Governor Palacios and Lt. Governor Apatang NDEAM 2023 proclamation signing
John Cabrera, second from right, delivers his welcoming remarks during the Proclamation Signing Ceremony for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) at the Governor’s conference room on 9/28/23. Also in photo are Honorable Governor Arnold Palacios, Honorable Lt. Governor David Apatang, and OVR Director Jimbo Rayphand (partially hidden). This year’s theme is “Advancing Access and Equity: Then, Now and Next.”

Welcoming Remarks by SRC Secretary John Cabrera

Good morning everyone. My name is John Cabrera. I am the Secretary for the State Rehabilitation Council, I am a Client Advocate at NMPASI and I am also a self-advocate.

I would like to officially welcome you all to the 2023 National Disability Employment Awareness Month Proclamation Signing.

NDEAM is nationally celebrated every October and is dedicated to both raising awareness about disability employment and promoting the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.

I am moved to be here before you as living proof that disabilities do not have to be barriers to meaningful and rewarding employment. I worked at OVR for 10 years, and have been with NMPASI for 4 years now, with a total of 14 years and counting, being gainfully employed.

I have had the privilege of working in a supportive and inclusive environment, where my abilities are valued over any limitations. My journey has been marked by challenges, resilience, and the unwavering support of family, colleagues, community partners, and employers who believe in the power of diversity and inclusion.

During this month and beyond, let us commit ourselves to the mission of NDEAM, not only in words but in actions. Let us champion the rights and opportunities of individuals with disabilities, ensuring they can fully participate in the workforce and contribute their unique talents to our communities and industries.

I extend my gratitude to all of you for being here today, for your dedication to the cause of disability employment, and for your unwavering support. Together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable future where every individual, regardless of their abilities, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed in the workplace.

Thank you for joining us as we celebrate NDEAM and let us continue to work together to make meaningful change happen.


Proclamation Speech by SRC Vice Chair Preston Basa on Brief History of NDEAM and Rehab Act

preston-basa.jpgPreston Basa, Vice Chairperson, CNMI State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)Hafa Adai & Tirow,

Today, I would like to share a brief history on National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The NDEAM serves as a platform to bring attention to the importance of creating inclusive workplaces that provide equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. It encourages employers to hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities, recognizing the unique skills and perspectives they bring to the workforce. Throughout the month of October, various organizations, employers, advocacy groups, and government agencies across the nation conduct events, workshops, and outreach programs to educate the public about disability employment issues and promote a more inclusive workforce.

A couple of days ago, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of this law. On September 26, 1973, this important law was passed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunities and access to various aspects of life, just like everyone else. Before this law, life was often much harder for people with disabilities. They faced discrimination, and it was tough to get an education or a good job. Imagine a world where some doors are open to you, but others are closed simply because of who you are or the challenges you face. The Rehabilitation Act was designed to change that and open more doors for people with disabilities.

A key part of this law is Section 504. It said that places that got money from the federal government could not discriminate against people with disabilities. They had to make their places and programs accessible to everyone. This was a big deal because it meant that people with disabilities could be a part of everything, just like everyone else.

The impact of this law has been huge. It led the way for laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is still in effect today to make sure that everyone has a fair shot. Thanks to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, we have more accessible buildings, better job opportunities, and more inclusive schools. It is a law that keeps making life better for everyone.

Fundamentally, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is all about ensuring that people with disabilities are not left behind, that they have the same opportunities as everyone else. It is about removing barriers and opening doors.

With that said, let us remember and celebrate this important step in our journey toward a more inclusive and fair society, where everyone, no matter their abilities, can pursue their dreams and live life to the fullest. Together, we can ensure that every individual has the chance to shine and contribute their unique talents to our society.

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Closing Remarks by Susan Satur, Secretary, CNMI Statewide Independent Living Council

susan saturSusan Satur, Secretary, CNMI Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)In closing, we would like to take this opportunity to…

Thank our Governor and Lieutenant Governor for all the continual support provided to the disability community.

Thank you to the CNMI community for becoming more involved and supportive of hiring people with disabilities.

Thank you to all the Disability Network Partners! Always appreciate this amazing team.

Lastly, please come to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated disability training and resource center next Friday, October 6th at 10:00.

alyssa babautaAlyssa Babauta, far left, starts off in the reading of the Proclamation for 2023 NDEAM 

“Advancing Access and Equity: Then, Now and Next” is this year’s theme for our National Disability Employment Awareness Month of October.  This year’s theme was chosen to celebrate the passage of the Rehabilitation Act a half-century ago and its importance in prohibiting discrimination based on disability in employment by federal agencies, federal contractors and recipients of federal funds, and in the delivery of federally-funded programs and activities. We will use this theme to remind ourselves of the valued contributions people with disabilities make in our Nation’s workplaces and to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a major milestone in our Nation’s ongoing quest for access and equity for all Americans.

 glory legaspiGlory Legaspi, second from left, participates in the reading of the Proclamation for 2023 NDEAM.

Workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy. In this spirit, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities. Activities during this month will reinforce the value and talent people with disabilities add to our workplaces and communities and affirm the CNMI’s commitment to an inclusive community.

 nicolas torresNicolas Torres, Chairperson of the CNMI Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), joins his peers in reading the 2023 Proclamation declaring October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

Along with the rest of the United States, we will continue to advance access, equity and full inclusion of our people with disabilities by supporting the activities of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation under the Office of the Governor in partnership with the State Rehabilitation Council, Statewide Independent Living Council, and all other stakeholders.


Click here for NDEAM 2023