Angela Mackey is a wonderful person who loves her job. She especially enjoys recruiting others to Walgreens. Angela has cerebral palsy. She is hiring and managing people with disabilities all while trying to share Walgreen's successful recipe with others. Why is this important?
There are 54 million people in the United States with disabilities. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities as of October 2012 is 12.9 percent compared to 7.3 percent for the non-disabled population. For a more disturbing statistic, the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities is only an anemic 21.5 percent compared to people without disabilities is 69.5 percent.
At the same time, there seems to be new job opportunities within corporate America.
Anecdotally, each business Our Ability speaks with mentions they will be hiring more individuals in the next year.
Last month, at the Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities Conference in Los Angeles, there was a national panel discussion about employing people with disabilities.
Representatives from Walgreens including Deb Russell and Angela Mackey, representatives from Delaware Governor Jack Markell's Office and Deb Dagit of Deb Dagit Diversity, led the discussion. Governor Markell is the chair of the National Governors Association. Markell has made hiring people with disabilities as a top priority for his term with the National Governors Association. Fantastic!
Walgreens is a wonderful example to share with the governors. Walgreens understands the economic opportunities in hiring a dedicated, loyal and hard working segment of the population. Walgreens has a wonderful track record.
Angela Mackey is a great spokesperson for this economic success.
Last month, Our Ability traveled to Anderson, South Carolina to interview Angela Mackey at the Walgreens Distribution Center. We produced Angela's video profile of success to be shown prior to this panel discussion. Our Ability is proud to share success stories of people with disabilities, mentoring and job connections for people with disabilities. We are raising awareness of abilities within all people, businesses and partnerships supporting people with disabilities. We hope our story of Angela Mackey can serve dual purposes: as an inspiration for individuals to succeed as well as engaging businesses to consider the economic case for hiring people with disabilities.
Walgreens, COSD and Governor Markell of Delaware understand. Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services said one of Delaware's Governor Jack Markell's priorities as chair of the National Governors Association is to raise the consciousness of his fellow governors about increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Governor Markell opened the panel discussion with a pre-taped video address. Markell identified his interest and specific goals for the NGA in regard to employing people with disabilities.
"In July of this year, I became Chair of the National Governors Association and began a year-long initiative on a topic I am passionate about: advancing employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
"Specifically, the NGA initiative focuses on the role that both state government and business can play in advancing opportunities for these individuals to be gainfully employed in the competitive labor market.
"Over the next year, the initiative will make efforts to educate both private sector and public sector employers about accommodating people with disabilities in the workplace and the benefits of doing so. Support state governments in joining with business partners to develop blueprints to promote the hiring and retention of individuals with disabilities in integrated employment in both the public and private sectors; and Establish public-private partnerships to build out those blueprints and increase employment of individuals with disabilities."
After the video presentation by the Governor, Secretary Landgraf continued. "We do not see this as a year," she told students and employers at the conference. "We see this as an evolution."
Amen! At Our Ability, we hope the evolution begins with Walgreens, the State of Delaware and crosses the United States.
Governor Markell's Video message: