Westchester Marks Disability Employment Awareness Month Oct. 14, 2016 - Today, Westchester County congratulates dozens of employees with disabilities who have excelled in their jobs as well as the businesses that hired them during the National Disability Employment Awareness Month Breakfast. 

“It is once again a pleasure to honor those businesses that have done so much to support employees with disabilities in Westchester,” Astorino said. “It is also a tribute to those individuals who have overcome obstacles and succeeded at their jobs. Congratulation to all involved.”

The event recognized 31 employees and 34 employers from throughout Westchester County.Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett and Chairman of the county Board of Legislators, Michael Kaplowitz, joined in congratulating the recipients. 

The event also paid special tribute to Scott Smith, who is retiring from Westchester Disabled on the Move. Smith, who was born in 1951 with Cerebral Palsy, has been a driven and lifelong advocate for people with disabilities. He began working at Westchester Disabled on the Move in 1991, and despite the challenges of commuting to Yonkers from his home in Rockland County, he became part of the fabric of the organization, offering counseling as a professional and peer role model.

“Scott Smith is a testament to the Independent Living philosophy,” Astorino said. “His accomplishments and work ethic are of the highest order, and I congratulate him on a career of integrity and determination.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Westchester County Office for People with Disabilities, ACCES-VR (Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services) and the Westchester Employment Network.

Each year the Westchester Employment Network, a group of vocational placement counselors and rehabilitation professionals, asks local employers for nominations of disabled workers who have performed exceptionally well. Every nominated worker is invited to the breakfast and presented with a Certificate of Achievement from County Executive Astorino. Their employers also receive certificates to thank them for promoting diversity in the workplace.

Selena M. Goodwin-Hay, of the accounting firm Ernst & Young, was the event’s keynote speaker. Despite being diagnosed with two systemic, chronic conditions, she was able to continue her career and lifestyle at the firm, where she currently serves as the Quality & Risk Management Project Manager/Compliance Specialist as well as the co-leader of the Abilities Champion Network.

“These businesses and employees show us what is possible,” said Evan Latainer, director of the Office for People with Disabilities. “It is an honor to recognize their accomplishments.”