incentives for persons with disabilities
August 24, 2004
Dr. W. Roy Grizzard, Jr. was in Juneau for meetings with Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Greg O'Claray, Deputy Commissioner Ed Fisher of Ketchikan and Director Gale Sinnott, head of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Commission O'Claray told Grizzard, "One of Governor Frank Murkowski's first priorities for my department was a fresh approach that supports and welcomes the contributions of Alaskans with disabilities.
"We understand how important dignity and independence are to persons with disabilities."
O'Claray added, "In my other life I'm a commercial fisherman. I know several proud Alaskans in the fishing fleet who may be 'technically disabled,' but their hard work and productivity more than matches the rest of us."
The doctor is a former state vocational rehabilitation official in Virginia. He was appointed by President George W. Bush as the assistant secretary for disability employment policy responsible for increasing employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities.
Grizzard said one in five Americans has a disability, and "helping persons with disabilities can feel warm and fuzzy. That is certainly okay, but helping the disabled be truly productive supports the individual and helps meet the bottom line as well."
The assistant secretary said the disabled "represent $1 trillion in buying power. Some $200 billion of that is discretionary spending. Like all consumers, persons with disabilities know to spend where they are welcome."
O'Claray said, "The Murkowski administration is focused on match programs that encourage financial incentives from private companies complemented by government policies that continue to lower barriers to employment for persons with disabilities."
Director Sinnott briefed Dr.
Grizzard on activities and goals of the Governor's Committee
on Employment and Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities.
She invited the assistant secretary to return to Alaska for the
fall meeting of the committee, scheduled October 6-8 in Fairbanks.
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