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"Americans with Disabilities: Ready for the Global Workforce"

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month across the country as well as here at Minot Air Force Base. 

Congress designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the Office of Disability Employment Policy has the lead in planning NDEAM activities and materials to increase the public's awareness of the contributions and skills of American workers with disabilities, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Web site. 

The 2006 theme, "Americans with Disabilities:  Ready for the Global Workforce," highlights the fact that workers with disabilities are an underutilized and ambitious group of Americans eager to pursue their career dreams.  

Individuals with disabilities can and do contribute 100 percent to any work environment, said Leroy Schoffstall, 91st Space Wing and NDEAM base project officer. "It is important to recognize the efforts of thousands of disabled workers who are a big part of Team Minot's success.  Most might only be in the support areas, but the job they accomplish can be as equally important as the front-line troops.  October is a reminder that our disabled workers are a tremendous work force and a big part that makes our base a better place to work and keeps our mission on schedule." 

One employee here feels his physical constraints do little to hinder his job to ensure Team Minot keep the planes and missiles mission ready. 

"I don't consider myself disabled.  Physically challenged maybe, but not disabled," said George Putnam, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron real property officer.   However, after a little reflection on the matter, I'd like to point out that many people have some type of limitation or challenge to overcome.  Whether it be physical or otherwise is of little consequence. 

Individuals with limitations need to accept them and not let them become a hindrance to their life's successes.  By learning to cope with limitations, individuals are able to better develop and maintain a positive attitude." 

Team Minot is made up of all kinds of people from different countries, religions, etc. 

"Just keep in mind that it takes all members of Minot Air Force Base to accomplish this mission, and a part of that work force is some very important disabled workers doing their part to promote a strong America," Mr. Putnam added.
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