National Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebration Opens Doors For Individuals With Differing Abilities

Forestville, MD, October 18, 2016 - Today, EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman was among the featured speakers participating in National Disability Employment Awareness Month at The Arc of Prince George's County's 'Inclusion Works' Breakfast. Robert Malone, Executive Director of The Arc of Prince George's County, Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc of the United States, along with other top executives from companies such as Comcast, Thompson Creek, University of Maryland, the Federal Communications Commission and State Senator Joanne C. Benson were also in attendance to celebrate the important role individuals with differing abilities plays in workforce diversity. Partnering with the EDC and The Arc of Prince George's County was Comcast NBCUniversal; an employer partner that contributed a computer learning lab to The Arc's Employment Center to assist its clients in becoming more familiar and confident with computer technology.

"The EDC is proud to be a part of the good work that is going on here at The Arc of Prince George's County," said Coleman. "National Disability Employment Awareness Month is all about inclusion; leveling the playing field and not leaving anyone behind. Today is a great opportunity for us to reflect and to celebrate the 'angel network' of employer partners that have already committed to doing all they can to assist individuals with differing abilities get back to work and become productive members of our County. EDC will be joining that network very soon and I encourage other business to do the same. I am committed to putting my money where my mouth is plan to employ from the disabled community as soon as possible. Everyone counts in Prince George's County."

The Arc of Prince George's County, a membership organization with 600 members that include people with developmental disabilities, their families and friends, the professionals who work with them, and other concerned citizens. Through its partnerships with the business community, companies gain a greater understanding of how individuals with disabilities are trained, prepared and supported to go into the business world. 

"Today we are celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month to celebrate the skills and talents and commitment that people with disabilities bring to the workplace," said Malone. "The purpose of today's event is to get rid of some myths and fears that people may have about the concept of hiring people with disabilities. We also want to make sure that the business community knows that The Arc and the EDC are here to partner with them to make sure they have a strong, consistent and reliable workforce. It's a fantastic day for us at The Arc of Prince George's County."

Today's event was also a celebration of the contributions of workers with disabilities and educate the business community about the value of a diverse workforce, inclusive of their skills and talents. Thompson Creek, the University of Maryland and the Federal Communications Commission are just a few of the local employers who have hired individuals with differing abilities. Each company, represented by both its company 'champion' and its employee with differing abilities, spoke on the importance workplace inclusiveness in giving individuals with differing abilities the opportunity to succeed without judgment or fears. The employees stressed their gratification and sense of pride in being able to go to work. But today's event was not just a celebration, it was a call to action to the business community to raise the bar and provide more employment opportunities to the disabled community.

"Today, the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation continued to demonstrate its support for the hardest to serve in Prince George's County!" said Walter Simmons, Director of Workforce Service at the EDC. "Through partnerships with The Arc of Prince George's County and local employers, highlighting the abilities of our disabled community and the successes they are experiencing in workplaces, there isn't a question of 'If a person with disabilities can be successful on a job site?' The question is 'How much success is available for that person?' Everyday our staff are working, asking the 'right' questions to ensure that EVERYONE in the County has the opportunity to have success and wealth in Prince George's County."

For more information on workforce development and job placement services, contact Jeffrey Swilley (, EDC's Assistant Director of Business Services at 301-618-8400.