SAN ANTONIO – On behalf of the City of San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued a proclamation on Wednesday recognizing October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

  • Event hosted by Goodwill San Antonio, Disability SA, H-E-B, and VIA 
  • Bexar County has 36 percent of disabled people employed
  • Employee of Goodwill shares her story

The event was hosted by the City of San Antonio and Goodwill San Antonio, who also partnered with Disability SA, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, H-E-B, and VIA to celebrate the contributions people with disabilities have on today’s workforce, encouraging building a city with an inclusive workforce and opportunity for all.

According to information from Goodwill San Antonio, national and city leaders came together with local nonprofit organizations and pledged their commitment to do more to employ people with disabilities.

“What we want for every individual with disabilities is a maximum of independence and opportunity to achieve the full potential of each of them.” U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-TX, said.

While the national unemployment rate for people with disabilities has fallen steadily since 2009, it remains more than double the rate for people without a disability; 8.5 percent versus 3.9 percent in July 2018.

In Bexar County, 75 percent of those without a disability are employed, compared to only 36 percent employment of those with a disability.

Mary Nelson, a Goodwill employee with a disability, shared her story as someone who is now thriving as a result of securing meaningful employment.

Prior to working for Goodwill, Nelson was forced to make the difficult decision to resign from a management position she had worked diligently to achieve despite her decreased mobility. She had been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis causing her to limp when she walked. In time, the disease would eventually penetrate her knees, hips, and back.

“When your ability to work becomes limited, it affects the way you think. You wonder how you are going to be able to feed yourself or keep a roof over your head. Uncertainty is a very scary place,” Nelson said.

She was referred to Goodwill where she applied and is now working as a Medical Records Associate helping to prepare, scan and digitize hundreds of thousands of medical records for U.S. Air Force veterans. Nelson and her team’s work helps expedite the time for the Department of Veterans Affairs to process medical claims ensuring veterans receive their benefits.

“I have a future now, and that future is a lot brighter. Life with a disability can and should be good,” Nelson said.

Learn more about Goodwill San Antonio’s mission to help change lives through the power of work.