Goodwill And The City Of San Antonio Rally For National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Mayor Nirenberg issued proclamation celebrating an inclusive workforce and opportunity for all.
Photo courtesy of Fred Gonzales, City of San Antonio. Photographer.
(SAN ANTONIO – Oct. 17, 2018)
Mayor Ron Nirenberg, on behalf of the City of San Antonio, proudly issued a proclamation on Wednesday, October 17 recognizing October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The event was hosted by the City of San Antonio and Goodwill San Antonio who also partnered with Disability SA, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, HEB, and VIA to celebrate the valued contributions people with disabilities have on today’s workforce, charging to build a city with an inclusive workforce and opportunity for all.
National and city leaders together with local non-profit organizations pledged their commitment to do more to employ people with disabilities recognizing their many talents, thoughtful ideas, and creative problem-solving skills.
U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) spoke to the more than 100 attendees stating, "Today is about the ability that those that face some limitation have to contribute to their community, to their employers, and to the entire workforce. What we want for every individual with disabilities is a maximum of independence and opportunity to achieve the full potential of each of them."
Also attending the event was Robert Treviño, District 1 City Councilman and William "Cruz" Shaw, District 2 City Councilman.
On average, employment levels for people with disabilities are low; and those with disabilities who are employed tend to be in low-paying occupations and more likely to work part-time. While the national unemployment rate for people with disabilities has fallen steadily since 2009, it remains more than double the rate for people without a disability—8.5 percent versus 3.9 percent in July 2018. In Bexar County, 75% of those without a disability are employed, compared to only 36% employment of those with a disability.
People with disabilities deserve the opportunity to enjoy full and equal access to independence, productivity, and self-sufficiency. Individuals with disabilities enhance workforce diversity, and can offer employers unique skill sets and perspectives.
Mary Nelson, a Goodwill employee with a disability, shared her story as an individual who is now thriving as a result of securing meaningful employment. Prior to working for Goodwill, Mary was forced to make the difficult decision to resign from a management position she had worked diligently to achieve due decreasing mobility. She had been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis causing her to limp when she walked. In time, the disease would eventually further penetrate her knees, hips, and back.
"When your ability to work becomes limited, it affects the way you think. You wonder how you are going to be able to feed yourself or keep a roof over your head. Uncertainty is a very scary place," Mary stated.
Mary was referred to Goodwill where she applied for employment and is now working as a Medical Records Associate helping to prepare, scan and digitize hundreds of thousands of medical records for U.S. Air Force veterans. Mary and her team’s work helps expedite the time for the Department of Veterans Affairs to process medical claims ensuring veterans receive their benefits.
"I have a future now, and that future is a lot brighter. Life with a disability can and should be good," Mary commented. "I look forward to assisting Goodwill achieve their mission any way I can because, you see, I am the mission fulfilled."
To learn more about Goodwill San Antonio’s mission to help change lives through the power of work, visit goodwillsa.org.
About Goodwill Industries of San Antonio
Serving San Antonio since 1945, Goodwill San Antonio is a Section 501(c)(3) non-profit social enterprise that helps change lives through the power of work. When you shop at or donate to Goodwill, your purchases and donations help fund education, training and career services to empower people with life barriers to find jobs and secure their future. Together, with the support of our generous community, partners and employers, Goodwill provides employment and related services to people each year in South Central Texas. In addition to operating retail stores, donation stations and Good Careers Centers in San Antonio, Cibolo, Kerrville, Laredo, New Braunfels, Seguin and the surrounding areas, Goodwill operates Good Careers Academies and manages contracts for the U.S. government for services ranging from document management to grounds maintenance.