Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Recognizes Massachusetts Disability Employment Awareness Month

The Administration recognizes various initiatives and the launch of NextGen Careers, a new program to help young adults ages 18-30 with disabilities to explore the world of work.
For immediate release:
10/07/2022
  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Recognizes Massachusetts Disability Employment Awareness Month

Colleen G. Casey, Director of Communication

MRC Commissioner stands next to four other leaders in the Commonwealth as they pose with the proclamation from the Governor

BostonBOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration is recognizing Massachusetts Disability Employment Awareness Month in October as part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to improving and expanding inclusive access to economic opportunity across the Commonwealth. This year's theme, “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation,” highlights the important role that individuals who experience life with a disability play in a diverse and inclusive workforce. Initiatives during the month include a “Count Me In” campaign encouraging state employees to self-identify, and the launch of NextGen Careers – a new program to help young adults ages 18-30 with disabilities to explore the world of work.

“Having a job provides individuals the opportunity to grow, succeed and gain autonomy, which are experiences that every individual in Massachusetts should have, regardless of ability,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “The Baker-Polito Administration supports a workforce in the Commonwealth that reflects a diversity of experiences, where everyone can achieve their true potential and contribute fully to their communities.”

The NextGen program will teach jobseekers to advocate for themselves, gain self-confidence, and become self-sufficient on their career path. Individuals enrolled in the program will be paired with a team of mentors, counselors, benefit advisors, and employment specialists to help navigate their career path. This innovative program was made possible by a $17 million Innovation Grant the Commonwealth received from the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

“NextGen Careers will focus on the whole person, providing wraparound services for job-seekers with disabilities who are eager to find a meaningful career,” said MRC Commissioner Toni Wolf. “We’re thrilled to launch this program and modernize this approach to empowering youth on their job journey.”

This new program builds on the Administration’s work to support an inclusive economy, including:

  • Establishing Empowering to Employ, a program that connects individuals with disabilities who receive DTA benefits with vocational supports and employment services provided by MRC’s vocational rehabilitation specialists, in order to obtain competitive employment in a field that best matches their skills and interests. 651 Commonwealth residents have participated in the program to-date.
  • Launching the Massachusetts Disability Employment Tax Credit (DETC), a tax incentive program for employers aimed at increasing employment opportunities for individuals with a disability in the Commonwealth.
  • Hosting the MCB-led virtual Reverse Job Fairs for individuals with visual impairment, bringing together more than 30 Massachusetts employers with job-ready candidates.

“At DTA, we are committed to full inclusion of clients of all abilities. DTA continues to prioritize expanding access to education, employment and training opportunities and we will work with residents to pick the best program to meet their goals,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Acting Commissioner Mary Sheehan. “This Massachusetts Disability Employment Awareness Month we celebrate the importance of a truly inclusive workforce. The agency is committed to continuing to work with state and local partners to improve the opportunities available for our clients and staff with disabilities so they can meet their own goals on their own pathway to economic mobility.”

“At the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, we constantly strive for successful employment outcomes for the people we serve who are blind and visually impaired,” said MCB Commissioner David D’Arcangelo. “Employment offers many individuals financial independence and the opportunity to contribute to society in meaningful ways.”

“Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is fully committed to working with stakeholders to create a fully accessible Commonwealth that harnesses our diversity, fosters inclusion, and engenders equitable communication access at workplaces,” said MCDHH Commissioner Opeoluwa Sotonwa. “The benefits of hiring deaf and hard-of-hearing employees have been well-documented; they are focused, productive, adaptable, patient, flexible, and creative.”

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Recognizes Massachusetts Disability Employment Awareness Month

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission 

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) provides services that break down barriers and empower people with disabilities to live life in their own terms. Our programs focus on training and employment, community living, and disability determination for federal benefit programs. We are change agents and community builders. And we put the people we serve at the heart of everything we do.

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