North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed an Executive Order that he says will increase job opportunities for residents with disabilities.
Gov. Cooper signed Executive Order No. 92, titled “Employment First for North Carolinians with Disabilities,” Thursday at the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville.
The order directs the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources to collaborate with the Department of Health and Human Services to enhance recruitment and outreach efforts to potential workers with disabilities and to identify and attract qualified individuals with disabilities for state employment.
While signing the order, Gov. Cooper said, “North Carolina can be its best when all people have the opportunity to achieve their potential and live lives of purpose, including North Carolinians with disabilities. With this order, I’m establishing meaningful work as the first and preferred choice for all North Carolinians, regardless of disability, and directing state government to lead the way on including more people with disabilities in the workplace.”
State officials say more than 1.3 million North Carolinians have a disability, making up approximately 13 percent of the state’s population. Of those, more than 720,000 are of working age, but only 35 percent are employed, compared to 76 percent of North Carolinians without disabilities.
The Governor’s Office says increasing employment for people with disabilities increases independence and results in statewide cost savings for behavioral health services, intellectual/developmental disability services, and acute health care. Officials say businesses who are willing to hire disabled workers will experience lower employee turnover, increased productivity, and access to a broader pool of skilled workers.
The Director of the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources, Barbara Gibson, said, “This creates an opportunity to think about diversity in our state workforce in a new light and to partner with agencies that can help us connect with job seekers who have disabilities. We will build upon existing resources to further improve the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and reduce their high unemployment rate while strengthening our overall workforce.”