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Maryland Department of Disabilities
Newsletter-Extended Employment Edition                                    October, 2017
Lieutenant Governor addresses crowd
Disability Employment Awareness Month:
A Time for Action

Governor Larry Hogan signed Executive Order 01.01.2017.23 last week declaring every October  Disability Employment Awareness Month in Maryland. The month will be used to highlight the immense contributions made by workers with disabilities and the increased economic strength gained through an inclusive workforce.

To highlight this newly designated month, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford presented citations to several employers who have a history of hiring an inclusive workforce. Chouquette Chocolates & Confections, Acadia Windows & Doors LLC, and Biggs & Featherbelle were honored as examples of small businesses in Maryland who practice inclusive hiring.  Mid-Atlantic Interpreting Group is a deaf owned company which was also recognized as an example of the diversity of Maryland's business community and the economic strength gained when those with disabilities are both employees and employers.

"Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity to create greater recognition of the skills people with disabilities bring to employers and highlight efforts to expand employment opportunities for all Marylanders," said Lt. Governor Rutherford. "Businesses and employers who value an inclusive workforce benefit from this practice and, in turn, create a more resilient and innovative economic climate in Maryland."

Group stands with citation
Governor Hogan's order takes Disability Employment Awareness Month a step further than the proclamations issued in the past.  The executive order not only designates October Disability Employment Awareness month in Maryland this year and every year moving forward, but it directs state government to take specific action steps to improve awareness of both the need for inclusive hiring in our state and the need for supportive accessible workplaces for those with disabilities.  Under the executive order, the Maryland Department of Disabilities will initiate a public awareness campaign and partner with local jurisdictions to further strengthen this vital workforce. Additionally, the campaign will provide information to potential employers on the benefits of hiring workers with disabilities. 

The executive order also establishes an accessibility coordinator within state government. The accessibility coordinator will provide technical assistance to ensure state agency communication efforts adhere to accessibility best practices in an efficient and cost effective manner. This technical assistance will also allow state government to continue as a model employer for those with disabilities and offer support for Maryland businesses hoping to strengthen their communication accessibility.
MAIG poses with Sec Beatt, LG and Director Brick

"We know that an inclusive workforce is a strong workforce," said Department of Disabilities Secretary Carol A. Beatty. "I am very proud Maryland is able to highlight the importance of a business community which reflects the diversity of our state and support those with disabilities as they seek and retain successful employment. I am grateful to Governor Hogan for acknowledging the need for more attention to this very important issue and for planning effective action which will lead to increased employment opportunities, benefiting our economy and ultimately all Marylanders."

Bridget at her work place holding up a sign for DD awareness month
An Inclusive Workforce Strengthens Your Business Model:
Five Employer Success Stories

One of the biggest challenges businesses face is the shortage of employees available to fill positions specific to the needs of each organization. People with disabilities represent the single largest minority group seeking employment in today's marketplace. Further, according to the U.S. Department of Education, workers with disabilities are consistently rated as above average or higher in performance, quality and quantity of work, flexibility, and attendance. Hiring an inclusive workforce will not only create a thriving employee base, but will strengthen your business model as a whole. Still not sure of the benefits? Read more to discover five success stories right here in Maryland and the benefits these business owners have discovered from their inclusive workforce.
hand on wheelchair
Maryland Disability Employment Tax Credit

The Maryland Disability Employment Tax Credit (MDETC) is a Maryland State tax credit that allows employers to claim credit for employees with disabilities. For each taxable year a credit is allowed in an amount equal to 30% of up to the first $9000 ($2700) of wages paid during the first two years of employment.

Also, under MDETC, employers can benefit from a tax credit for work-related childcare or transportation expenses paid by the employer. A credit of up to $900 of the qualified childcare or transportation expenses incurred during the first two years of employment is possible. The MDETC may be claimed concurrently with any available federal tax credits for which the employee may be eligible. 
For more information please contact Darlene Peregoy at the Division of Rehabilitation Services by email at darlene.peregoy@maryland.gov or by phone at 410.554.9408.                                 
Inclusive Hiring Resources 
The Maryland Department of Disabilities website offers resources for those with disabilities looking for work along with information for employers wanting to increase their inclusive hiring practices.  Under Governor Hogan's Executive Order, the department will be expanding and distributing further information to assist Marylanders looking for support in these areas. 

man working at factory
Stay tuned to the department's website and social media as we provide further information to support all residents in seeking opportunities to work and thrive in Maryland.

Employment Resources: