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Governor's Weekly Message Transcript: Finding Innovative Practices to Employ Individuals with Disabilities

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Our greatest asset in Delaware and across the country is our people and in a highly competitive global economy, we need to take advantage of everybody's abilities. Recognizing this reality, I chose the employment of people with disabilities as my special initiative as Chair of the National Governors Association.

This week, we have been in Seattle to learn from innovative practices happening in Washington State where they're implementing Employment First grants. Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf joined me to see what we might use as models for Delaware. We've visited Microsoft headquarters to see how they've integrated employing Americans with disabilities into their hiring practices. And we've learned how famed physicist Stephen Hawking is working with computing leader Intel on technology that helps people with disabilities connect to the world.

This effort is not about charity. It's about the strengths of the disabilities community. No one has recognized that better than Thorkil Sonne, the founder of a Danish company called Specialisterne that has recently expanded to Delaware. His company helps put autistic adults to work, recognizing that they can not only hold down jobs, but in some fields that require tedious tasks, they are extremely well-qualified.

I'm looking forward to joining Thorkil next week in the First State for a special announcement about ensuring that we give everyone in our state the chance to contribute to our workforce. He uses the analogy of a dandelion, saying: "Everybody has the power to decide. Do we see a weed, or do we see an herb?" Our ability to see an herb will keep Delaware and our country moving forward.


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