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WHEREAS, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, just 39 percent of working-age Virginians with disabilities are employed, which indicates an underrepresentation of people with disabilities among the gainfully employed; and
WHEREAS, an estimated one in five Virginians will have a disability at some point in their lifetime; and
WHEREAS, Virginians with disabilities, including veterans, have the ability and desire to seek employment and to develop the skills they need to join Virginia’s economy; and
WHEREAS, in 2017, the Code of Virginia was amended to establish a goal for executive branch agencies to increase by five percent the level of employment of individuals with disabilities by fiscal year 2023; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, effective March 24, 2014, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs set a seven percent hiring benchmark for federal government contractors to include qualified individuals with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities (CPID) is part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to Build Virginia, training young adults, including those with disabilities, for promising careers in in-demand industries including advanced manufacturing and technology; and
WHEREAS, employers can enhance their businesses and workplaces by creating career opportunities and hiring qualified individuals with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Labor’s theme for this year’s national observance, “The Right Talent, Right Now,” reinforces the many and varied contributions people with disabilities add to our workplaces; and
WHEREAS, all Virginians should be given the opportunity to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of the Commonwealth and to engage in remunerative employment to drive Virginia’s economy;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 2019 as DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.