Unique Dining Experience Serves Up Disability Awareness
Individuals with disabilities prove they are ready, willing and able to work
MINNEAPOLIS (September 27, 2019) — The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), partnered to advocate for equal rights for all individuals with Down syndrome through C21, a unique dining experience on Sept. 26 held at the Muse Events Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The C21 event, named for the extra twenty-first chromosome people with Down syndrome have, was first held in Washington, D.C. in 2017 to demonstrate to the world that individuals with Down syndrome are ready, willing and able to work. Since then, it has expanded to other cities in which NDSS and Voya have a strong presence.
“We are proud to have brought C21 to Minneapolis, home office to one of Voya’s major businesses and home to many of our employees,” said Rob Grubka, president, Voya Employee Benefits. “Voya’s mission is to help all Americans retire better – and achieve the financial future they envision. Bringing light to the incredible abilities of our neighbors, friends and family with disabilities and special needs is a natural extension of our mission.”
At the first C21, NDSS announced its End Law Syndrome campaign, an initiative to raise awareness of a series of antiquated laws that hinder individuals with Down syndrome from pursuing their career aspirations and living independently. NDSS and Voya through C21 will focus on the passage of the bipartisan H.R.1377, Transitioning to Integrated, Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act. This legislation seeks to responsibly phase-out an 80-year-old law in section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which still allows employers to pay wages less than the federal minimum wage to workers who have disabilities.
“C21 is an exceptional event where individuals with Down syndrome are provided with an amazing opportunity to demonstrate their working abilities to community and business leaders, employers and to everyone else and that they are deserving of being valuable members of the work-force,” said Kandi Pickard, President and CEO of NDSS. “As the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, it is our mission to work toward a world in which all individuals with Down syndrome have the same rights as every other American – including the right to a quality career.”
The National Down Syndrome Society is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive programming to all individuals with Down syndrome and their families with four main areas of programming, which include the National Advocacy & Policy Center, the National Inclusive Health & Sports Program featuring our National Buddy Walk® Program, Community Outreach and Resources and Public Awareness. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information visit www.ndss.org.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13.8 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $8.5 billion in revenue in 2018. The company had $560 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2019. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company®. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has been recognized as one of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; as a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index; and as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index by Disability:IN. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.