National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Sheldon, IA.

Village Northwest Unlimited is pleased to announce its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate people and businesses about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "America’s Workforce: Empowering All."

"The Village is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Barry Whitsell, CEO, Village Northwest Unlimited. "Every day at the Village our employment specialists work with local employers to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are given every opportunity for success through competitive, integrated employment opportunities. Having employment opportunities for our Village residents allows them to have the dignity of earning a paycheck and the purpose in their life of having a job to go to each day.  We are extremely grateful to those employers who give our residents these opportunities.  Currently, 54 people with a disability are working in area businesses and using their abilities to be gainfully employed."

"Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situation leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthen their business, increases competition and drives innovation.

Anchor Employment, the community employment division of Village Northwest Unlimited, provides a supportive environment in which to teach vocational skills for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Anchor Employment provides a variety of work options and functional training opportunities to assist individuals in achieving maximum employment. Anchor Employment has partnerships with over 30 local employers for either supported community employment, competitive employment, or work center contracts. With 53 individuals working in competitive employment placements and 35 individuals working in supported employment, the Village is meeting its goal of providing the dignity of meaningful work for those who desire it.

“We are thankful to be a part of a community who values the work that our individuals provide for the businesses they work for. The businesses in and around Sheldon have seen the value in the work that 54 individuals are doing within their place of employment. We are thankful for the relationships that have been created and formed in the past, and look forward to creating new relationships in the future.” Says Emily Hoogland, Community Employment Specialist at Anchor Employment which is a division of Village Northwest Unlimited.

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Village Northwest Unlimited is nationally recognized as one of the premier providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and autism spectrum disorder. VNU builds successful lives for 180 individuals by providing opportunities and choices in residential, vocational and social programs while fulfilling its mission of providing Purpose, Privacy and Dignity.