California Mayors Join Maria Shriver in Opening Doors to Employment for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
09/10/2009

First Lady Maria Shriver today announced that Mayors throughout California, inspired by her WE Include program, have joined her efforts by committing to provide work opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. The announcement comes the week of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, a bike ride, chaired by Shriver, which raises millions of dollars for programs supporting people with developmental disabilities.

WE Include represents the commitment of both the First Lady and the Governor to open the door to opportunities that enable individuals with developmental disabilities to live fulfilling, purpose-filled and inclusive lives. It raises awareness and connects people to resources related to employment, education and tools for financial empowerment.

The Mayors include: Curt Pringle, Anaheim; Ashley Swearengin, Fresno; Bob Foster, Long Beach; Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles; Ron Dellums, Oakland; Kevin Johnson, Sacramento; Gavin Newsom, San Francisco; Miguel Pulido, Santa Ana; and, Ann Johnston, Stockton.

“The commitment these mayors have made is truly extraordinary, particularly in these tough economic times. Their partnership proves that there are a number of opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to work in a wide-variety of fields, and they do,” said Maria Shriver. “One of my greatest joys has been witnessing and sharing in their triumphs working alongside others in their community – the impact it has is indescribable and the possibilities are endless. California is once again leading by example.”

Since launching the WE Include program in 2007, Shriver has been instrumental in the hiring of individuals with developmental disabilities throughout California, including the Governor’s Office in Sacramento and the Governor’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, the first mayor in California to join WE Include, said, “Maria’s commitment to individuals with developmental disabilities through her WE Include program inspired me to hire David in my office and I am delighted to continue my partnership with her. He has been with us for nearly a year and I am thrilled with his work. David brings a real terrific energy to work every day.”

Recently, Shriver launched WEInclude.ca.gov, a website offering individuals with developmental disabilities a chance to excel in jobs that give them satisfaction and purpose. The WE Include web site includes the “Top Ten Reasons to Hire an Individual with Developmental Disabilities,” which details the win-win situation for businesses and potential employees when they work together. Also featured on the website is the award-winning video, created in partnership with Talent Knows No Limits, showcasing California companies who have already hired.

Terri Delgadillo, Director of the California Department of Developmental Services said, “Maria has electrified the community - everybody’s talking about job opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Everywhere I go across the state, people are excited and want to talk about WE Include.”

Shriver has worked diligently to foster understanding and increase opportunities for employment and friendship for individuals with developmental disabilities. She is an active member of the International Board of Special Olympics, the organization her mother founded in 1968, and is also on the advisory board of Best Buddies International, founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989.

To learn more about the WE Include program, visit: www.WEInclude.ca.gov

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