On July 26, 2015, the country will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This groundbreaking piece of legislation prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education and public accommodation, and promotes equality for all Americans.
Goodwill Industries International has been dedicated to supporting employment opportunities for all people since its founding more than 113 years ago. Locally, Goodwill Easterseals of the Gulf Coast believes everyone should have the opportunity to live independently, earn wages and achieve their dreams. In 2014 alone, more than 426,000 men and women with disabilities found employment with Goodwill Industries International’s help.
The revenue generated from the sale of donations in Goodwill Industries stores goes directly to promoting education, skills training and the power of work in local communities.
Fort Worth, TX, resident Robbie Green sustained a head injury that left him paralyzed. While the Veterans Administration hospital helped him regain physical strength, he was apprehensive about his job prospects after the injury. “To be dependent on other people to provide for you, to pay the bills, it takes a toll on your self-esteem,” said Green. “Being able to work isn’t just about the paycheck.” Green was referred to Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth, where he was taught to refurbish computers. Today, he works at Goodwill and volunteers at the VA hospital encouraging other veterans with disabilities. He was selected as Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year in 2014.
Stories like this reinforce the importance of the work we do every day at Goodwill Easterseals, including job placement services, skills development, transitional youth programs for students with special needs, at-risk youth services, youth mentoring, senior employment and job training programs.
While the ADA has grown opportunity and access to meaningful employment for Americans with disabilities, it’s clear that the challenges are far from over. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for men and woman with disabilities is twice that of those without disabilities.
How can you help support employees with disabilities on the Gulf Coast? Sign the ADA Pledge so people can speak up for the rights of people with disabilities and the programs that we provide. Continue to donate and shop in our stores. The investment you are making will give your neighbors the chance to make a brighter future for themselves, their families, and our community.