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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: October 14, 2011


NEW CASTLE (Oct. 14, 2011) - On Tuesday, Oct. 18, Delaware will mark White Cane Day by thanking a local private employer for working with the Division for the Visually Impaired to hire visually impaired consumers.

The state's job placement of individuals who are visually impaired has increased each of the previous three years, but demand also is increasing. The division is seeking more employers, such as Delaware Park, to create training and employment opportunities. Delaware Park employs two people, Linda Reiker and Joseph Hayes, with visual impairments.

"We are very fortunate to have employers like Delaware Park who recognize the value of hiring visually impaired citizens," said Robert Doyle III, director of the state Division for the Visually Impaired. "National data shows that the unemployment rate of the blind far exceeds that of the general population. We are using this White Cane Day as an invitation to other Delaware employers - private, nonprofit and state - to partner with us to employ persons with visual disabilities."

During a brief ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday on the first floor of Delaware Park's clubhouse, Doyle and Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf will thank Delaware Park for its involvement with the program, and talk about the increasing need for placements across the state, and remind employers and citizens of Delaware's White Cane Law. Delaware Park General Manager Andrew Gentile and Senior Vice President of Human Resources Nancy Myshko also will attend the event. Reiker and Hayes will be able for interviews.

Delaware's White Cane Law says individuals who are blind, visually impaired or have physical disabilities shall be employed on the same terms and conditions as are people without such disabilities unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the performance of the work involved.

"Our experience has shown that persons with vision loss prove to be hard working, committed and dedicated employees who perform on an equal footing with their sighted co-workers given the range of technology and adaptive equipment available today," Doyle said.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.