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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Leaders Wrap-up First National Emerging Workforce Conference
February 12, 2004

WESTIN, FLORIDA--More than 600 leaders from government, private and nonprofit organizations came together this week in Weston to look at the reasons why 70 percent of Americans with disabilities are unemployed.

"The presence of the disabled in the workplace is still woefully insufficient," said Stephanie Lee at the first national Emerging Workforce Conference. "We have to remember the majority of people with disabilities have average or high intelligence. These are very capable individuals."

Thomas Ryan, a local chapter president of the National Federation of the Blind, said he was glad the conference addressed the need to change society's attitudes toward people with disabilities.

"I've been dealing with these initiatives for 40 years, and things have not changed a bit," Ryan said.

"Adults tend to already have their minds made up," he explained. "We have to go through kids if we want to improve the future of blind people and people in wheelchairs."

Related article:
"Targeting A Disabling Bias"(Miami Herald)


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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.