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October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Pacesetters Inc. County Services Director Bill Toye said there are efforts ongoing in the Upper Cumberland to both get folks with challenges hired and educate employers about hiring them.

“Every person, no matter what their challenge, has the ability to be employed,” Toye said. “We try to get people out in the community, and not just visit the community but be a part of it. And one of the biggest things being a part of a community is employment.”

Toye said many times there is a stigma that comes with hiring folks with challenges: that they are unable to do a job,  are only fit for a certain type of job, are unreliable, or will need additional assistance. He said folks in the Pacesetters program have been hired into a variety of industries, including fast food, factories, and hotel work.

“When you go for a job you get hired for a place, you expect the place you’re hired by to train you so that is the new focus,” Toye said. “The new focus is getting the individuals out and showing businesses that they can do the job.”

Toye said a problem the Pacesetters agency is facing, and one that is not unique to just their business, is that they are lacking people to act as job coaches and train potential employees. He said the desire to hire folks with challenges is there, but they are unable to train those folks to be successful when they enter the workforce.

“Vocational rehabilitation is the expert as far as getting staff like ours trained to be job developers or job coaches and that’s what you need when you’re taking somebody out to find a job,” Toye said. “To find out what their skills are, what they like, how they like to perform something. This is a national effort (…) throughout the entire country, services like what we provide are working towards getting people to be part of the community.”


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