Take Your Legislator to Work Day
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. As part of NDEAM, National APSE and our APSE State Chapters encourage state-led Take Your Legislator to Work Day campaigns. Such campaigns raise awareness about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities and affirm the belief that employment and careers should be the expected and preferred outcomes of all publicly funded services for individuals with disabilities, i.e. Employment First. Essentially, we want to show our state legislators “Real Jobs with Real Wages for All People.”
Please note, Take Your Legislator to Work Day can be planned in any month, it does not need to coincide with NDEAM.
The goal of Take Your Legislator to Work Day is to ask employees with disabilities to invite their legislator(s) to visit their workplace to show first-hand the power of community-integrated employment for people with disabilities. The Take Your Legislator to Work Day provides a powerful opportunity to showcase the skills and talents of people with disabilities in the workplace. Bringing legislators into workplaces is far more enlightening on the power of inclusive employment than simply reading fact sheets.
The Take Your Legislator to Work Day is simple. Although visits may be different, we encourage all participants to:
- Provide a 30-45 minute tour of the workplace, highlighting duties the employee performs and allowing the legislator to see the workplace,
- Introduce the legislator to the employee’s co-workers and employer, and
- Have the employee with a disability discuss their experience working in a job in the community.
The Take Your Legislator to Work Day Toolkit provides detailed instructions to help everyone participate.
Take Your Legislator to Work Day works because policymakers spend time with their constituents, who happen to have disabilities. Legislators see firsthand the difference employment makes, satisfied employers, and communities that benefit from inclusive employment.
—Kiernan O'Donnell, Vocational Coordinator, The Fogarty Center, Johnston, RI