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    City named National Employer of the Year by Multiple Sclerosis Society

    (5/26/2006) awarded Employer of the Year by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

    On Tuesday, May 30, 2006, at 1 p.m., Lisa Gerrol, the President of the Greater CT Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, will present a plaque to Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. and Michelle Duprey, Disability Services Director for the City of New Haven. The presentation will take place in the second floor atrium of New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St.

    The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Connecticut Chapter presented to the City of New Haven the Employer of the Year award at its annual meeting in October. The City of New Haven subsequently received recognition at the national level in the organization's 100-plus employees category.

    DeStefano said that it makes sense for employers to enhance employment opportunities for persons living with MS and other disabilities. “About 26% of New Haven's residents identify themselves as having a disability and as a community of inclusion it is only natural that the City for its workforce would want to tap into the great talents of the disability community. With such high unemployment rates for people with disabilities, nationally around 70%, all employers should look beyond a diagnosis and provide true opportunity to individuals with disabilities. As it has here in the City of New Haven, it will benefit the employer, the employee and the whole community."

    The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Employer of the Year award is designed to recognize employers throughout the United States whose efforts to increase or enhance employment opportunities for individuals affected by multiple sclerosis are making a difference in the lives of their employees - enabling them to remain viable members of the workforce. The City of New Haven has provided a variety of resources and accommodations to individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, including flexible work schedules, specialized telephones, accessibility modifications to workspace and assistive technology through its Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities.

    "The City of New Haven goes above and beyond in its instituted policies to ensure access and fair treatment for all individuals," says Lisa Gerrol, chapter president. "In some cases, symptoms experienced by individuals diagnosed with MS can hasten their premature departure from the workplace. Employers like the City of New Haven ensure that individuals affected by MS or other disabilities are able to remain active and productive members of the workforce for as long as possible. The City of New Haven and its Department for Persons with Disabilities have been used as a model for other cities across Connecticut."

    For more information about multiple sclerosis and its effects, please contact the Greater Connecticut Chapter at 860.953.0601 or visit www.ctnmss.org.

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