Our good friend Nicole now working for The Arc in D.C. shares thoughts with us on
her brother and employment.


New post on The Arc Blog

October is National Disability Employment Monthby The Arc

Nicole Jorwic, J.D. – Director of Rights Policy for The Arc

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the
advancements in making employment for individuals with disabilities a reality, and
also, on how much work is left to be done. As the Employment First movement has
been sweeping across the country, it is important to remember why a job is so
important to an individual with a disability. My brother is 26 and has autism, I asked
him why getting a job is important to him, this was his response:

“I think that a job is essential to a person with a disability because it gives us
purpose, and common ground to build on with the rest of the world. All my siblings
get so much of their identities from their jobs, I should have the same chance. All my
brothers and sisters in disability deserve the opportunities to work in our communities,
for fair pay, so that we can fulfill our destinies.”

As we work in Washington DC and on the state-level to ensure that policies and
practices converge to make the road to employment smoother for individuals with
disabilities, we must remember that a job is an essential part of what gives someone
standing in their community. Individuals with disabilities are succeeding in meaningful
careers in a wide range of private businesses, government agencies and nonprofit
organizations, while others are becoming entrepreneurs with their own micro-

We moved from a time when the thought of individuals with disabilities having a job
was a dream, through a time when the only options were sheltered workshops, into a
new era where there is meaningful and competitive work for individuals with disabilities.
The value in having a response to “what do you do?” is immeasurable for individuals
with disabilities across the country, including my brother Chris.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)