BLACKFOOT — Dawn Enterprises in Blackfoot celebrated its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness (NDEAM) month, with Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue reading a proclamation and tours offered throughout the facility on Tuesday.
Sindi Crosland, vocational coordinator for the company, said Dawn Enterprises (on Cedar Street) in Blackfoot has been in business since 1974 employing individuals who are socially, mentally or physically challenged.
Dawn Enterprises is in the sewing production business and is contracted to do certain jobs. Currently the company's projects include making fire retardant hoods called "frogs" for the U.S. Marines and "mermaid-like" swimsuits and shark fins for an Idaho internet based company called "Fin-Fun." Other goods produced include sheets, briefs and bras for the military, vacuum bags for Boeing and outfitter supplies such as horse tack and packs.
The NDEAM started in 1945, when Congress signed a law declaring the first week in October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." The mission of NDEAM is to educate the public about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of workers across American with disabilities.
In 1962 the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of those will all types of disabilities,
Then, in 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to NDEAM.
"We like to do something each year to celebrate and raise awareness of workers with disabilities and the employment issues that many of them face. This is the first year we have had the mayor join us for a proclamation," said Crosland. "I would like to thank Vocational Rehabilitation and the Extended Employment Program for their dedication and hard work to help individuals achieve their dreams of employment."
Upon reading the proclamation, Mayor Virtue, who serves on the board for Dawn Enterprises, addressed the staff saying, "I am impressed with the work that goes on here and I'm glad to be here. Let's give everyone a round of applause for the work that's being done here."
Virtue went on to read a proclamation declaring October 2013 "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."
"In doing so, I call upon employers, schools and other community organizations in Blackfoot to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities and to to advance its important message that people with disabilities add to our workplace throughout the year," he said.
Dawn Enterprises currently employs 95 people from throughout East Idaho.
For more information about Dawn Enterprises call 208-785-5890 or go to: http//:DawnEnt.org.