One of my top priorities as Mayor is to ensure that all citizens of Huntsville who want a job have the opportunity to get a job. This includes everyone, from high school and college students looking to enter the workforce, to those currently employed looking to move up into a new job.
We have achieved tremendous success in the job market. Since our administration got to work in 2008, both new and expanding employers have announced more than 25,000 jobs. That’s 25,000 new opportunities for a better life.
Unemployment is at record low levels, something we have not seen in nearly a decade. More people are working, but we need to make sure that none of our citizens are forgotten. While Alabama’s unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, the unemployment rate for those with a disability is nearly three times that figure. With that stark statistic, we were quick to partner with the Alabama Department of Labor to host a job fair to target employment options for people with disabilities.
More than 90 companies with 2,000 jobs opportunities participated in the City’s first disabled-focused job fair as part of National Disability Employment Month. Job seekers were able to apply for positions and interview as well as learn about available resources. It was a highly successful event and a catalyst for year-round hiring of disabled workers.
I encourage all of our local employers to look for ways to employ the disabled. Community non-profits can assist your company in determining meaningful work opportunities within your business and to help to create a work environment where everyone can thrive. Organizations like the Arc of Madison County, Phoenix Industries, and Ability One have many success stories about the benefits of hiring the disabled.
In my own experience, I can attest that disabled employees are just as capable as traditional workers. They are also hard working, reliable, and dedicated. All employees want to feel a sense of value, and jobs are a great way to do that.