The Vertical Harvest team poses for their 2020 Holiday photo. Photo: Vertical Harvest

JACKSON, Wyo. — October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the Jackson Town Council recently passed a proclamation recognizing and commemorating the 76th anniversary.

The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

In 1945 congress enacted a law declaring the first week of October each year as “National Employ the Physically handicapped week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. Finally, in 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

The Council proclamation states, “The Town of Jackson calls upon employers, schools, and other community organizations to advance the message that people with disabilities add value and talent to our workplaces and communities; and be it further resolved, that the Town of Jackson, pledges to take steps throughout the year to recruit, hire, retain, and advance individuals with disabilities and work to pursue the goals of opportunity, full participation, economic self-sufficiency, and independent living for people with disabilities.”

Mayor Morton Levinson read the proclamation during the meeting and thanked Cultivate Ability for bringing the topic to the attention of the council. Cultivate Ability is a local non-profit that works with employers to create workplace environments that are more welcoming for people with disabilities.

Vertical Harvest employs individuals with disabilities and is celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month throughout October. Vertical Harvest Co-Founder and Director of Human Potential, Caroline Croft Estay recently penned an article, Reuniting Humanity & Work— the Solve for the Labor Shortage.

“Did you know that only four out of 10 working-age U.S. adults with a disability are currently employed? That means people who are differently abled, physically and mentally, are not even included in the ‘8.4 million’ job seekers statistic because they have largely been stripped of their agency to enter the job market in the first place. And without certain empowerment frameworks, gainful employment isn’t feasible,” Croft Estay wrote.

“One solution to the labor shortage has been staring us in the face all along. Reestablishing the humanity of work means first reimagining our workplaces, workstyles and workforce to be inclusive of differently-abled and uniquely-skilled individuals,” she wrote.


Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.