This Disability Employment Awareness Month, our In Focus conversation centers not only on the policies and programs available, but also the personal stories of some people promoting progress. JoDee Kenney was joined by John Mannion, chair of the State Senate Committee on Disabilities, to talk about legislation aimed at growing employment opportunities. Mannion said in addition to connecting employers with applicants of all abilities, efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding disabilities are also underway, thanks to a multimedia campaign to educate New Yorkers. More than 60% of people with a disability are unemployed, and the senator said a bill signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul will expand eligibility for civil service positions to more of this population, as well as veterans. After helping secure $50,000 in the state budget, Mannion also highlighted the work of Syracuse University’s Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Employment Program. The public-private pilot partnership aims to help people with disabilities build skills to enter the workforce or own their own business.

You can watch the full interview with State Senator John Mannion in the video player above. And be sure to tune in for a look inside the biggest issues impacting upstate New York on In Focus with JoDee Kenney every Sunday on Spectrum News 1.