Month: October 2016

Celebrating Our Strides to Create a More Inclusive Federal Workforce

The White House hosted its final National Disability Employment Awareness Month event Thursday and celebrated the strides we have made to create a more inclusive federal workforce. I’m proud to announce important progress toward that effort.

In 2010, President Obama challenged the federal government to hire 100,000 people with disabilities within five years. Not only did we reach the goal between 2011 and 2015, we surpassed it. Since then, the federal government has hired more than 154,000 permanent and temporary employees with disabilities, and more than 109,000 of whom are permanent hires. Continue reading

Fellowship Grants Awarded to Three Goodwin College Students

Thanks to a grant focused on encouraging professional development for individuals from diverse backgrounds in human services, three Goodwin College students will have a rare — and challenging — educational experience that can profoundly shape their careers and benefit the clients with whom they will work.

The source of this unique opportunity comes from a grant that the University of Connecticut University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UConn UCEDD) received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration For Community Living, Administration on Disability (AOD) Excellence in Developmental Disabilities National Training Initiative. The funds support the recruitment and retention of trainees from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to participate in a fellowship experience at the UConn UCEDD in Farmington, Connecticut. Continue reading

A Disabled Life Is a Life Worth Living

By Ben Mattlin, author of the memoir “Miracle Boy Grows Up”

In midsummer, I learned of the death of Laurie Hoirup, a prominent 60-year-old disability rights advocate in California. Laurie drowned in the Sacramento River after a July 4 celebration. She was well-loved and accomplished. She’d served as a chief deputy director of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities for five years and wrote books about living with a disability.

Laurie’s sudden and tragic death was not directly caused by her S.M.A., but it is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of disabled lives. She was deboarding a pleasure boat when the ramp to the dock shifted. The weight of her motorized wheelchair — and the fact that she was strapped into it — pulled her down into the water too rapidly for rescue.

Laurie’s death had extra significance for me, a 53-year-old husband and father of two, in part because we shared a diagnosis: spinal muscular atrophy.

S.M.A. is a congenital and progressive neuromuscular weakness akin to muscular dystrophy. Until recently, half the babies born with it would die before their second birthdays. Their hearts and lungs became too weak to continue. Medical care and understanding have improved the odds somewhat. Continue reading