Genesis Development Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Genesis Development announced today its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.”

Reflecting this year’s theme, Genesis Development has always worked toward inclusion and innovation in the work force across central Iowa. The Employment Services department began in Jefferson in 1985 and now has ten locations serving eleven counties across central Iowa. Genesis Development Employment Services are currently serving 171 individuals with disabilities working jobs in communities across the service area in Iowa. In addition, Genesis Development is serving 70 high school students with disabilities in the Experienced Based Career Exploration (EBCE) program, the Genesis Vocational Program and the Making the Grade program in cooperation with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services at high schools across the state.

Zac Anthony started with one of Genesis Development’s job development programs and wanted to pursue his dream job. Anthony wanted a career at Simpson College. He was even offered a job at another company, but turned it down to hold out for his dream job. When a job opened with the food service agency at Simpson College, Anthony was ecstatic and filled out an application. He began work with Sodexo in August 2015. Anthony is very happy with his dream job and enjoys that the staff and students at Simpson College are “his people.”

Chris Strader started with Genesis Development’s Experienced Based Career Exploration program while enrolled at Storm Lake High School. He entered Genesis Development’s  job development program after graduation when his position at a local company was eliminated. Strader desired to find a job that fit his skills set, that he enjoyed and that fit his needs. Strader was hired by Silk Screen, Inc. this past August. He is surrounded by people with similar interests in a friendly environment. Strader enjoys his job preparing printing shipments and makes sure that items are shipped in a timely manner.

James Allen started with Genesis Development’s Making the Grade program when he was a student at Winterset High School. After graduation, he began in Genesis’ job development program in May of 2016. Allen utilized his learned skills and began as a courtesy staff with Hy-Vee in July of 2016.  During a visit from a secret shopper, Allen had earned high marks for his customer service and helpful smile. Allen enjoys his work and desires to move up in the company.

Joel Anderson started with Genesis Development’s EBCE program when he was a junior at Boone High School. After graduation, Anderson entered Genesis’ Job Development program and utilized his learned skills and began work at the Dutch Oven Bakery in Boone in January of 2016. When Anderson started the job, he wanted to make sure that he was doing a good job and asked many questions and took notes.  Now he goes into work and swiftly performs that job he is comfortable with and enjoys.

“Genesis Development is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month and a part of the communities we serve across central Iowa,” said Terry Johnson, CEO. “We want to spread the important message that we value all perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities.”

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting To learn more about Genesis Development, please visit