Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam announced an initiative that seeks to decrease unemployment amongst the community of individuals with disabilities, by 20% by 2020. According to Northam, his campaign for governor is “about expanding economic opportunity for all Virginians, no matter who they are, and no matter where they are from. This especially includes opportunities for Virginians with disabilities.”
-Implement a “Model the Way” initiative to increase employment of people with disabilities in state and local government to ensure that the commonwealth is setting the highest example of what it means to be an equal opportunity employer.
-Implement a “Jobs First” campaign: The overarching goal of the Jobs First campaign is to build off of the work-in-progress within the existing state agency, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) by increasing access to integrated community-based employment and furthering opportunities for competitive jobs in the market. The Jobs First campaign will promote existing programs that offer tax credits for employers who employ a certain percentage of employees with a documented disability. This includes:
-Building a one-stop online resource tool, as other states have done.
-Establishing a Governor’s Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities that will be tasked with increasing the number of qualified state and local vendors who employ a certain –
percentage of individuals with disabilities.
-Increasing access to long-term supportive employment coaches in an integrated setting.