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Pennsylvania Hosts Third-Annual Disability Employment Summit with Job Fair and Remarks by Former Governor Tom Ridge

Authored By: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

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Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth and Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway today kicked off the third-annual Pennsylvania Disability Employment Summit (PADES), which will feature keynote remarks by former Governor Tom Ridge and include a new job fair where employers can meet and interview Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

The summit brings together business leaders, advocates, providers and persons with disabilities to discuss the importance of helping individuals with disabilities gain employment and achieve independence.

“Governor Corbett and this administration know that individuals with disabilities deserve the chance to work, increasing their income, independence and quality of life,” Mackereth said. “The PADES conference is a chance for all stakeholders to learn from each other.”

“One of our main areas of focus at Labor & Industry is helping all people, including those with disabilities, to gain meaningful employment,” Secretary Hearthway said. “Our single-point-of-contact model is helping employers establish a seamless process to simplify the task of hiring one of our most valuable workforce resources: individuals with disabilities.”

The three-day event will feature a keynote address by former Governor Tom Ridge, chair of the National Organization on Disability, one of the oldest cross-disability organizations in the country, focusing on employment opportunities for the 79-percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. The event also features a Secretaries’ Roundtable with cabinet officials discussing how agencies help provide services that assist individuals with disabilities. Agencies represented will include the Pennsylvania departments of Public Welfare, Labor & Industry, Education, Transportation, Aging and Community and Economic Development.

Other summit highlights will include information on tax incentives and free training available to employers; assistive technology; and updates on transportation for Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

“I am particularly pleased to see the addition of the job fair at this year’s PADES event,” Hearthway said. “Employers will learn firsthand how individuals with disabilities are a tremendous addition to their workforce and those seeking employment will have a direct connection to employers that are hiring.”

At the job fair businesses can recruit and interview qualified candidates on the spot.

The summit, sponsored by the Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities, unites disability advocates, business leaders, government agencies and service providers to discuss the importance of employment and the value people with disabilities add to private-sector companies’ workforce.

In addition to the summit, Governor Corbett’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities hosts business roundtable discussions throughout the year to address the need to better diversify the workforce in Pennsylvania.

The summit will run Sept. 8-10 at the Radisson Harrisburg Hotel in Camp Hill and is free of charge.

Visit www.padesummit.org for more information.