North Carolina is among 12 states selected by the U.S. Department of Labor to participate in an initiative to increase employment of people with disabilities.
Technical assistance provided under the Visionary Opportunities to Increase Competitive Employment initiative will further the goals of Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 92, Employment First for North Carolinians with Disabilities. The order, signed on March 28, 2019, directs state government to lead the way in recruiting and creating an inclusive job climate for people with disabilities, including increasing opportunities for fair wages, employment and careers. 
“Expanding opportunities for North Carolinians with disabilities to find good-paying jobs has obvious benefits in terms of financial stability and independence for workers and their families; however, the benefits for employers and the overall economy should not be overlooked,” said Chris Egan, Senior Director for Employment Services for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “As one of the largest employers in North Carolina, state government is wise to recruit from an untapped talent pool of qualified candidates with disabilities as part of our efforts to promote a diverse workforce.”
Under the VOICE initiative, North Carolina will receive intensive policy consulting, technical support and mentoring to increase competitive integrated employment — meaning workers with disabilities working in typical workplaces, alongside co-workers without disabilities, where people with and without disabilities are paid the same. Competitive integrated employment helps people with disabilities access and participate in the broader community, develop meaningful relationships with peers without disabilities, build new skills and increase self-sufficiency.
VOICE subject matter experts will provide 100 hours of technical assistance to the state’s Employment First implementation team, which includes representatives from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.
In selecting North Carolina, the VOICE initiative recognized the state’s collaborative leadership across multiple state agencies responsible for mental health, developmental disabilities, vocational rehabilitation, workforce, education and Medicaid services and supports. 
For more information on employment services for people with disabilities, click HERE.



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