Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What Can FAMILY & EDUCATORS Do? – Campaign Reminds Youth Influencers to Encourage Youth with Disabilities to Dream Big

Family and educators play a critical role in the expectations young people with disabilities develop for themselves. It is essential that they strengthen these expectations by instilling an early love of learning and cultivating a clear vision of work and community participation. Now, youth influencers – such as parents, teachers, coaches and clergy – can learn more about their role in the lives of youth with disabilities through a new Web site and public education campaign.

The Campaign for Disability Employment, a newly-formed collaborative of leading disability and business organizations, has launched What Can YOU Do?, a national effort designed to promote the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities and dispel negative stereotypes about disability and employment.

It’s easy for families, educators, young people with disabilities and others to participate in the Campaign and drive positive change. For example, the Web site www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org offers users the chance to learn, express their commitment to disability employment efforts and share their employment experiences. An interactive micro-blogging feature on the site encourages youth with disabilities to share what they “will do” at work, and enables families and educators to easily forward the informative Campaign Web site to young people with disabilities to encourage them to get involved.

The site also features grassroots tools and tangible ideas for supporting the Campaign’s goals, as well as video public service announcements (PSAs) that challenge assumptions about people with disabilities and employment. Included in the video library is the Campaign’s flagship “I Can” PSA, intended for nationwide television broadcast, and "Meet Sue," winner of the What Can YOU Do? Video Contest, which invited aspiring filmmakers to produce their own videos in support of the Campaign’s goals.

The Campaign for Disability Employment seeks to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers, and others, to recognize the value and talent that people with disabilities bring to the workplace, as well as the dividend to be realized by fully including people with disabilities at work. The Campaign is a collaborative effort between the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD); National Business and Disability Council (NBDC); National Council of La Raza (NCLR); National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC); Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); Special Olympics (SO); and the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The Campaign is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), receives technical assistance from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and is supported by the Disability Policy Research Center (DPRC) at West Virginia University. For more information, visit www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org.

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