Pennsylvania

Labor & Industry Recognizes Employers for Providing Inclusive Summer Employment, Hosts Job Shadow Event

Harrisburg, PA – The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) today presented the OVR Business Awards to the City of Harrisburg, the Goodwill Keystone Area, community partners and local nonprofit organizations participating in the MY Work initiative of Credit to OVR for their commitment to providing inclusive, dynamic summer employment opportunities for students with disabilities. L&I also emphasized the importance of vocational rehabilitation services across the Commonwealweal in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities in Pennsylvania.

“This month we are reminded of the importance of working towards an inclusive, equitable workforce system,” said Ryan Hyde, acting chief executive of OVR. “The MY Work initiative not only empowers Pennsylvanians with disabilities to find and retain employment, but also provides meaningful opportunities to be successful and independent.

In recognition of NDEAM, high school students also had the opportunity to attend various positions within the City of Harrisburg offices, showcase the paid work experiences offered in their local communities, and remind them of the important role that people with disabilities play Play in a diverse and inclusive America workforce.

“We are thrilled to be able to support the Goodwill Keystone program for the past two summers and I want to see it in the city for at least two more decades,” said Harrisburg Mayor Wanda RD Williams. “We want everyone to know that the city of Harrisburg will set the tone for inclusion, and the MY Work program is a sign to businesses across the region that many people see and see disabilities, but we see superskills.”

The MY Work initiative is one of many OVR initiatives and projects that help people with disabilities find competitive, integrated employment. The initiative is consistent with that of the Commonwealth Employment First philosophical approach to enhancing the existing network of community rehabilitation providers in the Commonwealth and creating an accommodating workplace culture for all employees.

The Wolf Administration encourages all employers to learn more about this issue and to get involved in Employment First, which requires any group receiving public funding to ensure that employment is the primary focus for education, training or support services for everyone involved a disability is entitled to work. Employers can explore ways to improve their workforce by hiring people with disabilities who are invaluable members of our communities, workforce and economy.

MY work initiative

The MY Work Initiative is a summer employment program created by OVR to give students with disabilities the opportunity to work in their local communities. The MY Work initiative, piloted in 2016 in nine communities across Allegheny County, established a collaboration between OVR, local education authorities, local governments and non-profit organizations and provided 50 high school students with paid work experiences. This year, OVR placed 312 students with disabilities in 62 jobs in 31 counties.

OVR covers the program’s wages for all student workers at no cost to the community. In addition, OVR has developed a work readiness guide that includes soft skills training and interview preparation to support participants in a variety of areas including beautification projects, children’s programs and customer service.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

NDEAM is held annually in October and is governed by the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy. This year, the theme of NDEAM 2022 is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation”. For more information about NDEAM and resources available nationwide, visit the US Department of Labor website.

For more information on Office of Vocational Rehabilitation programs, visit www.dli.pa.gov/OVR.

MEDIA CONTACT: Trevor Monk, [email protected]

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