Organizations host disability employment awareness job fair

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - For people with disabilities, finding employers willing to hire them can be difficult.

“Often there is kind of a misconception when it comes to hiring those with disabilities, and we kind of want to normalize the conversation around this topic,” Rockford School District Academy Coach Jordan Lynde says.

“There’s lots of opportunity,” adds Amy Newell, Executive Director of The Arc of Winnebago, Boon and Ogle Counties. “Unfortunately, I think that there aren’t a lot of employers who look for people with disabilities or really consider them.”

As part of Disability Employment Awareness Month, more than 20 organizations and businesses around Rockford will collaborate to connect employers with worthy candidates through a job fair.

“I just hope that, you know, workplaces start to mirror what the community looks like on a grand scale, and that entails hiring people of all backgrounds and all ability levels,” says Lynde.

Newell adds, “You should find what you’re passionate about. What moves you, what helps you to feel connected and engaged, and really part of the community you live in.”

And speaking of the community in which you live, experts say all residents can support the cause during October and beyond by being inclusive to those with physical or mental challenges.

“I think the important piece about people with disabilities in the community is, that’s where they belong,” says Newell. “I think that everyone just needs to be open and welcoming.”

“You know growth starts with diversity, and so as employers and as students and as co-workers, we have to be exposed to diverse ideas and different perspectives,” adds Lynde.

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