FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2000
FURTHER INFORMATION:
TRISH FARMER
(615) 313-4907 VOICE
615) 313-5695 TDD or
Patricia Harris-Morehead
(615) 313-4707

SUNDQUIST PROCLAIMS OCTOBER AS DISABILITY

EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH IN TENNESSEE

NASHVILLE--Governor Don Sundquist has issued a proclamation designating October as a month to generate awareness about the talents and abilities of Tennessee's citizens with disabilities.

"With the low unemployment rate we are experiencing in this state and across the nation, many employers are searching for additional labor pools to expand their businesses and profits," Governor Sundquist said. "Job candidates with disabilities may be the answer. As a group often overlooked, people with disabilities can be some of the most committed and motivated employees because of their willingness to earn a pay check and be self-sufficient."

"Ability You Can Bank On" is the theme of the 2000 National Disability Employment Awareness Month campaign. The theme conveys a vital message: People with disabilities are ready, willing and able to be an essential part of our nation's workforce.

In Tennessee, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) within the state Department of Human Services provides services to people with disabilities. Approximately 6,000 individuals gained employment after completing rehabilitation programs during fiscal year 1999-2000. More than 50,000 Tennesseans received rehabilitation services during this time. These services included diagnosis, treatment, training, counseling, job placement assistance, and post-employment services.

"The staggering unemployment rate for people with disabilities impacts all of our citizens. It is not cost effective nor does it help our economy prosper to provide public aid to people who--with the right vocational training and opportunities, are capable of working," state Human Services Commissioner Natasha Metcalf said.

In addition, individuals with disabilities can contribute valuable consumer perspectives to employers about what appeals to people with disabilities in the marketplace according to Metcalf. This innovative thinking may translate into corporate profits that can be taken to the bank.

Eighteen Tennessee Vocational Training Centers (TVTC's) located in rural communities throughout the state and the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, a comprehensive residential rehabilitation facility in Smyrna, also provide additional services to people with disabilities in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities and the Division of Rehabilitation Services staff are working with businesses and agencies across the state on special activities during Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Attached is a partial list of scheduled events.

 DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH SCHEDULE 

October 1-31 Official Kick-off for Activities in the Metro Public Schools
Contact: Jackie Page
(615) 862-6492
Nashville
October 4
8:30 a.m. – noon
University of TN ADA Seminar
UT Human Resources Employee Relations
Contact: (865) 974-6018
UTK – Knoxville
University Center
October 13 Department of Energy/ORO Contractor Awareness Programs
Contact: (865) 574-2231
(Wheelchair basketball game between the local wheelchair basketball team and local sponsoring organizations)
Oak Ridge
Civic Center
October 23 DRS Resource Agency Awareness Day
Contact: Flora McBride
(901) 265-7030
Union University
Student Union Building
Jackson
October 25 Annual Awards
Recognition Ceremony of Nashville Mayor's Advisory Committee
Contact: Jackie Page
(615) 862-6492
John F. Kennedy Center
Nashville
October 30 Area Recognition Awards Luncheon
Contact: John Dunahoo
(901) 286-8313
TVTC-Dyersburg
October 31
9:30 a.m.
Chamber of Commerce Disabilities Awareness Coffee
(931) 685-5017
Shelbyville