More than 500 Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support employees visited the National Disability Awareness Month Expo and Ability One Day event Oct. 25 to celebrate this year’s national theme: “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”
The purpose of the event was to bring awareness to non-profit organizations that employ disabled Americans while providing products and services to warfighters, said DLA Troop Support Chief of Staff Robert Ratner.
“DLA Troop Support is a proud employer of persons with disabilities, and we also partner with several organizations whose very ethos is based on the exceptional contributions of these individuals,” Ratner said.
Approximately 40 exhibitors were in attendance, including The Wounded Warrior Project, Access Support for Living, Chimes, ReadyOne and Vision Corps.
DLA Troop Support’s Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee for Employees with Disabilities has hosted the annual event for more than 10 years, said EEO specialist Michael Cowley.
“This [expo] brings to life that people with disabilities can and do support the mission of the agency,” Cowley said.
Vision Corps Director of Manufacturing George Tobler said the event is important to secure jobs and employment opportunities in the future for the disabled community.
“We want to support that and we’re very gracious for the support we’ve received from DLA over the years with our products and services,” Tobler said.
Vision Corps is a DLA vendor that works with blind and visually impaired employees via employment programs, including Ability One.
In addition to partnering with organizations that specialize in employing persons with disabilities, DLA is committed to hiring practices that increase participation of disabled Americans in its workforce, Ratner said.
“Through our involvement in the Workforce Recruitment Program for college students with disabilities, DLA has become the gold standard and largest employer for these young men and women in both the Department of Defense and federal government,” Ratner said.
DLA’s EEO staff also provides accommodations for employees who need equipment and services to do their jobs, Cowley said.