RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam on Thursday issued the most comprehensive executive actions in Virginia history to ensure inclusion and opportunity for Virginians with disabilities. He issued Executive Order Forty-Seven and Executive Directive Six.
Northam said Executive Order Forty-Seven and Executive Directive Six continue the equal employment initiatives outlined by former Governor Terry McAuliffe in a 2015 executive order. On top of that, the executive actions dramatically expand the scope of support for Virginians with disabilities to increase opportunity in higher education, improve the accessibility of state services, and ensure continued stakeholder engagement.
Executive Order Forty-Seven will make sure there is employment equity for Virginians with disabilities by prioritizing hiring and workforce diversity in state government. To help expand educational opportunity, it directs the Secretary of Education to find ways to increase active participation in advanced training and higher education programs.
The executive order also directs the Virginia Information Technologies Agency to review state websites and technology services, to increase accessibility and ensure all Virginians can benefit from the state services and support they need.
“Virginians with disabilities have an absolute right to the same benefits of society and freedoms of everyday life that all people enjoy,” said Governor Northam. “These executive actions highlight our commitment to ensuring every Virginian has access to the support and opportunities they need to thrive in our Commonwealth.”
Executive Order Forty-Seven works to maintain a continued focus on Virginians with disabilities. It requires the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to convene regular meetings with relevant stakeholders, providing an opportunity for future feedback and ensuring Virginians with disabilities have an ongoing voice within state government.
View Executive Order Forty-Seven below:
Virginia also continues to prioritize the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead v. L.C. by Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999) decision, and the Virginians with Disabilities Act. Executive Directive Six continues the Community Integration Implementation Team (CIIT) to ensure the Commonwealth is providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to become fully integrated into the community if they choose.
“True and genuine inclusion is only achieved by addressing systems of inequity—therefore it requires intentional collaboration and comprehensive action,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, the Commonwealth’s first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “Today’s executive actions not only facilitate opportunity for Virginians with disabilities, they represent a bold step towards a Commonwealth that is truly open, inclusive, and equitable for all.”
View Executive Directive Six below: