NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
By David D’Arcangelo, Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) launched a new campaign emphasizing the importance of ensuring all Massachusetts residents, including those who are blind or visually impaired, have the opportunity to put their skills and talents to work, for the benefit of themselves and the Commonwealth’s employers and economy.
The centerpiece of the campaign—a public service announcement (PSA) titled “What’s Your Vision?”—features three individuals served by MCB and other agency stakeholders sharing their vision for the future as it relates to employment.
- Richard Phipps, a financial and real estate advisor;
- Yewellyn Sanchez, an aspiring journalist;
- Charlie Richards, a student, as well as Charlie’s mother, Laura Richards;
- Colleen Moran, Director of Workforce Programs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network;
- Laurie Cremmen, an educator with Brockton Public Schools, and
- Nicole Ross, an optometrist with the New England College of Optometry.
To complement the PSA, MCB also developed a series of print materials and partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to highlight them via digital billboards and other outdoor advertising channels throughout October in honor of NDEAM.
Massachusetts has a long and rich history of advancing employment for people with disabilities, and MCB, founded in 1906, is one of the oldest state blindness agencies in the U.S. It provides both vocational as well as social rehabilitation services, along with additional supporting programs to promote independence and full community participation.
This year’s marks the nation’s 75th NDEAM observance. Its origins trace to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” It also helps bring to a close the yearlong commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 100th anniversary of the nation’s public vocational rehabilitation program.
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