SANDS POINT, N.Y., June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In 1984, President Reagan issued a proclamation designating the last week of June as "Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week." In 2016, this special week is celebrated from June 26th to July 2nd.
"Every year since President Reagan's proclamation, the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults (HKNC) has commemorated the week with a national advocacy campaign in recognition of the achievements and capabilities of people who are deaf-blind," explains Helen Keller Services President & CEO Joseph F. Bruno. "This year the focus is on employment. We are celebrating businesses that have hired deaf-blind individuals and educating others on the benefits of hiring from this very talented community."
While research shows that a workplace inclusive of people with disabilities is good for business, HKNC Executive Director Sue Ruzenski believes more needs to be done to reach employers on how to effectively recruit, retain and advance deaf-blind individuals. "The first step is to make businesses aware of others who have successfully hired deaf-blind workers and how it has turned out to be a great business decision for everyone involved," she observes. "That's what this year's campaign is all about."
Grey Healthcare Group, New York City has generously created — pro bono — Deaf- Blind Awareness Week posters for more than 20 years. This year's theme reinforces HKNC's campaign to target businesses across the United States with a simple yet powerful message: People who are deaf-blind have marketable skills and strategies to compete and succeed in the workplace.
"At HKNC," notes Ruzenski, "we provide employment training experiences to deaf-blind individuals and work closely with employers, providing education and ongoing support to ensure a successful outcome. Time and again business owners recognize the value of bringing onboard a qualified deaf-blind employee who is a great addition to their workforce."
Thanks to HKNC and its nearly 50-year history of advocating for deaf-blind individuals, Bruno believes people with a combined loss of vision and hearing are maximizing their opportunities for a productive life in the community of their choice. He concludes, "This year's Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week reminds us that a productive life often includes a right many take for granted — the opportunity for gainful employment."
For more information on Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, including an educational tool kit featuring downloadable versions of this year's posters, please visit www.helenkeller.org/hknc/dbaw.
Headquartered in Sands Point, New York, HKNC provides comprehensive vocational and independent living training to youths and adults who are deaf-blind. It offers support and learning opportunities to professionals and family members, and maintains a National Registry of Persons who are Deaf-Blind. The Center partners with other agencies across the United States to build their capacity to work with individuals who are deaf-blind.
HKNC is a division of Helen Keller Services. For more information, go to www.helenkeller.org/hknc.
SOURCE Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults (HKNC)