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Disability Employment 101: Letter from Secretary Margaret Spellings

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THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
WASHINGTON, DC 20202

March 2007

Dear Colleague:

Keeping America competitive is one of our top priorities as a nation. Our success depends on making sure we have an educated citizenry and an educated workforce, and at the Department of Education we are committed to ensuring America's high school graduates are ready for the jobs of the 21st century. As President George W. Bush has said, "Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people - and we're going to keep that edge."

America's rapidly changing economy requires an education system that ensures that all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, graduate from high school with the skills they need to be successful in postsecondary education and the workforce. The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) called for states to set measurable targets for the progress of students with disabilities. Together with the No Child Left Behind Act, the IDEA is holding schools accountable for making sure students with disabilities achieve to high standards.

Employers know that hiring qualified, loyal employees is the cornerstone of sustained success. We are committed to preparing skilled youths and adults with disabilities to successfully attain and sustain quality employment and become contributing members of their communities.

A successful outcome depends on working closely with employers to understand and meet their recruiting, hiring and retention needs. Toward that end, I am pleased to share with you the latest update of Disability Employment 101, originally developed by OSERS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce, formerly the Center for Workforce Preparation. This popular publication has proven to be a helpful resource for employers who want to stay competitive by hiring the best people.

We look forward to continued partnerships with employers to meet America's goals of gainful employment for all and a leading position in the global marketplace.

Sincerely,
  /s/
Margaret Spellings

Our mission is to ensure equal access to education and
to promote educational excellence throughout the nation.

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Last Modified: 09/25/2007