Washington, DC, August 30, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- Joshua Cruce is a member of a growing segment of the unemployed who have sacrificed for their country. Severely wounded in a bomb blast in Iraq, he is now one of more than five million disabled American veterans. In entering the job market, he faces new challenges as the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than 60 percent higher than for other job seekers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
This September the first organization solely committed to improving employment for people with disabilities, Enable America (EA), will mark its ten-year anniversary with a series of events in Washington DC to help people like Joshua. They include Enable America’s job-site mentoring activities for disabled veterans and wounded warriors in transition. As part of this important event, the FBI will become the first federal agency to participate in EA’s mentoring programs.
Disabled veterans who would like to learn more and sign-up for Enable America’s September mentoring programs in the Washington area can do so at the organization's web site, and by calling Enable America toll free at 1-877-ENABLED (1-877-362-2533).
Joshua Cruce is like many who are looking for meaningful employment in a challenging economy. He is eager to put his skills to work while equally frustrated by the tight job market. But the path that led him to this point in his career is anything but typical.
Cruce was once a U.S. Army squad leader in northern Iraq, in the midst of a 15-month deployment to provide security for logistical convoys. That ended suddenly in late 2008, the day his truck ran over a buried explosive.
“During my recovery I was fortunate to rehabilitate with many inspiring veterans such as J.R. Martinez. And although I have learned anything is possible through hard work and dedication, nothing could prepare me for the realities of today’s job market,” said Cruce.
The IED (improvised explosive device) caused a traumatic brain injury and extensive damage to Joshua’s spinal cord. Severely injured, his Army career was over. After a long rehabilitation and an honorable discharge, his career aspirations turned back home, to the civilian job market.
“As an unknown in the corporate world, looking for work in a poor economy, I have had a hard time transitioning my skills to employers,” said Cruce. “But thanks to programs offered by Enable America, I am not alone. Enable America provides the information, the resources, and the support I need to pursue my career goals.”
Enable America’s Mission to Help Disabled Veterans:
Since its beginning in 2002, Enable America has worked to build bridges between employers and the disability community. Job-Site Employment Mentoring, Job Skills Workshops, Business and Community Connection Meetings, and VetConnect programs have all improved employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
“People with disabilities look outside their window and wonder, ‘How do I get involved, in this community, how to I become a part of the American Dream?’” said Richard Salem, founder and CEO of Enable America. “Joshua has ability, desire, and commitment, like so many we work with. He simply needs a hand up. As a nation, we owe him that. That is why Enable America is here.”
Salem is an example of what a hand up can provide. After an accident took his sight as a teenager, he went on to become the first blind person to graduate from Duke Law School, with a successful 30-year career as an attorney and businessman to follow.
“Until every person with a disability who wants to work is employed, we will continue to produce programs, develop resources, and open job opportunities. With so many deserving men and women now returning from conflicts overseas, it is only fitting that we use the occasion of our ten-year anniversary to expand these offerings to disabled veterans and wounded warriors in the Washington area,” said Mr. Salem.
On September 12th, Enable America will conduct an executive discussion on the issue of employment for people with disabilities, in which national stakeholders from business, government, the military and social services will join to share insights. An honorary reception will follow to recognize Senator Tom Harkin, (D) Iowa, and Congressman CW Bill Young, (R) Florida, for their extraordinary commitment and support of Enable America’s work.
Throughout September, the FBI, Clark Construction, Case Design and the Capitol Hill offices of Senator Harkin and Congressman Young will host disabled veterans and wounded warriors as part of Enable America’s anniversary celebration.
Organizations and businesses interested in learning more about Enable America programs, including the Washington events, should contact Enable America through its web site, EnableAmerica.org, or by calling toll free at 1-877-ENABLED (1-877-362-2533).
About Enable America: Established in 2002 by attorney Richard Salem, Enable America builds bridges between employers, social service agencies, and people with disabilities, including disabled veterans and wounded warriors, through programs that improve employment opportunities. The organization’s Community Connections, Business Connections, Employment Mentoring, Job Skills Workshops and VetConnect programs unite members of the disability community and business community to raise awareness and increase employment opportunities for the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities.