Breaking down job barriers for people with disabilities

October is Disability Awareness Month and King County is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 25 years of hiring people with developmental disabilities into the work place.

In 1990, the King County Council created the Supported Employment Program in response to the issue of employment inequity for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Supported Employment Program matches job seekers with developmental disabilities to jobs by identifying efficiencies and unmet needs throughout King County government.

One of those employees is Brooke, a mail clerk with King County Council, who has been with the County for 17 years. Brooke is featured in a new video produced by King County TV.

“I think we learn a lot from Brooke, not just about the administrative job but it’s a reminder to us that people with developmental disabilities have something to contribute, and having her working in an environment with the elected officials is really powerful because we see every day what people with developmental disabilities can accomplish and contribute,” Councilmember Dave Upthegrove said.

Employment is a key way to participate in the community and build wealth, skills, and self-confidence; unfortunately, individuals with disabilities continue to have many barriers to work opportunities and high unemployment rates.

“I think that all of us should have an opportunity to work and to be productive in society and be a part of society,” Brooke said.

Participating in the Supported Employment Program is a great way to change lives, create more inclusive workplaces and improve the employment statistics of people with disabilities. Contact Christina Davidson, the Supported Employment Program Manager, to start developing opportunities for job seekers with developmental disabilities.

Watch the video.