Celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month in Mississippi (MS UCEDD)

November 18, 2019

The University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) hosted a series of activities in conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is designed to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's national theme is "The Right Talent, Right Now." The Institute for Disability Studies' staff created a Mississippi theme and received permission from the Office of Disability Employment through the Department of Labor to create a state specific poster. The Mississippi theme, "Preparing Mississippi Leaders Now," focused primarily on youth and young adults as the primary focus.
IDS Employment Awareness Month activities included a:

  • National Disability Mentoring Day Job Shadowing Event on Oct. 16 in Hattiesburg - Nineteen students with disabilities participated in job shadowing experiences at the University Post Office, the University Payne Center/Gym, Java Werks Coffee and Tea, Batteries Plus Bulbs and Edwards Street Fellowship Thrift Store.
  • "Uniquely You" Self-Advocacy Event on Oct. 18 in Long Beach - Twenty-one students with disabilities interacted with self-advocates who are impacting their local communities and participated in training and recreational activities promoting advocacy skills.
  • Take Your Legislator to Work Day on Oct. 21 in Hattiesburg - Mississippi Legislators Senator Joey Fillingane and Representative Missy McGee toured and then assisted in the Southern Miss workplace of two young adults with disabilities -- Danielle who works in the IDS front office and Brandon who works in the Fresh Food Company.
  • Promotion of the importance of this month during weekly training sessions in local high schools to 100+ students with disabilities - Posters and other employment information were disseminated during weekly Bridge to Independence employment training.
  • Facebook Social Media Campaign that provided daily employment-focused Facebook posts throughout the month (https://www.facebook.com/msusmids/) - Facebooks Posts included new Chit Chat Thursday with Taylor educational videos, staff tips, program and activity spotlights, activity spotlights, and videos from employment interns.

All of this year's disability employment awareness events were a collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, funder of the Transition of Teens to Adult Life (ToTAL) Program, which is a work-based training and internship program for teens and young adults with disabilities ages 14 to 21.

"The Institute for Disability Studies was proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Dr. Jerry R. Alliston, Associate Director. "We succeeded in spreading the message of the importance of preparing youth and young adults with disabilities to be leaders for employment and more in Mississippi."

For more information, contact Dr. Jerry R. Alliston at 601.266.5979 or [email protected]. Visit the website at www.usm.edu/ids.