According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people with disabilities have a 13.5 percent unemployment rate, nearly 60 percent higher than the unemployment rate of people without disabilities, that is 7.8 percent as of October 2012. Here at Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, we are working to make this change.
To kick-off October, National Disability Awareness month, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ, Inc. recently coordinated a series of mentoring events for students and other job seekers with disabilities at local corporations. During these events, professionals in the mentees’ field of interest led hands-on career exploration and on-site job shadowing. In 2011, Goodwill NY-NJ employed 3,400 people with disabilities in its industries.
This year, our events took place at Merck in Rahway, Red Lobster in Secaucus, and Kmart in Passaic. At Merck, the day started with breakfast and mentor-mentee matching, moved into presentations, discussions, and lunch, and ended with a heart-filled thanks from all involved. At Red Lobster, mentees observed various types of positions available to them within a restaurant/food service setting, shadowing staff in wait staff, hosting, food prep and managerial positions. And today, at Kmart, mentees will tour the store while learning the responsibilities of positions in various departments, including cashier, manager, maintenance, warehouse, shipping/receiving, and more.
No matter the event site, our mentees are utilizing Goodwill to make important connections on their path towards steady paychecks and financial self-sufficiency.
Goodwill NY-NJ marks October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month by educating employers and debunking myths about workers with disabilities. Goodwill encourages the public and private sectors to strengthen their workforce by hiring qualified people with disabilities.
Goodwill NY-NJ knows firsthand the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce and believes that all people, including those with disabilities, need to be integrated into the workforce to make our economy stronger.