LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Every October, the U.S. Department of Labor observes National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which is meant to bring awareness to disability inclusion in the workplace.
Burke Industries in Lufkin is among many East Texas businesses who not only observe NDEA Month, they also help disabled persons learn job skills and find the right employment for them.
“We have a Day Hab program and in this program, we teach individuals self-help skills,” said Deidra Davis, Day Hab Director of Burke Industries. “Then we have our vocational program where we have an emphasis on cooking, things that they can do during their day-to-day life," Davis.
Burke Industries provides mental health, mental illness, developmental disability, and early childhood intervention services in East Texas. One client, Thomas Putnam said he’s been pleased with the results in terms of finding a job that suits his skills.
“I mostly like helping out people [who need],” said Putnam. “Like, help transferring food to their house, or help people that really need help," said Putnam.
Other job opportunities for clients include litter control, sorting, shredding, and ground maintenance and can earn between $7.25 to $9.00 an hour.
21-year-old Joshua Moreland works as a shredder, which he says affords him the opportunity to works towards buying a house and new car.
“I want to be able to save my money to hold to get my own house and personally my dreams are to get my own car, mustang 2016 and my favorite color is red," said Moreland.
Staff at Burke Industries say their goal is to continue to serve as many people with disabilities as possible and make an impact on their lives.
“Right now I think this job is the best place I can work at They help me a lot like Ms. Brenda. she helps me with anything I have problems with I go to her and talk to her about it," said Putnam.
Disability Employment Awareness Month has been celebrated every year since 1945.