Goodwill NYNJ marks 29th ADA anniversary
July 26, 2019 marks the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education and public accommodations.
Goodwill NYNJ has supported employment opportunities for people with disabilities since its founding in Brooklyn in 1915. Our founders trained these individuals to mend the clothing and household goods they collected from wealthy New Yorkers. These goods were later sold, providing a wage for individuals with disabilities.
Today, Goodwill NYNJ provides good skills for the changing workplace: We are removing barriers to the workforce jobs of the future. Our vision is to create a world with no employment barriers and opportunities for all. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to earn wages, live independently, and achieve their dreams.
In 2018, Goodwill NYNJ:
Provided job training, coaching and employment services to 29,841 people, including nearly 9,000 individuals with disabilities
Connected 2,351 people to jobs outside our stores, including 843 individuals with disabilities
Placed 1 person into employment every hour of every business day
Goodwill NYNJ is committed to supporting the aspirations of people with or without disabilities. Individuals like Edwin, who enrolled in our Possibilities program in Brooklyn during his last year of high school. He wanted to transition from the school system to receive services for adults with Autism, and ultimately get a job.
Our staff provided Edwin socialization improvement services, travel/mobility training, money management, and work readiness skills building. Thanks to our partnership with CVS, our staff provided him customized employment training during an internship at the CVS mock store. We then provided him on-the-job coaching during a part-time paid internship in Walgreens to gain work experience. Today, Edwin has work options. He will either transition to a full-time position at Walgreens or to a second paid internship.
Despite the great advances that have been made since the passage of the ADA, particularly in public policy and technology, more can be done to eliminate barriers faced by people with disabilities, especially those with significant disabilities. While disability employment rates are improving as an increasing number of people with disabilities are on the job, struggles still exist when compared to the workforce as a whole. Nearly 80% of people with disabilities are not a part of the labor force and the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is nearly double than those without a disability.
We invite employers, elected officials and community members to reflect on how we can continue to challenge ourselves to be innovative, more inclusive, and change policies that can help improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.