October 2023 Newsletter

Successful NDEAM Events

Emily Shuman, Director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center in Colorado, provided three excellent presentations in Sioux Falls and Harrisburg October 16-18 to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). We partnered with the Sioux Empire Society for Human Resource Management to present, “Disability Etiquette and Service Animals”. The Sioux Falls Young Professionals Network and the Sioux Empire United Way Volunteer United hosted an Accessibility Lunch & Learn covering “Effective Communication and Principles of Digital Accessibility”. Harrisburg High School hosted a presentation on the topic “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Employment” in collaboration with the Harrisburg Disability Awareness Commission. Students and teachers from the Intro to Business classes, the Special Education Department, and Career Technical Education joined us.

Thanks to our NDEAM planning committee: Vicki Nelson, Division of Rehabilitation Services; Pat Herman, Center for Disabilities; April Schulte, South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind; Betsy Drew, South Dakota Parent Connection; Chasity Colton, Goodwill of the Great Plains; Kendra Gottsleben, Center for Disabilities; Kendra Tifft, Southeastern Behavioral Health; Dawn Ingalls, Avera; and David Woodruff, Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, for all of their work.

We are thankful for the funding we received from the South Dakota Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, South Dakota Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Statewide Independent Living Council to host these events.

A photo collage of EDR Board Members and Emily Shuman, Director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, at various NDEAM events throughout the month of October.

October - National Disability Employment Awareness Month

By Holly Wessels, EDR Board of Directors

If your work world is anything like mine, you probably know a lot of acronyms.  As a Disability Specialist, my days consist of ADAAA, FMLA, WC, DOL, EEOC, SHRM, JAN, and EAP.  (There will be a test at the end.) And occasionally a ROTFL is thrown in there!  But recently, I learned a new one, NDEAM.  I attended my first NDEAM conference last year and it was an eye opener!  So many amazing speakers, resources, and insight.  I left there feeling inspired and excited to incorporate what I learned into my work.  Here we are a year later and it’s almost NDEAM month again. 

NDEAM, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, is observed every October by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.  According to the DOL website, “NDEAM celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive policies and practices that benefit employees and employers alike.”

2023 Governor's Awards

The 2023 Governor’s Awards Ceremony will be held Monday, October 30 at 11AM (Central Time) in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Pierre. This annual event recognizes individuals, businesses and other South Dakotans for their significant contributions to improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities. A listing of the award recipients and their respective categories is listed below. Congratulations to everyone! 
Patty Kuglitsch, Sioux Falls ~ Outstanding Individual with a DisabilityGiven to an individual with a disability in recognition of outstanding achievements in promoting independent living and employment opportunities for others with disabilities.

City of Rapid City, Rapid City ~ Outstanding Public Employer: Given to a public employer (any size); government (local, county, state, federal); or educational (school district, university, technical college) for outstanding achievements in improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities. 

Ashley Halvorson, Beresford ~ Outstanding Transition Services Award: Given to an individual or organization (public or private) in recognition of extraordinary contributions to developing and providing a program to assist students with disabilities as they transition from school to adult life. Contributions spanning 5 or more years.

Sandy Hook, Pierre ~ Distinguished Service Award: Given to an individual or organization (public or private) for a history of extraordinary contributions in advancing the employment, empowerment, and inclusion of people with disabilities.

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