Vermont Will Become Second State To Pledge Commitment Tied With President Bush's New Freedom Initiative
MONTPELIER, Vt. - During Governor James Douglas's weekly press conference tomorrow at the Vermont State House (Thursday, January 8, 1:00 p.m.), he and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Cari M. Dominguez will sign a resolution aimed at enhancing employment opportunities in state government for people with disabilities. By this agreement, the State of Vermont and the EEOC jointly will review Vermont's recruitment, hiring, and reasonable accommodations programs to identify best practices worthy of emulation by other states.
The EEOC is pioneering a series of federal-state government partnerships to further advance the New Freedom Initiative, President George W. Bush's comprehensive program - of which employment is a critical component - to fully integrate the nation's 54 million individuals with disabilities into all aspects of American life. The Commission will provide consultation, outreach, and technical assistance. Vermont will become the second state to pledge participation, following a similar commitment by Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich just last month. Currently, one out of every five people in Vermont has a disability and 55,000 Vermonters with disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed.
"It is with pride that I join with Governor Douglas for this momentous occasion," said Chair Dominguez. "With the signing of this resolution, the State of Vermont brings leadership and momentum to a project of national significance. By working collaboratively, we will ensure that state governments benefit from one another's best practices in the critical area of employment for individuals with disabilities."
"Vermont recognizes and values the capabilities of its entire workforce, including the significant contributions that people with disabilities can make," said Governor Douglas. "Vermont will continue its strong commitment to the principle of equal opportunity for all citizens."
Following the press conference, a digital copy of the resolution and a photograph of the signing will be available on the EEOC's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
In addition to Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and in state and local governments, the EEOC enforces the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination based on age; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Proactive prevention of discrimination is an important part of the agency's mission.