October 8, 2015

Amina Donna Kruck

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Ability360 celebrates contributions of Arizona workers with disabilities

Phoenix, Ariz. (October 8, 2015) – Ability360 is proud to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an annual awareness campaign to celebrate the vital contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” Many employers are participating is disability related Job Fairs across the state through October and year around.

Twice as many Arizonans with disabilities live in poverty than their non-disabled peers (29.8% vs. 16.6%). Arizonans with disabilities are employed at less than half the rate of their non-disabled peers (2013, 33.6% vs. 71.3%). (Annual Disability Statistics Compendium)   Ability360 is dedicated to helping Arizonans with disabilities move out of poverty through employment by providing Ticket to Work employment assistance and support, and work incentive planning and assistance.

Employment of Non-Institutionalized Working-Age People (Ages 21 to 64) by Disability Status in Arizona in 2012

Source Cornell University

Ability360 in partnership with other Arizona agencies and organizations that support the hiring of individuals with disabilities will distribute Job Fair information and an Employment First Strategic Plan that promotes community-based, integrated employment as the primary day activity for working age youth and adults with disabilities. Employment First supports the goal that persons with disabilities will have access to integrated work settings most appropriate for them. Integrated employment is where individuals with disabilities interact with other employees without disabilities to the same extent as anyone working in that setting. New regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Department of Justice and the Department of Labor are requiring states to prioritize integrated services for everyone with a disability. As of July 2015, 22% of people in the Division of Developmental Disabilities system receiving day services were receiving integrated employment services. While this is somewhat higher than the national average, Arizona needs to continue to support and promote the employment of its citizens with disabilities. “People who work have a higher quality of life, greater community participation, and are more likely to make their own choices in life.” said Phil Pangrazio, Ability360 President & CEO.

For more information about National Disability Employment Awareness Month, contact Amina Donna Kruck at 602-443-0722 or email .

About National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month goes back to 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.” Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month by visiting

Ability360 – Empowering People with Disabilities for Over 30 Years 1981 – Present     WWW.ABILITY360.ORG

ABILITY360 advocates personal responsibility – by, and for, people with disabilities – as a means to independence.  To help consumers achieve self-sufficiency, ABILITY360 offers comprehensive programs including: advocacy, employment assistance and support, and work incentive planning and assistance for Social Security beneficiaries, home care services, home modifications, information & referral, outreach to people in rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, peer support, socialization through recreation, sports and fitness center and youth transition services.

ABILITY360 is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation.  Through its comprehensive programs, ABILITY360 touches the lives of individuals with disabilities and addresses the disability concerns of their family members, co-workers and employers.

ABILITY360 began in 1977 as the Arizona Congress for Action (ACA), a group of people with diverse physical disabilities who launched a grassroots effort to educate the community about disability-related issues in Central Arizona.  In 1978, Congress enacted Independent Living Center legislation as part of the amended Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  In 1981, ABILITY360 received funding and began services as Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL). In 2015 ABIL rebranded to ABILITY360.