DeSoto hosts online event for National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Student Ambassador for DeSoto Council Meeting Talia Harrison of Cockrell Hill Elementary School led in the Pledge of Allegience at Tuesday evening’s meeting. Photo courtesy of the City of DeSoto

DESOTO – DeSoto and Mayor Rachel Proctor recently hosted an online event to highlight National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The conversation centered around the importance of giving residents with disabilities opportunities for employment and in life.

At the October 18 City Council meeting, a proclamation was presented and read with National Disability Employment Awareness Month in mind.

Proctor said, “This was an initiative that I’ve been looking to implement since the start of my administration in 2021.”

She explained how she believed it was very important for the city to create an initiative that would help make DeSoto more inclusive, particularly pertaining to opportunities for advancement for the residents in the city with disabilities and special needs.

It was in the summer of 2021, the mayor originally put together a small task force of community stakeholders involved in the day-to-day efforts involving support and resources for individuals with disabilities and special needs.

“One of the biggest needs identified by this group centered around opportunities and mentorship for employment,” Proctor explained. “Since the month of October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we put together a virtual event that started the conversation around creating opportunities for employment.”

The virtual event was held in partnership with Best Buddies and the North Texas Disability Chamber. The topics discussed in the forum provided resources for job seekers, and caregivers caring for those with special needs as well as information, which was provided to assist employers looking for ways to make their workplace more inclusive.

Proctor said, “One of our more short-term goals is to create job placement mentorships for individuals with disabilities or special needs who want to go into the workplace.”

The community stakeholders have long-term goals for National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October of 2023. The idea according to Proctor will be to host a community job fair for individuals with disabilities as well.

“When we talk about DeSoto as a city, we have talked a lot about it being a city of diversity, equity, and inclusion in terms of race and gender, but that discussion hasn’t always included our residents with disabilities and special needs,” Proctor concluded.