Organizations celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month |

Organizations celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month

— The local office of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The division has partnered with the Colorado Department of Human Services to educate the public about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities.

“We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the talents and skills of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities,” Brooke Lightner, a business outreach specialist with the DVR, said in a news release.

Local organization Horizons Specialized Services also is celebrating the awareness month by recognizing local employees with disabilities on its Facebook page.

Horizons is a disability resource organization that helps individuals with a variety of needs, including vocational opportunities.

A post with a photo recognizing a Papa Murphy’s employee named Jay has garnered more than 100 likes and a dozen comments on the Horizons Facebook page, and another post features an employee at the Steamboat Springs Laundromat.

Horizons Executive Director Susan Mizen said that Routt County’s disabled population has a higher rate of employment than the state.

“It’s one of the great things about our community,” Mizen said.

There also are more people with individual jobs than in group employment settings, Mizen said.

“We’ve been really grateful that businesses have supported people in individual jobs,” she said.

Throughout October, the DVR has been reaching out to Steamboat-area businesses that employ people with disabilities and foster a disability-friendly work culture, and it has been honoring these businesses with a certificate of appreciation.

The businesses include Azteca Taqueria, BAP, Carl’s Tavern, Center for Sports Medicine, Ciao Gelato, Dragonflies, Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, Natural Grocers, Northwest Center for Independence, Old Town Hot Springs, One Steamboat Place, Rocky Mountain Day Spa, Steamboat Springs Laundromat, Steaming Bean Coffee Co., Yampa Valley Medical Center and Young Tracks.

The roots of the awareness month reach back to 1945 when Congress first enacted a week in October to be National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. The awareness campaign has been renamed throughout the years and extended to the entire month of October.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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