Disabled workers produce
Published 1:07 am Thursday, October 27, 2011
By PAM DAW
Beaufort County Developmental Center
Part two of two parts.
As children, most individuals hold one basic desire that is pretty much the same for all of us. We all want to grow up and join the work force one day.
For an individual facing an intellectual, developmental and/or physical disability, the desire to work can be met with major obstacles. Unfortunately, current economic and employment conditions compound employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
What is a disability? The word “disabilities” is a catchall term that covers impairments to various subsystems of the body. Examples of disabilities include physical, intellectual, mental, emotional, developmental and sensory.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that one in five Americans — or 20 percent of the U.S. population — is affected by some type of disability. About 13 percent of U.S. children younger than 18 years of age have a developmental disability such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, an autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or a vision problem. People with these serious challenges usually require lifelong services and supports.
According to Easter Seals, the unemployment rate among adults with disabilities is nearly 12 times the national average. National Industries for the Severely Handicapped reported in 2010 that approximately 70 percent of significantly disabled individuals were unemployed. NISH is a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities by securing federal contracts through the AbilityOne Program for its network of community-based, nonprofit agencies. More than 600 participating nonprofit organizations employ these individuals and provide quality goods and services to the federal government at a fair price.
One of those participating nonprofit organizations is located in Beaufort County. Beaufort County Developmental Center participates in the AbilityOne program. In 2001, with assistance from Stanadyne Corp., BCDC secured its first contract, which is assembling tire-inflator gauges — devices used to monitor and maintain tire pressure on military aircraft and heavy-cargo vehicles. Since the contract began, more than 29,736 tire gauges have been assembled by BCDC’s production department.
BCDC also performs a number of other packaging and assembly services for area businesses. Those services include partial or complete assembly of parts or components, collating and bulk mailing documents, packaging, industrial sewing and inspect/sort/salvage operations. BCDC has a history of providing the highest-quality services and programs for people with developmental disabilities. BCDC’s programs are nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. In addition, the production department is ISO-9008 certified.
For additional information about BCDC’s programs and services, call Elizabeth Leggett at 252-946-0151.