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DHHS Collaborates with OSHR to Recognize Disability Employment Awareness Month

Anna Cunningham, Parent and North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities member; Sandy Pendergraft, State Rehab Council Member and Brain Injury Association member; Barbara Gibson, Director of the Office of State Human Resources; Kathie Trotter, Director of DHHS’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS); Cindy Harrell, Executive Director at Diversified Opportunities and State Rehab Council Member; Joy Tribble, Planner/Evaluator and BEAM Services System Administrator for DVRS; and Travis

From left to right: Anna Cunningham, Parent and North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities member; Sandy Pendergraft, State Rehab Council Member and Brain Injury Association member; Barbara Gibson, Director of the Office of State Human Resources; Kathie Trotter, Director of DHHS’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS); Cindy Harrell, Executive Director at Diversified Opportunities and State Rehab Council Member; Joy Tribble, Planner/Evaluator and BEAM Services System Administrator for DVRS; and Travis Williams, Systems Change Manager for the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Oct. 17, 2019 - Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month. To recognize this, leaders from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of State Human Resources gathered Oct. 15 to highlight the importance of improving accessibility in the workplace and stepping up recruitment of people with disabilities for state government jobs.

In April, Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 92: Employment First for North Carolinians with Disabilities. The order seeks to increase opportunities for fair wages, employment and careers for people with disabilities and directs state government to lead the way in recruiting and creating an inclusive job climate for people with disabilities.

Kathie Trotter, Director of DHHS’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), spoke at the event, held at Learning and Development Center in Raleigh, about the importance of reaching out to those with disabilities and noted that DVRS helps more than 5,000 people find jobs each year.

Also attending from DHHS were Joy Tribble, Planner/Evaluator and BEAM Services Administrator for DVRS, and Travis Williams, DHHS Systems Change Manager for the North Carolina Council on Development Disabilities. They spoke about their work and shared their experiences of having a disability and achieving success in leadership roles in the state government workforce.

“As a state we need to be a model,” said Tribble. “It’s important to have people with disabilities at the table.”

Williams, who suffered a brain aneurism at age 17, said the experience ultimately made him a better man, and encouraged attendees to “keep up the work you are doing,” and to actively recruit and engage with workers who have disabilities.

At the event, State Human Resources Director Barbara Gibson shared a note from Governor Cooper about the executive order:

“North Carolina can be its best when all people have the opportunity to achieve their potential and live lives of purpose, including North Carolinians with disabilities. … [This order establishes] meaningful work as the first and preferred choice for all North Carolinians, regardless of disability, and direct[s] state government to lead the way on including more people with disabilities in the workplace.”

The event preceded a quarterly Lunch and Learn meeting of the Equal Employment Opportunity Network, which includes representatives of all state government agencies.

Author: 
Karen Mann