Congressional Briefing on Disability Employment
This morning, ACCSES headed to Capitol Hill for a Congressional briefing regarding disability employment policy. The session was held in partnership with House Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA-6) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5). The event kicked off with short remarks made by Rep. Moulton on the importance of bringing more people with disabilities into the workforce. Panelists included:
- John Kemp, Esq. – President/ CEO of The Viscardi Center
- Mary Davis – CEO Paralympics
- Steve Soroka – CEO SourceAmerica
- Ty Ross – self-advocate, diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy
Mr. Kemp spoke of how his organization, a school for children with disabilities, is overcoming obstacles to boost graduation rates, college acceptance, and eventually meaningful employment for people with disabilities. Kemp also emphasized that a wide array of choices must be available for all people, including people with disabilities.
Ms. Davis talked briefly about the need for inclusion, not only within the athletic arena, but also in the emerging digital global economy. Mr. Soroka began his remarks by sharing the story of a 29-year-old man, Matt, who had achieved customized employment supports from SourceAmerica. Mr. Soroka discussed the need to get more people with disabilities into the workplace, noting that more than 24 million Americans with disabilities are unemployed. To combat this, Mr. Soroka suggested lawmakers invest more resources into programs that support customized employment, while keeping a broad range of options available.
The last speaker was self-advocate Ty Ross. Mr. Ross told his story of how he once was in a job that did not suit him, but through the help of SourceAmerica and customized employment, he is now working with computers, his true passion. Much of the discussion was centered around the need for choice for people with disabilities.
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers stopped by to give a quick thanks to the panelists for providing their insight into federal disability employment policy. In addition, Representative Tom Suozzi (D-NY-3) stopped in for a final word on employment for people with disabilities, stating that disability employment policy needs to be a national priority.
Videos of the presenters are available on SourceAmerica’s Facebook page. If you need more guidance on finding these videos contact ACCSES staff member, Jack Delaney, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate McSweeny & Jack Delaney