Governors' Group Chair to Focus on Disabled Employment

The new chair of the National Governors Association, Delaware's Jack Markell, announced the new initiative as the association ended its annual meeting.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced "A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities" is his initiative for the next year during his term as chair of the National Governors Association. Speaking as the organization finished its annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va., Markell said the initiative will focus on the employment roadblocks facing people with disabilities and the roles of state governments and businesses in opening opportunities to them. It will identify best practices and create a blueprint for increasing employment among disabled people.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin was named NGA vice chair.

"The bottom line is that there are so many people with disabilities who have the time, talent, and desire to make meaningful contributions to interested employers," Markell said, according to a news release from the Delaware Economic Development Office. "More companies are recognizing that creating greater economic opportunity for these workers improves their own bottom line, as well. It doesn't matter whether you were born with additional challenges to face or -– in the case of our wounded veterans, for example -– acquired them later in life. What matters is what you have to offer."

A major emphasis of the initiative will be people who have significant intellectual and developmental disabilities and may need help from job coaches and personal attendants to live and work in the community. "It's inspiring to see how many leaders from the public and private sectors are committing themselves to this cause and pledging to work together on something that builds both economic and social capital. There are major employers in every state who recognize the value of creating opportunity," Markell said. "Let's bring the attention of the public and private sectors to bear this year to create meaningful opportunities for these future employees and the companies that will grow from their efforts."

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