Born out of an initiative to combat the nationwide high unemployment rate among people with disabilities, Westchester County held its first Diverse Abilities Job Fair. Westchester County Executive George Latimer welcomed job seekers at the Riverfront Library in Yonkers. The hiring event, brought out employers seeking to fill open positions. Open to all qualified candidates with disabilities, job seekers were able to request accommodations, connect with employers and interview on the spot.

Latimer said: “Being inclusive of people with diverse abilities boosts a company’s culture and truly embraces inclusivity. Job fairs like this are simply a good business practice, and helps retain qualified talent for companies to continue to grow here in Westchester.”

Westchester County Office of People with Disabilities Director Evan Latainer said: “We want to continue to provide our diversely-abled community a chance to be in the room where it all happens and the opportunity to showcase their unique job skills all while giving local businesses support to hire an untapped resource here in the County. This job fair is the first of many opportunities for the disabled community here in Westchester to find their dream job.”

Westchester County Office of Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons said: “We know people with disabilities have a high unemployment rate, and we see it as a ‘win-win’ if we can help more employers hire people with disabilities. The Westchester County Office of Economic Development is looking to expand our role and make an impact with more inclusive job fairs.”

Westchester County Director of Policy and Programs, Small Business and Chambers of Commerce Shari Rosen-Ascher said: “The Westchester Diverse Abilities job fair came about as a direct result of the focus of County Executive George Latimer’s Advisory Council on People with Disabilities to address the high employment rate in this community. We saw employers today who have already worked with, and advocated for, this community. We are proud to partner with them and see the interactivity and results firsthand. We are thrilled that today’s event was so successful and we are looking to have Diverse Abilities job fairs in other areas of the County.”

The Diverse Abilities Job Fair was a partnership between the Westchester County Office of Economic Development, the Westchester County Office for People with Disabilities and several local organizations.

Participating employers included: Amazon, AFYA, The Arc Westchester, CVS, New York Presbyterian, Jawonio, ShopRite, Southern Westchester BOCES, WestHab and Westchester County Department of Social Services. Local high school students also attended, including the A-Team program at Roosevelt High School consisting of diversely abled students ages 14 through 21.

This job fair saw upwards of  125 job seekers.