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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Amanda Lewis
Design & Communications
(912) 644-7472
[email protected]

Media Contacts:

Media Contacts:

Laura Lane McKinnon
Director for Organizational Advancement
(912) 644-7475
[email protected]

Governor Brian Kemp Tours EmployAbility

EmployAbility Board Member Michael Owens, EmployAbility Executive Director Dr. Ken Boyd, DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, EmployAbility Director of Training and Supported Employment Brendan Ferrara, and DBHDD Assistant Commissioner and General Counsel Amy Howell

EmployAbility Board Member Michael Owens, EmployAbility Executive Director Dr. Ken Boyd, DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, EmployAbility Director of Training and Supported Employment Brendan Ferrara, and DBHDD Assistant Commissioner and General Counsel Amy Howell.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp shakes hands with Ebony, one of the eleven program participants learning commercial kitchen skills at EmployAbility Catering.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp shakes hands with Ebony, one of the eleven program participants learning commercial kitchen skills at EmployAbility Catering.

DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald watches on as Andrew, a program participant in EmployAbility Specialized Assembly, demonstrates how he carefully untangles wires for a thermocouple project.

DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald watches on as Andrew, a program participant in EmployAbility Specialized Assembly, demonstrates how he carefully untangles wires for a thermocouple project.

161st District Representative Bill Hitchens, DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald, Governor Brian Kemp, and EmployAbility Board Member Michael Owens discuss the local impact of employment and community integration for adults with developmental disabilities

161st District Representative Bill Hitchens, DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald, Governor Brian Kemp, and EmployAbility Board Member Michael Owens discuss the local impact of employment and community integration for adults with developmental disabilities.

SAVANNAH, GA – June 18, 2019 – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Judy Fitzgerald, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), visited EmployAbility Tuesday, June 18, 2019, to tour its facilities and meet its program participants. Kemp was invited to tour EmployAbility while he was in the region touring several local businesses. This was the Governor’s first visit to EmployAbility since being elected in early 2019.

Gov. Kemp and Commissioner Fitzgerald were greeted by more than 100 excited EmployAbility program participants. Joined by Senator Ben Watson, Representative Bill Hutchins, and several local business leaders, they toured each of EmployAbility’s training programs, getting to see firsthand the value of EmployAbility’s training programs as well as the remarkable skills of its program participants, before meeting with members of the EmployAbility Board and senior leadership for a presentation about the organization, the benefits of employment and community integration for adults with developmental disabilities, and the impact that EmployAbility has on the three counties (Chatham, Effingham, and Bryan) it serves.

“[EmployAbility] is really an outstanding community-based organization that provides hope and training and learning opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who might need special supports and services in order to learn the skills and begin training, and then take those skills out into the community to work with an employer.” Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD)

EmployAbility supports 238 individuals through its Supported Employment program, working for approximately 140 employers throughout Chatham, Effingham, and Bryan Counties. The average wage for these workers is $9.21/hr. According to the U. S. Department of Labor, employers who have embraced disability as a component of their talent strategy report a 72% increase in overall employee productivity and a 38% savings in workers’ compensation or other insurance costs.

“[EmployAbility] is a great option for employers and when you have companies like Leopold’s Ice Cream and Gulfstream, people in the Savannah area know who those people are, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everybody else.” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

EmployAbility is a non-profit organization which works to prepare adults with developmental disabilities for employment and community integration. We envision a community where people with disabilities are more broadly valued, hired by employers, receiving support, and participating in ordinary activities. EmployAbility relies on the generosity of the people of Savannah as donors and volunteers to fulfill its commitment to empower adults with developmental disabilities to live full, meaningful lives.