Making meaningful jobs for people with disabilities a reality in West Virginia is exactly what state Delegate Dianna Graves, R- Kanawha wants and has sponsored a bill to help make it happen!
“West Virginia has one of the highest percentage based on population of people that are disabled and we are the lowest in percentage based on people that are gainfully employed,” Graves said.
Integrated employment means people with disabilities can work in their communities for a competitive wage.
West Virginian Christy Black’s 17-year-old daughter Gracie has Down syndrome. Christy, an advocate for the bill, works with the West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council.
“Society does, unfortunately, have lower expectations about what a person with a disability can or can’t do,” Black said.
She said Gracie worked at a store in Culloden, the community where she lives. Through working there, Gracie found out she enjoys flowers but also found out a lot of things about herself, too.
“She also found that guess what? ... She wants to work, she wants to get married, she wants to build a house, she wants everything that everybody else wants,” Black said.
With the bill’s passage, Christy’s work begins to educate the public about what people with disabilities can do and to change expectations so thousands with disabilities like her daughter Gracie can be in their communities doing what they love.