Last summer, I became chair of the National Governors Association, affording me the opportunity to tell Delaware’s story to other state leaders and some of the nation’s largest employers, as well as make our views known on a number of national issues. But as part of my chairmanship, I am also focusing my fellow governors on advancing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Our initiative is titled, “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities,” It focuses on the employment challenges affecting individuals with intellectual and other disabilities and the roles that both state governments and businesses can play in advancing employment opportunities for these individuals. Halfway through my time as chair, we have made great progress in highlighting the benefits that employees with disabilities can play with employers of all sizes, including improving their bottom line and creating a more welcoming workplace.
As I join with my colleagues from across the country in Washington D.C. this weekend at our Winter Meeting, we’ll continue to raise awareness with Governors and the private sector about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities, with two of the nationally televised sessions focused on this topic.
By this summer, we will have developed a blueprint with concrete steps that states and businesses can take to provide opportunities that benefit both the individuals and the companies that employ them. It doesn’t matter whether someone was born with additional challenges to face or – in the case of our wounded veterans, for example – acquired them later in life. What matters is what they have to offer and the tremendous impact this will have on their overall well-being and on the bottom line of the businesses that employ them. Coming together to ensure we provide every person with the best possible chance to achieve personal and professional success will keep our country and our state moving forward.