Montgomery hosts third annual job fair

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The third annual Governor’s Job Fair for People With Disabilities welcomed a large crowd of prospective employees to Montgomery’s Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday, Oct. 3.

At the news conference that opened the job fair, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, along with several state agencies and industries, stressed the importance of providing opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Today we are all here to see how we can match folks that are willing to work and want to work and meet the needs of these employers who are looking to hire efficient workers,” she said. “It is a great day, and I appreciate you all being here.”

Ivey said employees with disabilities have repeatedly proven themselves to be an asset to employers who are willing to provide them with an opportunity. She said she hoped the 2019 job fair would add even more good examples to the workforce.

“People with disabilities have made contributions at all levels in our business and government,” she said. “The past two job fairs have been great successes, and I am confident that today is going to be just as successful.”

Ivey then issued a proclamation declaring October “Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

More than 60 employers were on hand with 2,200 jobs to fill. ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw said the department was excited to see such a strong turnout and is always willing to do its part to help.

“We at the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services stand ready … to create a disability-inclusive culture here in Montgomery and across the state of Alabama,” she said. “We want to do that with this great governor, Gov. Ivey, with the Department of Labor, and all of the other partners.”

The job fair is a great start, Burdeshaw said, but she reminded all of the businesses and job seekers in attendance that ADRS is available to help fill their needs year-round.

“If you are an employee who has a disability and needs a job, come and find us,” she said. “We will help you with skills training, education, job placement, and technology. If you are an employer and you need assistance knowing how to find employees with disabilities, come and talk to us. We will help you learn how to inform and educate your employees on hiring people with disabilities.”

Like Burdeshaw, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office on Disabilities Graham Sisson extended his thanks to the governor and her partners for providing opportunities to people with disabilities.

Though statewide employment is at record lows, Sisson said, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities in Alabama is a little more than 72 percent. This number needs to be drastically reduced to give people with disabilities a sense of purpose.

“Employment is the great equalizer for people with disabilities,” he said. “It opens the door. People with disabilities become taxpayers instead of consumers of resources, so we want greater employment for people with disabilities.”

Sisson said he hopes to see businesses throughout the state continue to build off of the Oct. 3 event.

“This job fair and the job fairs we have around the state are a great start,” he said. “Let’s continue this momentum. Let’s get more of you with disabilities hired.”

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