BOSTON, MA- Today, in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Easter Seals Massachusetts was joined by Senator Barbara L’Italien, Representative James O’Day, the Boston Center For Independent Living, and members of the community who have been advocating for greater employment opportunities for people with disabilities, to celebrate the passing of the Economic Bill.
“Easter Seals Massachusetts is dedicated to ensuring that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work, and play,” said Paul Medeiros, President & CEO of Easter Seals MA. “We couldn’t be more proud to have worked with Senator L’Italien and Representative O’Day to make that mission a reality.”
With the passing of the Economic Bill, this new legislation will require companies contracting with the Executive Offices of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to commit to hiring people with disabilities.
“Too many people with disabilities are not working today because they are not given the equal opportunities to do so. We wanted to change that here in Massachusetts,” said Senator Barabara L’Italien. “And with passing of the Economic Bill, we are doing just that.”
Joe Bellil, Vice President, Public Affairs of Easter Seals MA added, “Over 82% of people with disabilities are not working according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The legislation that was just passed can create badly needed employment options for people with disabilities, more than any other piece of legislation in the state.”
October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This year, the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy picked #InclusionWorks as its theme, reflecting the important role disability plays in workforce diversity.
“To be here in the State House celebrating this bill during National Disability Employment Awareness Month is truly an honor,” said Representative James O’Day, “It is incredibly important to educate about the value of a diverse workforce, but it is vital that we as legislators move the needle forward when it comes to ensuring that people with disabilities are afforded equal opportunities in the work place.”
About Chapter 219
Economic Bill- AN ACT RELATIVE TO JOB CREATION AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.
SECTION 4. Section 61 of chapter 7 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-
(s) The SDO shall, every 2 years and in consultation with the Massachusetts Office on Disability, establish goals for participation of individuals with disabilities in all areas of state procurement contracting. Participation goals may be met by contracting or subcontracting with businesses that hire, or identify and recruit with the intent to hire, qualified applicants with disabilities. SDO shall provide assistance to the executive offices in determining opportunities for contracting with businesses that hire persons with disabilities to meet the participation goal set forth in this paragraph, including contractors and subcontractors providing goods and services under multi-year contracts or grants funded by agencies within the executive offices.
SDO shall file an annual report with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate on or before October 31 on the progress made toward meeting the participation goal set forth in this paragraph.
About Easter Seals Massachusetts
Easter Seals Massachusetts provides services to ensure that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. Nonprofit and nonsectarian, Easter Seals MA offers technological assistance, employment and training services, recreational activities, youth transition and leadership programs, rehabilitation services and public awareness programs. For more information, call 800-244-2756 or go to EasterSealsMa.com