State of Hawai‘i departments are coming together to increase opportunities and support for the employment of people with disabilities. The agreement was announced during a ceremony today that also celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the success of employees, employers, and training programs that have brought down barriers to employment for people with disabilities.
The Departments of Labor and Industrial Relations, Human Services, Education, and Health, along with the University of Hawai‘i Center for Disability Studies are working together to develop and sustain a coordinated approach to develop and expand business and employer networks. These networks will provide greater job search, job referrals, vocational training, and work-based learning opportunities to individuals with disabilities.
“This agreement is among the first of its kind. It brings together various stakeholders in state government to support individuals with disabilities and their opportunities to work in our communities,” said Department of Human Services Director Pankaj Bhanot.
The Cooperative Agreement positions the State of Hawai‘i to maximize resources and shift policies to serve a more diverse audience and improve workforce outcomes. The agreement also calls on departments to identify and leverage resources to provide training and build capacity of employers. It will simultaneously work to expand work opportunities for people with disabilities by identifying career pathways, coordinating assistive technology programs and services where appropriate, and streamlining services.
“The Department of Health is proud of the collaborative partnerships reflected in the Cooperative Agreement,” said Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler. “It promotes a shared value of stakeholders to provide opportunities to advance the employment and workforce development for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
The announcement of this agreement was marked by the ceremony which featured employers, employees, and state government agencies partnering to increase opportunities and reduce barriers to employment. The event also honored Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland for her service to this community in her years as a legislator.