new jobs in the Lone Star State. Texas now ranks 23rd in the nation based on the employment rate of people with disabilities. Out of 1,622,962 working-age (18-64) Texans with disabilities, 647,977 have jobs.…

Tennessee Gains 4,679 Jobs for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 20 – 4,679 Tennesseans with disabilities entered the workforce last year, part of a national trend of jobs gained among people with disabilities. Tennessee now ranks 44th in the nation based on the employment rate for people with disabilities. Out of the 538,061 working-age (18-64) Tennessee natives with disabilities,…

Rhode Island Gains 7,758 Jobs for People with Disabilities, Jumps From 47th to 19th in Disability Employment Rate

Washington, D.C., March 20 – Amid a nationwide trend of job growth for people with disabilities, Rhode Island has overcome great challenges to become 19th in the nation in terms of disability employment. According to the 2018 Disability Statistics Compendium, out of 75,806 working-age (18-64) Rhode Islanders with disabilities, 30,787 have…

904 South Dakotans with Disabilities Lost Jobs

Washington, D.C., March 20 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 904 South Dakotans with disabilities exited the workforce last year. Said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility, “After strong job growth for people with disabilities in the state, this is a very troubling development. People…

New Mexico Gains 7,921 Jobs for People with Disabilities, Yet Ranks 43rd in the Nation for Disability Employment

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham smiling in front of an American flag
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

Washington, D.C., March 17 – Nationwide 111,804 people with disabilities got new jobs last year, including 7,921 new jobs for New Mexicans with disabilities. New Mexico now ranks 43rd in the nation in terms of the state’s employment rate for people with disabilities. Overall, there are 169,264 working-age (18-64) New Mexico natives with disabilities and out of that number, 57,005 have jobs. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows New Mexico has an employment rate of 33.7 percent for people with disabilities. Further analysis by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility shows that job gains for New Mexicans with disabilities have dramatically increased compared to the prior year.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has been quick to signal her deep commitment to support the disability community in New Mexico. Among her first actions as Governor was to appoint a disability rights lawyer to lead the state’s Department of Aging and Long-Term Services. So far this year, Gov. Lujan Grisham has also pushed hard to expand “funding for services to individuals with developmental disabilities.”

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has made a special effort to celebrate this March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The Department’s goal is to promote respect for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as building awareness of the challenges faced by New Mexico’s citizens with disabilities. Public awareness and support are crucial to ensuring that people with disabilities are welcome in their communities and in the workforce.

Indiana Gains 8,964 Jobs for People with Disabilities as State’s Disability Employment Rate Steadily Increased Over Past Three Years Under Gov. Eric Holcomb

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb smiling in front of the American flag and the state flag
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

Washington, D.C., March 17 – As nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 8,964 Hoosiers with disabilities entered Indiana’s workforce last year. Indiana now ranks 24th in the nation based on the employment rate for people with disabilities. Out of 477,660 working-age (18-64) people with disabilities living in the Hoosier state, 84,343 have jobs. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Indiana has an employment rate of 38.6 percent for people with disabilities. Further analysis by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility shows that Indiana’s disability employment rate has steadily increased over the past three years.

Crucial to Indiana’s efforts to expand employment opportunities for Hoosiers with disabilities is the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. Founded in 1980, the Council works on a variety of advocacy, leadership and training opportunities across the state. In March, the Council celebrates Disability Awareness Month with a public relations campaign to raise awareness of disability issues. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Be Cool. We Are.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb is doing his part to celebrate the month and to celebrate the contributions of Hoosiers with disabilities. “Disability in no way diminishes the right of individuals with disabilities to live independently, make choices, contribute to society, and fully participate in the economic, political, social, cultural and educational mainstream of American society,” he wrote in a proclamation released on March 1st.

As South Carolina Loses 6977 Jobs for People with Disabilities, Gov. Henry McMaster Wants More Opportunities

Governor Henry McMaster smiling in front of an American flag and the South Carolina state flag
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster

Washington, D.C., March 16 –While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 6,977 people with disabilities left South Carolina’s workforce. South Carolina now ranks 45th in the nation for employment rates for people with disabilities. Out of the 376,889 working-age (18-64) South Carolina natives with disabilities, only 122,789 have jobs. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows South Carolina has a disability employment of only 32.6 percent for people with disabilities.

Further analysis by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility shows that the job losses in the past year come after more than 23,000 people with disabilities entered the Palmetto State’s workforce back in 2016.

