Focusing on Abilities is New Mexico’s initiative that works to better coordinate and enhance a more comprehensive and coordinated system of employment services and supports for New Mexicans with disabilities. Its 26-member leadership board is comprised of federal and state government agency representatives (e.g., human services, workforce, education/vocational rehabilitation, Governor’s Commission on Disabilities, etc.) as well as people with disabilities, advocacy organizations, and business leaders. Most recently, New Mexico has stepped up its efforts to better align state economic development activities and the business community with its “to-work” efforts for individuals with disabilities. To this end, the leadership board is working closely with the New Mexico Business Leadership Network (BLN) to lead the charge in "creating best practices as next practices in disability employment through a collaborative effort and a mutual understanding of needs, goals, and resources." To kick off this new direction, the New Mexico BLN recently brought in John Kemp, Executive Director of the USBLN, to join high-ranking state workforce, small business, and economic development officials; employers; and members of the Focusing on Abilities leadership for a discussion about next steps in partnering. “There is something wonderful happening here in New Mexico,” stated John Kemp, “and the nation deserves to hear about it.” A significant part of their activities includes working closely with the federal government, a major employer in the state, to gain access to the system of federal hiring at such locations as Kirtland Air Force Base and the U.S. Forest Service, Region 3.
Read about New Mexico's efforts from Guest Blogger Michelle Gonzalez from Verizon Wireless and member of the New Mexico Business Leadership Board of Directors
Listen to the audio podcast interview with Randy Richardson from Jobing.com and member of the New Mexico Business Leadership Network Board of Directors
Read the transcript of the interview with Randy Richardson
Listen to the audio podcast interview with John Kemp, Executive Director and General Counsel of the U.S. Business Leadership Network
Read the transcript of the interview with John Kemp