Governor Cooper Signs Executive Order to Increase Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities


Governor Roy Cooper today signed Executive Order No. 92, Employment First for North Carolinians with Disabilities, to increase opportunities for fair wages, employment, and careers for individuals with disabilities.  Through the order, signed today at the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville, the governor directs state government to become a leader in recruiting and creating an inclusive job climate for workers with disabilities. 

“North Carolina can be its best when all people have the opportunity to achieve their potential and live lives of purpose, including North Carolinians with disabilities,” said Gov. Cooper. “With this order, I’m establishing meaningful work as the first and preferred choice for all North Carolinians, regardless of disability, and directing state government to lead the way on including more people with disabilities in the workplace.” 

More than 1.3 million North Carolinians have a disability, making up approximately 13 percent of the state’s population. Of those, more than 720,000 are of working age, but only 35 percent are employed, compared to 76 percent of North Carolinians without disabilities.

Increasing employment for people with disabilities increases independence and results in cost savings for behavioral health services, intellectual/developmental disability services, and acute health care. It is also good for businesses and other employers, resulting in lower employee turnover, increased productivity, and access to a broader pool of skilled workers.

“This creates an opportunity to think about diversity in our state workforce in a new light and to partner with agencies that can help us connect with job seekers who have disabilities,” said Barbara Gibson, Director of the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources. “We will build upon existing resources to further improve the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and reduce their high unemployment rate while strengthening our overall workforce.”

The Executive Order directs the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources to collaborate with the Department of Health and Human Services to enhance recruitment and outreach efforts to potential workers with disabilities and to identify and attract qualified individuals with disabilities for state employment. 

“A large and capable untapped pool of talent exists, and we commit to work closely within state government to address the barriers and create opportunities for North Carolinians with disabilities who want to be employed. This is a win for the employee, for the state as employer, and for our communities,” said Chris Egan, senior director at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Employment First builds on the progress of Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready and Everybody Works NC and is aligned with efforts to create an inclusive work environment through Executive Order No. 24, Prohibiting Discrimination in State Employment.

Read more about Executive Order 92 HERE. The order is available online HERE.

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