People with disabilities have an important role in the success of America’s economy.
As a nonprofit organization that specializes in providing employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities, Occupational Development Center (ODC) is celebrating National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by sharing our background and understanding of what this means for our staff, persons served, and partners.
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the theme for the 2019 NDEAM is “The Right Talent, Right Now.” This emphasizes the importance of the role that people with disabilities have in America’s economic success, especially in an era when historically low unemployment and global competition are creating a high demand for skilled talent.
“For me, ‘The Right Talent, Right Now’ means that no matter who you are, you were born with talents, and our community needs those talents brought to the table, today,” said Rebecca May, Bemidji program specialist.
NDEAM aims to provide education regarding disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. We provide individuals with a multitude of services in life skills, vocational, and employment training needs. Our work with businesses in their communities provides individuals with an option to experience work in a highly integrated setting.
“This year’s theme is very important to us at ODC because we are working to help people with disabilities find jobs that are meaningful to them. It is rewarding and beneficial to everyone involved when an individual finds employment that is successful,” said Cindy Gratzek, Warren division manager. “We’re thankful to all the businesses that support inclusion of workers with disabilities.”
NDEAM emphasizes the importance of inclusive policies and practices to ensure that all Americans who want to work, can work, and have access to services and supports to enable them to do so. With continued advances in such supports, including accessible technology, it is easier than ever before for America’s employers to hire people with disabilities in high-demand jobs.
“There is no greater satisfaction than seeing an individual succeed in the community. This success means that they are doing something they never thought they could do,” said Laura Putz, Baudette program specialist. “I love to see how each individual succeeds in their own way, and how they love their jobs! They are hardworking, on time, and have great attitudes.”
Our mission is to develop the skills of individuals with disabilities by providing opportunities for suitable, sustainable employment that results in greater independence. We accomplish this by providing the necessary services and supports. Since our establishment in 1971 in Thief River Falls, MN, we have grown to nine locations and serve over 600 individuals throughout northern Minnesota.
“We at ODC are celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October because we want to draw attention to the awesome individuals we serve every day, and the contributions they bring to this area’s workforce, and employer’s,” said Tori Peterson, VP of Programs. “This year’s theme for NDEAM is ‘The Right Talent, Right Now’ and ODC is proud to be a part of the organizations spreading this important message. We value, and encourage all employers to be inclusive of workers with disabilities.”
ODC is a nonprofit organization specializing in employment skills development and support for individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment, working with community businesses to provide options for inclusive and sustainable employment that result in greater independence.