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WHEREAS, according to the 2018 American Community Survey, just 40 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, Executive Order 47, which was signed January 2, 2020, directs the Commonwealth’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer to coordinate across Secretariats to advance the employment of individuals with disabilities in state government; and
WHEREAS, under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014), the Commonwealth must submit a strategy for an integrated workforce system that is business-driven, aligned with current labor market data and targets workforce credentials and career pathways; and
WHEREAS, in 2020, vocational rehabilitation celebrates 100 years of empowering individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment and work towards economic self-sufficiency and independence; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Labor’s theme for this year’s national observance, “Increasing Access and Opportunity,” marks the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month; 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 2020 as DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.