The Kessler Foundation, headquartered in West Orange, NJ, recently hosted Kathleen Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) during presentations by the employment initiatives supported by the Foundation. A recent Kessler Foundation press release indicates that the initiatives are designed to strategize future employment policies for individuals with disabilities. Martinez acknowledges the Foundation’s efforts, saying, "Its creativity, innovation, and team-building serve as a catalyst for creating sustainable employment options for the disability community."

Elaine Katz, vice president of grants and special initiatives at the Kessler Foundation, voices the organization’s goal in the press release, ìWe must make sure that people with disabilities, who present the largest minority group in the nation with 54 million, are considered an integral part of workplace diversity", Katz says.

According to the press release, by executive order by President Obama, federal agencies are also required to increase the hiring of individuals with disabilities. To this end, ODEP recently launched the "Add Us Inî initiative, which is designed to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities seeking employment in the small business market.

Martinez emphasizes the need to, in regard to hiring individuals with disabilities, "practice what we preach by demonstrating that we can successful in hiring people with disabilities in all sectors and have an inclusive workforce whenever possible…We need to raise our expectations and understand that their abilities outweigh limitations."

Source: Kessler Foundation