Gov. Henry McMaster, who just won a full four-year term this past November, has previously expressed his desire to advance opportunities for his citizens with disabilities. “South Carolinians with disabilities have the same aspirations to competitively work and contribute to their communities as anyone else,” McMaster wrote in an October 2018 proclamation written in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month. “All people are needed to reduce attitudinal and physical barriers that hinder the full acceptance of people with disabilities and their rightful place in employment.”

Missouri Gains 8,040 New Jobs for People with Disabilities as Gov. Mike Parson Makes New Commitment to Expand Employment

Missouri Governor Mike Parson smiling in front of a grey backdrop
Missouri Governor Mike Parson

Washington, D.C., March 16 – Nationwide 111,804 people with disabilities got new jobs last year, including 8.040 new jobs in the Show Me State. Missouri now ranks 31st in the nation in terms of the employment rate for people with disabilities. Overall, there are 463,965 working-age (18-64) Missouri natives with disabilities and 172,283 have jobs. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Missouri has an employment rate of 37.1 percent.

This news comes out weeks after Missouri Governor Mike Parson made a new commitment to ensure that state government becomes a model employer of people with disabilities. At a site visit with community service provider Paraquad in St. Louis, Gov. Parson said, “Making Missouri a model employer is vital to ensuring we are offering individuals living with disabilities options of secure competitive employment in the workforce. My administration’s vision for developing our workforce includes each and every Missourian.”

Parson’s announcement echoes previous statements he has made about expanding jobs for Missourians with disabilities. “Workplaces welcoming of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of the efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy,” Parson wrote in October 2018 in a proclamation celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month.

8,682 Georgians with Disabilities Lose Jobs, Georgia Now Ranks 37th in the Nation

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp stands in front of an American flag
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

Washington, D.C., March 15 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 8,682 people with disabilities left Georgia’s workforce. Georgia now ranks 37th in the nation based on the employment rate of people with disabilities. Out of the 661,498 working-age (18-64) Georgians with disabilities, only 227,895 have jobs. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Georgia has an employment rate of 34.5 percent for people with disabilities.

Further analysis by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility shows that despite the job losses in the past year, employment opportunities for Georgians with disabilities have been steadily expanding with the overall disability employment rate increasing from 33.9 percent in the previous year. Back in 2016, more than 28,000 people with disabilities entered the workforce.

“While employees with disabilities typically have higher retention rates than their non-disabled peers, a certain amount of turnover is to be expected,” said Philip Kahn-Pauli, RespectAbility’s Policy and Practices Director. “As people with disabilities enter the workforce, they are exploring different jobs and searching for the right career. Sometimes the first job isn’t a good fit. In the end, however, finding the right job for the right people with disabilities can improve business’ bottom line.”

Vermont Gains 1,728 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Enters Ranks of Top 10 States for Disability Employment

Vermont Governor Phil Scott smiling in front of an American flag and the state legislature
Vermont Governor Phil Scott

Washington, D.C., March 14 – Last year, more than 1,700 Vermonters with disabilities entered the workforce, propelling the Green Mountain State to join the ranks of the top states with the best employment rates for people with disabilities. Part of a nationwide trend of job growth for people with disabilities, Vermont stood out for a dramatic increase in its overall disability employment, now ranking sixth in the nation. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Vermont has a 47.2 disability employment rate. That number is up from only 39.6 percent employment for Vermonters with disabilities.

To put that in a larger perspective, there are 47,113 working-age (18-64) Vermonters with disabilities. Out of that number, 22,234 have jobs. Nationally, the disability employment rate of all Americans with disabilities is only 37 percent. What that means is that Vermont consistently outperforms other, bigger states like California and Texas.

Vermont’s disability community has benefitted from the leadership shown by Gov. Phil Scott. When he was running for election back in 2016, Scott spoke publicly about his commitment to support and expand job opportunities for more and more Vermonters with disabilities. “Disability issues are very personal for me, and are critical to address,” he wrote in response to a nonpartisan candidate questionnaire from the advocacy group RespectAbility. “As a Vermonter, I will always support the rights of all people to live with dignity and independence.”

Wyoming Gains 578 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Ranks 10th in the Country for Disability Employment Rate

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon smiling
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon

Washington, D.C., March 14 – As nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 578 people with disabilities in Wyoming were part of this gain in the workforce. Wyoming now ranks 10th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 19,063 of the 41,825 working-age (18-64) Wyomingites with disabilities being employed. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Wyoming has a 45.6 disability employment rate.

