(Raleigh, NC) -- On a day the North Carolina State Fair is reserving for subdued sensory stimulation, State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, hopes to create a little buzz about a program that helps people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve a better life experience and lead a fuller life.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. On Sunday, Oct. 17, the State Fair’s inaugural accessABILITY Day for people with disabilities, Treasurer Folwell will be joined by State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to raise awareness of the NC ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Program and the ABLE to Work Provision under the management of the Department of State Treasurer (DST).
The NC ABLE Act was signed into law in 2015. It allows individuals with the occurrence of a disability prior to the age of 26 and their families to contribute to tax-advantaged savings accounts. Those accounts can fund essential disability services and qualified expenses without endangering means-tested eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. For many individuals with disabilities and their families, this may be the most impactful program available.
Treasurer Folwell chairs the NC ABLE Program Board of Trustees, which oversees more than $13 million in assets for nearly 1,500 account holders. The money grows tax-free and can be used for qualified disability expenses such as housing, cell phones, adaptive equipment, transportation and virtually any other item that will help to provide a better life experience.
The accessABILITY Day is designed for people with disabilities who struggle with the loud noise, and colorful, twinkling lights amid bustling concourses. To provide a quieter, less stimulating environment, rides, games and vendor booths will operate with no lights or music from 8 a.m. to noon, and entertainment stages will be limited to acoustic instruments.
The day is being presented by Bandwidth, a growing software company with global headquarters being built adjacent to the fairgrounds. Bandwidth CEO David Morken is scheduled to join Treasurer Folwell and Commissioner Troxler at the press conference.
During the press availability Treasurer Folwell will touch on the state’s employment crisis — how many businesses, as well as local, county and state governments, are struggling to find qualified, reliable employees in the COVID era. He will encourage employers to consider workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fill their job vacancies, and highlight some employers that have benefited from hiring from that ready, willing and able portion of the labor pool. DST has been partnering with The Arc across the state to raise awareness of the availability of those highly trained individuals, many of whom are NC ABLE account holders.
What: NC ABLE Participants Recognized During National Disability Employment Awareness Month
When: Sunday, Oct. 17, 9:45 a.m.
Who: N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell; N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler; Bandwidth CEO and (scheduled to attend) event-sponsor Bandwidth CEO David Morken.
Where: N.C. State Fairgrounds, Dorton Triangle section, on the expo center picnic area.