People with disabilities, service providers, and advocates gathered under the golden dome Wednesday for Disability Awareness Day.

People shared their personal stories with lawmakers, hoping for more inclusive laws.

The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights is pushing for legislation that would improve their quality of life by increasing wages for direct care workers. 

Governor Phil Scott also recognized 18 companies around the state for their efforts in hiring people with disabilities. 

According to his committee, more than 40,000 Vermonters with disabilities remain unemployed. 

“All of us through our work have made friends, felt productive, and created an identity,” said Donna Curtin, Chair of the Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. “We are just looking for the same for people with disabilities, to have that opportunity to make employment a big part of their lives.”

Advocates say hiring people with disabilities is also a good way to help grow the state’s workforce in a tight labor market.