BANGOR – Goodwill has helped people with disabilities find employment, become independent, and support themselves and their families. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, it has helped increase access to goods and services, such as employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and prohibit employment discrimination. Although individuals with disabilities have benefited from this law, Goodwill knows that those individuals still face challenges to finding jobs and becoming independent. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people with disabilities have a more than 14-percent unemployment rate, compared to 9.4 percent of people without disabilities .
According to the ADA National Network, there are more than 54 million people or nearly one in six Americans who have some form of physical or mental impairment that substantially limits their daily activities, including working, walking, seeing, hearing or caring for themselves.
â€śDespite these circumstances, people with disabilities have unique skills and talents that add to the diversity and vitality of a workplace,â€ť said Michael Coughlin, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. â€śMany people with disabilities need little to no accommodation to do their jobs, and advances in technology are helping to increase productivity for all kinds of workers, including those with disabilities.â€ť
Goodwill agencies offer a variety of services to help people with disabilities be independent and fully participate in their communities.
In 2008, Goodwill Industries of Orange County (Santa Ana, CA) opened the Goodwill Fitness Center, a 12,000-square-foot facility designed for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The gym has fully accessible fitness equipment, as well as classes and trained staff to help people with disabilities experience the positive health benefits of exercise.
The Goodwill Industries of Northern New England (Portland, ME) runs a NeuroRehabilitation program to treat people with brain injuries and neurological disabilities. People with these injuries and disabilities face tough challenges including loss of memory, difficulties with movement and social interaction, and problems with organizational skills. Goodwillâ€™s services can help people regain those skills.
Since 2000, thousands of people have benefited from the Chattanooga Goodwill Industries (Chattanooga, TN) Health Equipment Link Program (HELPs), which collects, cleans and refurbishes donated medical equipment before giving it to someone in need in the community. The walkers, crutches, bath benches, wheelchairs and other pieces of durable medical equipment are free of charge to people who are unable to purchase the equipment they need to live independent lives.
â€śGoodwill commemorates the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA by continuing to help our friends and neighbors with disabilities build their careers and improve their lives,â€ť said Coughlin. â€śWe must look past a personâ€™s disability and remember that each person is an individual capable of making a positive contribution to his or her community.â€ť
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England has a 77-year history of providing innovative services that eliminate barriers to opportunity and help people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work. Last year, we served 58,000 individuals through job training and placement, career counseling, family strengthening services, youth employment opportunities, brain injury programs, and other community support services for people with disabilities. Our programs are funded by revenue from our 26 retail stores, grants, fees, and financial gifts. Please visit www.goodwillnne.org for more information.
Contact Name: Michelle Smith
Telephone Number: (207)774-6323