By Cara Beth Lewis
With a goal of ensuring that all diasabled people have access to employment as the nation recovers from a global pandemic, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed the month of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
A specific list of disability qualifications is not listed by the ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act). It simply defines disability as “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Governor Cooper stated, “To best serve the people of North Carolina, our workforce must reflect our full diversity and understand its needs.”
The NC Department of Health and Human Services’ Vocational Rehabilitation Division and the NC Office of State Human Resources work together closely. “Working together, we can ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunity to apply for state positions, and provide them the tools to succeed in their roles – and that agency hiring managers have the guidelines and training necessary to support these individuals in an inclusive workplace,” said State Human Resources Director Barbara Gibson.
The Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability tool in the Employee Service Portal of the integrated HR/payroll system is a place for state employees to confirm whether they are disabled, not disabled, or do not wish to answer. As over 3,400 employees have completed this, 1,200 have shared that they have a disability.
Director Gibson believes that it is vital that employees feel comfortable confidentially sharing this information, as it aids in assuring that the state of North Carolina provides an inclusive work environment for its valued employees, according to the press release from the Office of Governor Roy Cooper.
On the 30th of September, the proclamation was made by Governor Cooper, and October officially is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness month in our state of North Carolina