News Department

Morris County Surrogate Darling applauds reopening of extended employment programs for people with disabilities

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County Surrogate Heather Darling Tuesday joined the many program participants, their families and guardians in celebrating the reopening of state-funded extended employment programs for people with disabilities.

Surrogate Darling has been very vocal in calling on Gov. Phil Murphy and Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL) Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo to restore the programs that employed thousands of individuals with disabilities until they were shut down in March under the Governor’s COVID-19 state of emergency directives. Extended employment providers were recently notified by Commissioner Asaro-Angelo that the re-opening process has begun.

“I am very pleased that the state will reopen these crucial programs that provide employment, jobs and skills training to people with disabilities” Darling said, thanking the Governor and Commissioner.

The programs will be reinstated as their written COVID-19 protocols are individually accepted by the DOL Providers are required to have approved re-opening plans to ensure that all appropriate precautions are being implemented to safeguard extended employees and staff. On Aug 21, 2020, Surrogate Darling sent a letter to the Governor and DOL Commissioner requesting the programs be reopened. The Governor responded on Sept. 2, 2020 by offering federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to reopen the programs, but no reopening dates were provided.

On Sept. 3, Surrogate Darling issued a joint statement with Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (NJ-26) urging the Governor to provide a specific date for the reopening. Surrogate Darling also worked with extended employment programs, their directors and advocates in a campaign for the reopening, sharing posts and videos on social media and calling for others to write letters or sign onto existing letters in support of reopening the programs.

“The lives of people in the disabilities community have been severely impacted. It is crucial that they be able to return to work and resume as much of a normal life as every other citizen in New Jersey, and now they will,” Darling said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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