FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order to promote competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.
The order assures that competitive and integrated employment in the community is the first option for people with disabilities who desire employment, and that state policies and regulations are in line with that goal.
“I envision a brighter future for all of our citizens, and that includes meaningful job opportunities for Kentuckians with disabilities, regardless of the level of disability,” the governor said. “By collaborating the efforts of public and private groups in the Employment First Council, we can draw on the strengths of all of our communities and break the cycle of poverty through better paying jobs for all.”
Kentucky’s Employment First Council is a 28-member advisory group comprised of people with disabilities, family members, employers, providers and state agency personnel. The council is administered by the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute and acts as an advisory group to state government to fulfill the executive order.
According to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, statistics show that the workforce participation rate for working-age individuals with disabilities is about one-third of that of people without disabilities. In addition, working-age adults with disabilities live below the poverty line at twice the rate of the general population.
To address these issues, the Employment First Council is working on the following tasks:
- Identify state policies that create disincentives to employment of people with disabilities and develop recommendations to address and eliminate those disincentives.
- Develop training and resources for families, self-advocates, public and private providers, and employers on the benefits of working in meaningful and productive jobs within the general workforce.
- Recommend the implementation of effective practices to increase employment opportunities for workers with a disability to public and private providers of employment assistance and employers.
- Establish measurable goals to assess progress of efforts to increase the employment of workers with a disability within the general workforce.