For Immediate Release:
March 4, 2019
Chief of Communications
Deputy Chief of Communications
Governor Declares March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Encourages More Employment Opportunities
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) – Individuals with developmental disabilities, advocates, and state officials gathered this morning as Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed March 2019 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Individuals with developmental disabilities who have been participating in the supported employment program with the Department of Human Services (DHS) were honored for their involvement the past year.
“Everybody has something to contribute, and as a State government, we want to encourage the hiring of those who might have some type of disability because everybody has a role that they can play.”
Governor Hutchinson also proclaimed March 21, 2019, as Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Employment Support Day to help encourage inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities in the workplace. In 2017, the employment rate of working-age Arkansans with disabilities was about 32 percent, according to a report by Cornell University. On March 21, businesses are encouraged to take part by opening their businesses to individuals with developmental disabilities.
“People with developmental disabilities have talents. They can be valuable and dependable employees. They want to contribute just like you and I do,” said DDS Director Melissa Stone. “We hope employers will participate and explore the opportunities our agency and partners have in connecting them with people in their communities who have developmental disabilities but who also want to contribute in the workplace.”
The goal of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Employment Support Day is to lead to more employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities in their communities across the state. If any Arkansas business wants to participate, contact Yvette Swift (Yvette.Swift@dhs.arkansas.gov) by March 11, 2019.
State agencies regularly partner through programs like the State Agency Model Employer (SAME) and the Employment First initiative to offer employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) along with the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) and other state advocates will host opportunities throughout the month of March to celebrate and encourage Arkansans with developmental disabilities.
For more information on Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, visit https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/ddds/dd-awareness-month.