Economic Equality Through Employment
December 15, 2011 Leave a comment
Equality. A word that has been fought for since the beginning of time. A word that is the subject matter of one of the greatest speeches in the history of the United States, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Some would argue that equality has been achieved, or at the very least has gotten better in the last 50 years of our country. However, there is still much work left to do in our evolving society. Equality will always be strived for, no matter one’s lot in life.
At NEBA, we strive for equal opportunities for our job seekers. We feel that the road to equality for individuals with disabilities is paid employment. Why? Because many of the individuals we serve are people who are in a search for purpose in life, and for their place in society. The common factor in all of this is employment.
Just as your job and my job give us purpose to get up every morning and realize our dreams (or pay our way to our dreams), the same is true for the individuals we serve. Their dream might be to get their own place to live, to buy a car, or to go on a vacation. A job gives our job seekers the kind of freedom and equality that they would never get from a monthly disability check. A job allows the individuals we serve to be part of a setting where they can interact and socialize with society in a way they can’t in sheltered workshops and group-supported employment, which many with disabilities participate in.
The NEBA mission and vision statement, which I feel perfectly summarizes what we do and why we do it:
To enable people with disabilities, whose rights and freedoms are most likely denied them to be fully included in community life, primarily through employment.
In a way that:
• Incorporates and creates the best practices
• Creates valued typical societal roles
• Offers individualized opportunities
• Does no harm
So that the gifts and talents of all people are appreciated.
- Timothy J Blonsky, Senior Employment Specialist