WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Seth Harris, Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, yesterday told the CEO Council of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) that the federal sequestration cuts looming this week would deal a devastating blow to people with disabilities. In particular, Acting Secretary Harris noted that the cuts would lead to 75,000 fewer people being served by the federal Vocational Rehabilitation program, which helps people with disabilities find work and live more independently.
"These programs are absolutely vital to the empowerment of people with disabilities, and their full inclusion supports our nation's economic security," said Acting Secretary Harris. "The cuts that kick in on Friday are going to mean fewer people with disabilities are going to be able to get a job. Their lives will be diminished and the entire economy will suffer."
Sequestration is a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
Acting Secretary Harris also noted that cuts to special education funding would eliminate 7,200 teachers, aides and other staff involved in the IDEA process, which ensures students with disabilities have equal access to public education.
Acting Secretary Harris served as the keynote speaker at a luncheon hosted by NOD. Harris addressed members of NOD's Board of Directors, including its Chairman, Governor Tom Ridge, and members of the organization's CEO Council, a group of business leaders committed to building a diversified workforce that includes people with disabilities. Notable members of the CEO Council include Exelon Corporation, UPS, Lowe's, Sodexo, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, General Electric, Capital One, Clorox, Reddwerks and The Hershey Company, among others.
The luncheon presented the opportunity for America's corporate leaders to meet in a constructive and amicable fashion to discuss the issue of employment for people with disabilities and its implications for the country's business and economy.
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation of America's 56 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life. The organization's current focus is on increasing employment opportunities for the 79 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. Current employment programs benefit individuals with disabilities looking for employment, high school students with disabilities transitioning into the workforce, seriously wounded, ill and injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and employers seeking to become more diverse by expanding existing diversity initiatives to include people with disabilities. For more information about NOD, its CEO Council, and employment programs, visit www.NOD.org.
SOURCE National Organization on Disability