Among newly sworn-in Gov. Mark Gordon’s first actions as Governor was to select Erin Johnson as his Health and Human Services Policy Advisor, signaling a firm commitment to working on “key Wyoming issues and advocating on behalf of…those with disabilities and Wyoming youth.”

Gov. Gordon’s administration is well positioned to continue supporting its citizens with disabilities. Wyoming’s Employment First Initiative has become a key policy program to enable people with disabilities to secure employment rather than just receiving government benefits. The initiative brings together job seekers with disabilities, employers who need talented workers and community service providers to facilitated connections.

Oklahoma Gains 4,040 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Ranks 29th in the Country for Disability Employment Rate

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt headshot
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

Washington, D.C., March 14 – As nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 4,040 people with disabilities in Oklahoma were part of this gain in the workforce. Oklahoma now ranks 29th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 127,608 of the 339,773 working-age (18-64) Oklahomans with disabilities having jobs. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Oklahoma has a 37.6 disability employment rate.

Newly-elected Gov. Kevin Sttit is well positioned to support further job gains among Oklahomans with disabilities. In 2018, Oklahoma’s Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), the state agency primarily responsible for helping job seekers with disabilities, reported they had successfully taken “more than 3,400 people [with disabilities] looking for work off wait lists and placed them in jobs.”

DRS also has a special commitment to supporting youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a model program called Project SEARCH, a proven business-led program where students with disabilities get hands on real-world job skills in their final year of high school. Nationwide, SEARCH already had served more than 3000 young adults with disabilities by 2015 and 78 percent of them found jobs. The businesses that participate are un-subsidized and incorporate the talents of the students with disabilities fully into their office. As reported on DRS’ website, they currently support “three young adult programs in Oklahoma City, one young adult program in Yukon, and one high school transition program for seniors in Enid.”

North Dakota Ranks 1st in the Country for Disability Employment Rate But Loses 2267 Jobs for People with Disabilities

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum smiles in front of flags
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum

Washington, DC., March 13 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 2267 people in North Dakota exited the workforce last year. Despite these losses, North Dakota still ranks 1st in the nation for employment rates with 21,019 of the 37,320 working-age (18-64) North Dakotans with disabilities being employed. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows North Dakota has a 56.3 disability employment rate.

The job losses experienced by North Dakotans with disabilities reflects a slowing state economy starting to see significant shifts in employment patterns. However, North Dakota’s state government has made an effort to recognize key employers who have played a vital role in ensuring economic inclusivity. Last year, for example, “The Dollar Tree received an Employer of the Year Honorable Mention from the Department of Health for their work with people with disabilities.” Recognizing inclusive employers is crucial to shining a light on the abilities of people with disabilities.

Nebraska Gains 2,068 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Ranks 4th in the Country for Disability Employment Rate

Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets smiles sitting behind a desk
Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets

Washington, DC., March 13 – More people with disabilities in Nebraska continued to gain new jobs last year, continuing a trend from the year prior.

The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows that Nebraska has a 49.3 disability employment rate. That puts Nebraska fourth in the nation for employing people with disabilities. Further analysis by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility shows that in 2017, 2,068 Nebraskans with disabilities entered the workforce. That means that out of 112,418 working-age (18-64) Nebraskans with disabilities, 55,391 have jobs.

Under Gov. Pete Ricketts, the state has paid particular attention to diversity and the talent of working-age population with disabilities. Programs such as Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation have worked hard to screen and prepare job seekers with disabilities by identifying their strengths, addressing their weaknesses and matching them with appropriate jobs. The program crucially “offers customized and individualized services that are tailored to your specific needs and job goal.”

North Carolina Loses 16,355 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Ranks 42nd in the Country for Disability Employment Rate

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper headshot
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

Washington, D.C., March 13 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 16,355 people with disabilities in North Carolina exited the workforce last year. North Carolina now ranks 42nd in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with only 232,875 of the 689,612 working-age (18-64) North Carolinians with disabilities having jobs. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows North Carolina has a 33.8 disability employment rate.

Despite these challenges, Gov. Roy Cooper has been a vocal supporter of his state’s disability community. Last year, in recognition of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Gov. Cooper wrote: “We must focus on helping North Carolinians with disabilities pursue opportunities for education and careers, and encourage employers to make our state a national model for diverse workplaces.”

