National Organization on Disability Turns 30: Recommits to Innovate Disability Employment Programs

New York, NY, October 17, 2012-On its 30thanniversary, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) reaffirmed its commitment to solving one of the last remaining major gaps in the quality of life between Americans living with and without disabilities: employment.

NOD holds the distinction of being one of a few organizations in America committed to representing people with all types of disabilities, and is unique in its promotion of full participation of America’s 56 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life.

“Through our surveys executed in partnership with Harris Interactive, and most recently with Kessler Foundation, we have visibility to a long-term study of what’s happening in the lives of people with disabilities,” said NOD President Carol Glazer, who noted that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

“And the gap that has been the most intractable, and frankly the one that has the most considerable effect on a good quality of life, is employment. We are developing innovative employment programs that are measurable and results-driven. NOD is committed to reversing these pervasive trends. It is our #1 priority.”

In anew video released todayin honor of the organization’s 30thanniversary, actor, disability rights advocate and NOD board member Robert David Hall – best known for his role on the television showCSI: Crime Scene Investigation- says the fact that eight out of ten people with disabilities are unemployed is a sobering truth.

“Thirty years after its founding, NOD is more relevant than ever. Our innovative programs are addressing the greatest roadblock facing people with disabilities – their inability to find a job.”

NOD created the ‘Bridges to Business‘ program to provide competitive job opportunities for people with disabilities by forging more effective links between employers and organizations that represent jobseekers with disabilities.

NOD’s other signature employment program, ‘Wounded Warrior Careers,’ is helping hundreds of severely injured veterans to move forward on career paths, and documenting the approaches that work for this population.

“People with disabilities were not moving the needle in terms of employment gains,” said Rodger DeRose, President & CEO of Kessler Foundation, a leading supporter of NOD and the Bridges to Business program. “Working with NOD on programs like Bridges, which has a direct end benefit to employment, is where we can make positive changes for the future of people with disabilities.”

In addition to Kessler Foundation, Bridges to Business receives support from the business community, most notably lead investor Sam’s Club, which has contributed $700,000 to the Bridges program’s work to identify and close the gaps limiting the employment of Americans with disabilities.

“When Alan Reich started NOD thirty years ago, he knew it would take a team of creative thinkers and financial supporters to make the kinds of changes our society must tackle,” said Tom Ridge, chairman of NOD’s Board of Directors.

“So today we thank our funders such as Kessler Foundation and Sam’s Club, and all of the members of our CEO Council, without whom Alan’s legacy would never have reached its 30thanniversary.”

About Us

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation of America’s 54 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life. Today, NOD focuses on increasing employment opportunities for the 79 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed.

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