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Americans With Disabilities Act Celebrates the Big 2-0

July 26, 2010

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law on this date in 1990 to provide greater opportunities for disabled Americans. For decades, our organization, along with Goodwill agencies across the country, has worked to help people with disabilities find jobs, become independent, and support themselves and their families.

Although many people have benefited from this law, we know there are still challenges to employment facing disabled Americans. According to the United States Department of Labor, people with disabilities have an unemployment rate of more than 14 percent, compared to a 9.4 percent rate for people without disabilities.

When you consider that according to the ADA National Network, nearly one in six Americans have some form of physical or mental impairment that substantially limits their daily activities, it’s apparent that the work we do, helping people from all backgrounds and situations find (and keep) jobs, is as important as ever.

Goodwill offers a variety of programs that aim to transition people with disabilities into the workforce; last year, our disability programs served nearly 200 people. Take Nick Talent, who worked one-on-one with a Goodwill job coach to find a paid janitorial training opportunity at our Pineville store. Nick is autistic, and loves the independence of working–and earning a paycheck.

“Nick is excited to spend his paychecks,” says Nick’s mother, Tarye. “Goodwill’s job coach built his self esteem and showed him that he can be successful in the workplace. This is the first real job where I don’t have to look over his shoulder. I am really confident Nick can get a job anywhere.”

Want to help? Support our mission–changing lives through the power of work–by donating and shopping in our stores.

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