Opportunity: The Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a favorable combination of circumstances, time, and place” or “a chance for advancement.” When it comes to the disability community, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) and our partners are working hard to support and advocate for employment opportunities and better wages for you. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This issue of Making a Difference Magazine will focus on advancing disability employment to ensure your voices are heard in the workplace and that you are recognized in the Georgia workforce. In this issue, you will also see a recap of the 2022 GCDD candidate forum on disability issues as well as a recap of the latest iteration of The GCDD Storytelling Project that was filmed in Macon, Georgia.
As you know, there is an election this November. GCDD and our partners want you to be aware of your voting rights and voting access so that you can be sure to cast your vote. You can find out who your elected officials are at OpenStates. Learn about innovation in accommodations for employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the Expert Update article featuring Jennifer White, owner of Able Opportunities, Inc.
We want to ensure that we are providing you with the best information and resources, including opportunities for employment. As we focus on advancing disability employment in this issue, enjoy learning about our partner, Advancing Employment, in our GCDD Impact article and what they have been doing in support of employment for the disability community. Also featured in this issue is an article about Lele Griner, a baker and graduate of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Destination Dawgs. Additionally, this issue’s Include College article will feature Georgia’s newest Inclusive Post Secondary Education (IPSE): THRIVE at Georgia College and State University. Also be sure to read about the latest COVID Update, including vaccines available for children ages six months and older.
I was awarded the 2022 National Disability Inclusion Leadership Award this month by the National Disability Inclusion Summit, which recognizes people and organizations that are leading the way in disability advocacy and inclusion efforts within the workplace and community, as well as highlights DEI best practices surrounding inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Going into my second year as the Council Chair, I am excited to see the many great strides GCDD has made, but there is still much more work to be done. You can do your part by getting involved. Write your legislators to give them the opportunity to learn about the issues that impact people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers. Tell them about concerns and challenges that you have, like wanting to get the waiver list reduced or to increase pay for direct support workers, and that you want to get at least minimum wage. Be sure to look at our Calendar of Events to see what activities and events we have going on over the next few months.
We hope you enjoy reading Making a Difference Magazine and hope that these articles and updates on what is happening in Georgia will provide you with new and useful information. We want to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts and comments about the magazine by writing to Tianna Faulkner at email@example.com.
GCDD Council Chairman