Senator Danny Carroll, R-Benton, has been named a Willie Byrd Legislative Award recipient by the Association for People Supporting Employment First (APSE). The award recognizes Carroll’s efforts on behalf of Kentuckians with disabilities. Carroll was the primary sponsor of the 2022 Legislative Session’s Senate Bill 104, which makes Kentucky an Employment First state, establishing an “Employment First” council.
The council works alongside state agencies to implement job training, coordinate outreach efforts and share information with the goal of eliminating disincentives for employment of people with disabilities, developing resources and outreach for families, self-advocates, providers and employers on the benefits of integrated employment, increasing employment opportunities and encouraging integrated employment for employers.
During that same legislative year, Carroll also sponsored Senate Bill 94, which passed into law and expanded eligibility for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program to include students with Intellectual Disabilities enrolled in Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs (CTPs).
Willie Byrd Legislative Award is given to someone who has supported and promoted the employment of people with significant disabilities through legislation and/or legislative efforts. Consideration for this award is given to a legislator and/or individuals who have worked effectively within the legislative and advocacy realm to ensure that people with significant disabilities have the opportunity to work.
“I am grateful for this recognition and truly appreciate the focus and efforts of APSE,” Carroll said. “Like the organization, my top priority is helping those who need us and showing those with special needs what a vital part of our world they are. I hope we can continue to increase opportunities for those with disabilities because our businesses and communities are all the better for it.”
Carroll serves as Senate Families and Children Committee chair and most recently sponsored Senate Bill 160 in the 2023 Legislative Session. The bill clarifies the criteria for monies deposited or withdrawn from STABLE Kentucky Accounts, which the Kentucky State Treasury administers for individuals with certain disabilities. Senate Bill 160 was signed into law on March 31.
APSE is the only national organization focused exclusively on Employment First for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and community, according to the organization’s website. Its members recognize that everyone has abilities to contribute and their work should be recognized and rewarded with fair pay, creating inclusive workplaces.
APSE provided the following statement regarding Carroll’s award recognition:
“Senator Carroll is not new to advocating for Kentuckians with disabilities. He is the president and CEO of Easterseals West Kentucky and the father of Maggie, a young woman with cerebral palsy who has completed the CTP course of study at Murray State University. Under his supervision, Easterseals had a long-running supported employment program and has seen the creation of the Lily Pad, supporting medically fragile children and adults, a much-needed and rarely offered service here in Kentucky, the Lori Center for Autism and a Teen Summer Program.
“We are honored to present this year’s Willie Byrd Legislative Award to Senator Danny Carroll.”
For more information on Senator Danny Carroll and his sponsored legislation, please visit legislature.ky.gov.