(1) Each State department, board, agency, authority, board, or instrumentality controlled by the Governor (an “Executive unit”) shall annually observe October as Disability Employment Awareness Month to celebrate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities.
(2) The Department of Disabilities, throughout the year, but with special emphasis during Disability Employment Awareness Month, shall:
a. Reinforce the value and talents people with disabilities add to Maryland’s workplaces and communities;
b. Affirm Maryland’s commitment to an inclusive community; and
c. Enhance Maryland’s stature as a national leader in disability employment policy and practice.
(3) The Department of Disabilities’ efforts shall include:
a. Increasing public awareness of:
1. How the many skills and talents of Marylanders with disabilities benefit Maryland businesses;
2. The barriers Marylanders with disabilities face in obtaining employment;
3. The untapped potential of job seekers with disabilities; and
4. The potential for those with disabilities to obtain economic independence by becoming self-employed and to contribute to the State’s economy as business owners and employers;
b. Research and development of best practices, and ongoing collaboration with other State units, to achieve inclusive, competitive, integrated employment for Marylanders with disabilities by connecting them with employers and expanding knowledge and opportunities for self-employment;
c. Coordinating the development and maintenance of a digital resource guide for State units and local jurisdictions that details best practices to increase employment, retention, self-employment, and business ownership of those with disabilities;
d. Support for events, including those sponsored by other State units, local governments, or private or nongovernmental organizations, that highlight how businesses benefit from the skills and talents of individuals with disabilities; and
e. Provision of related information and assistance to other Executive units, the Maryland State Department of Education, the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, Saint Mary’s College of Maryland, public community colleges, and local governments.
(4) To promote individuals with disabilities’ access to technology, the Department of Disabilities shall:
a. Hold special events, including those advancing assistive technology that expands employment in community integrated settings; and
b. Recommend the designation of a State agency, entity, or staff person to:
1. Provide accessibility technical assistance during State procurement processes; and
2. Address any accessibility concerns of State employees.
(5) Executive units shall otherwise encourage the citizens they serve to, throughout the year, participate in and promote events celebrating the rights, skills, and talents of those with disabilities.