Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy recognized King County’s efforts in supported employment “for the County’s commitment to increasing the number of individuals hired with developmental disabilities,” at an event on Thursday, March 15.
On behalf of King County Executive Dow Constantine, the County’s Chief People Officer Whitney Abrams accepted the recognition during the WAAALL of Impact Benefit Luncheon at The Rainier Club in Seattle.
“At King County, we have a strong commitment to hiring a workforce that is truly reflective of our community and those we serve,” Whitney told attendees at the event. “I am extremely proud of all we have done in King County to support employment for people with developmental disabilities and humbled by receiving recognition for this work.”
King County’s commitment to supported employment started in 1990, when the King County Council created an initiative to provide paid, competitive employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities into integrated work settings in response to the issue of employment inequality.
Executive Constantine urges all King County departments to look at their recruitment plans and see how Supported Employment positions can meet their business needs and Equity and Social Justice goals. Supported Employment Program Manager Christina Davidson makes it happen. “King County wants to be part of the solution as well as a model for the best path forward by providing part-time to full-time career opportunities with livable wages and benefits,” said Christina. “Having representatives with developmental disabilities in our workforce is powerful. It demonstrates to our employees and the community what people can accomplish and contribute every day. This helps break down stigmas and barriers to employment and community inclusion.”
WAAA works diligently to bridge the gap between the many health and education policies that exist to serve children and adults with developmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the educators, politicians, and medical providers who want to support these policies. Their mission is to “ensure that all children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities have every opportunity to thrive and become productive members of society.
“We recognize there is still much more work to be done to increase equitable employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities,” added Whitney, “but through programs like ours, and by working together as a community, we can help everyone in our society grow, thrive and succeed.”