National Disability Employment Awareness Month: advocates for people with disabilities, and their inclusion in the workforce

Each October, Goodwill Central Coast is proud to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The annual observance provides a chance for GCC to recommit ourselves to dismantling barriers to access and inclusion in the workplace.

 As Pres. Joe Biden announced in his proclamation speech, “people with disabilities are still too often marginalized and denied access to the American dream.”

 NDEAM dates back to 1945, when Congress designated the first week in October to recognize people with disabilities and their potential. It celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices that benefit employers and employees.

 To mark two significant events in 2023 for people with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Office of Disability Employment Policy has selected themes to promote NDEAM and honor the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

 This year’s theme is “Advancing Access and Equity,” in support of inclusive policies and practices that benefit employees and employers alike.

 GCC’s Mission Services assist anyone looking for a new job or a better career. People with disabilities are a dependable and valuable workforce who have higher rates of employee retention, which reduces hiring and training costs.

 Our goal is to ensure that everyone realizes their worth and gains the skills and confidence to land a job that could turn their life around. Our Mission Services include the following:


  • Career Center Services: We assist job seekers in obtaining the education and training needed to reach their employment goals. Here we offer many complimentary services, including; resume services, job search assistance, job placement, mock interviews, assistance with online applications and free computer usage. GCC employs a Career Center Coordinator available at locations in Salinas, Capitola and Watsonville.
  • Opportunity Platform: We lead a journey toward financial security to help others achieve their personal goals. Our team of Resource Specialists provide one-on-one financial coaching to help people achieve their personal goals. These specialists help participants pursue their long-term financial dreams, gain job security, increase income, and become debt free in a structured and compassionate way.
  • Digital Literacy: We provide a specialized curriculum to assist participants with navigating an increasingly technological world. Available in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, the program offers participants free classes to help educate them on various commonplace programs and applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Other Mission Services: GCC offers a variety of programs that can support job training goals, including obtaining a variety of certificates and/or obtaining a secondary education degree. In all three counties, GCC provides Department of Rehabilitation Employment Services designed to assist those seeking employment to learn about employment opportunities within the community and to make an informed decision. Services are individualized to assist a person in choosing employment outcomes and or career development opportunities based on the person’s preferences, strengths, abilities and needs. In SLO County, GCC’s Short-Term Supports program provides clients in subsidized employment direct on-the-job support to help them learn the necessary skills, standards, and processes required by their employer. GCC also provides DOR Situational Assessments to help provide information to a DOR consumer about his or her strengths and barriers to employment, and provide information to choose an employment goal based on preferences, strengths, abilities, and needs.


 To deliver its services, GCC relies on partnerships with federal and state workforce development agencies, as well as strong relationships with the local businesses that provide employment opportunities. Local community members also play an important role by donating ready-to-sell items for GCC stores and by choosing to shop at one of its 16 stores.

 What’s more, GCC employs more than 600 people throughout three counties, including employment training professionals, sales personnel, donation center attendants, warehouse and distribution workers, and administrators.

 Believing that everyone deserves the chance to work, Goodwill Central Coast is an equal opportunity employer and remains a proud advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 Collaborating with people with disabilities, local employers, and other service providers, we can create an array of community-based employment opportunities. Help us in our mission by donating unused or unwanted items to your local GCC store or donation center, and shopping in one of our 16 stores throughout three counties.

 You can see the difference in your community every day!

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