Cooper also reiterated, “We’ve made progress since this landmark legislation was signed into law 28 years ago, but we have more to do to assure equal and full participation in community life for North Carolinians living with disabilities.”

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, RespectAbility’s president who is originally from Durham, North Carolina, said: “Last year we saw an improvement in jobs for people with disabilities in North Carolina. Thus, for thousands of people with disabilities in North Carolina to lose their jobs – especially at a time when other states are improving – is deeply disappointing. I know that Carolinians are capable of doing much better on these issues. I look forward to future progress.”

Florida Gains 23,953 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Ranks 39th in the Country for Disability Employment Rate

Ron Desantis smiles in front of an American flag
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Washington, D.C., March 12 – 23,953 Floridians with disabilities entered the workforce last year, part of a national trend of jobs gained among people with disabilities.

According to the newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Florida has a 34.1 disability employment rate. Florida now ranks 39th in the nation for employing people with disabilities. In total, 428,638 of the 1,258,361 working-age (18-64) Floridians with disabilities have jobs.

Among newly sworn-in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first actions as Governor was to reappoint Barbara Palmer as the leader of the state’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The Agency, which “works with local communities and private providers to assist” Floridians with disabilities, was first created back in 2004. Palmer has systematically broken down silos and bridged gaps across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The continuing success of job seekers with disabilities finding jobs in Florida’s economy reflects the critical policies and programs supported by DeSantis’ predecessor, the newly elected Senator Rick Scott. When Sen. Scott was Governor, he made serious budgetary commitments to reduce wait lists for services as well as “funding to provide job coaches and internships to additional people with disabilities will help them compete in the job market.”

Montana Loses 1,484 Jobs For People With Disabilities; Ranks 8th in the Country For Disability Employment Rate

headshot of Steve Bullock smiling wearing a suit with white shirt and blue tie with American flag in background
Montana Governor Steve Bullock

Washington, DC., March 12 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 1,484 people with disabilities Montana exited the workforce last year. Montana now ranks 8th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 31,935 of the 69,553 working-age (18-64) Montanans with disabilities being employed. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Montana has maintained a 45.9 percent disability employment rate.

Gov. Steve Bullock has highlighted his continuing commitment to his constituents with disabilities for the past several years. From ongoing efforts to strengthen “public schools instead of privatizing them” to reimagining programs “to better serve Montanans with disability in living the lives they choose and deserve,” Gov. Bullock has been a vocal and active supporter of the disability community.

In honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month this past October, Gov. Bullock’s released a proclamation renewing his state’s commitment to advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. “Welcoming the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, is a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and stronger economy,” said Bullock in the proclamation. “This month, and every month, we celebrate the many and varied contributions people with disabilities have given to our state.”

As Pennsylvania Gains 6406 Jobs for People with Disabilities, Gov. Wolf’s Employment First Policy Helps Pennsylvanians with Disabilities Find Work

Tom Wolf headshot
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 11 – More people with disabilities in Pennsylvania continued to gain new jobs last year, continuing a trend from the year prior.

The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Pennsylvania is currently ranked 30th out of 50 states with 329,760 of the 880,799 working-age (18-64) people with disabilities being employed. This gives the state an employment rate of 37.4 percent for people with disabilities. Further analysis by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility shows that in 2017, the employment rate was at 35.5 percent. From 2017-2018 Pennsylvania’s employment rates increased for people with disabilities as 6,406 Pennsylvanians with disabilities found new employment opportunities.

“37.4 percent employment for people with disabilities represents progress that we must build upon,” said RespectAbility Board of Directors member Richard G. Phillips, Jr. Philips, a Pennsylvania business leader and change agent, was elected to the RespectAbility Board in September 2018.

New Hampshire Loses 676 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Ranks 15th in the Country for Disability Employment Rate

Governor Christopher Sununu smiling looking to the right of the camera
New Hampshire Governor Christopher Sununu

Washington, D.C., March 10 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 676 people with disabilities in New Hampshire exited the workforce last year. New Hampshire now ranks 15th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 36,069 of the 84,234 working-age (18-64) New Hampshirites with disabilities being employed. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows New Hampshire has a 42.8 disability employment rate.

In the weeks prior to his 2018 re-election, Governor Christopher Sununu 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.

“People with disabilities bring a diverse array of talent, vision, and skill to their place of work, their communities, and our state,” said Governor Sununu in the proclamation. “With a growing economy, businesses need talented employees to meet their needs and workplaces that welcome the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, and help to create more inclusive workplaces and a stronger economy.”