The #IWantToWork campaign joined disability advocates from across the country in Washington, D.C. at The Association of University Centers on Disabilities’ AUCD for All 2017 Gala. The AUCD is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs.
We were humbled to accept the #AUCD4ALL award alongside our partners from United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania for our innovative advocacy efforts to create competitive integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The award was presented by Senator Bob Casey, a strong champion for the disability movement.
Senator Bob Casey kicked off the awards program with a moving speech on improving employment policies for people with disabilities at the federal level. Pennsylvania is lucky to have such a passionate champion empowering people with disabilities. The #IWantToWork Campaign Manager, Dr. Josie Badger, and United Way of Southwestern PA President and CEO, Bob Nelkin, accepted the award on behalf of the campaign and United Way’s 21 and Able. Dr. Badger rocked the house with a resounding speech thanking everyone for their continued support. Josie ended her speech with one simple message: “People with disabilities don’t want pity, we want paychecks.” You can view Josie’s full remarks here.
Not only did we receive a national award, our team had the opportunity to meet with some incredible people, including prominent disability advocates, V. R. Ferose, the senior vice president and head of globalization services, SAP SE, and Senator Tom Harkin, who continues to push for change even in retirement.
Our continued success relies on our amazing followers and self-advocates who understand the need for change. Stay tuned as we continue the push for permanent Employment First legislation in Pennsylvania.
By Lewis Hall