National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Oct 06, 2011
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For those who may not be aware, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme for NDEAM 2011 is “Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities,” which promotes the valuable contributions people with disabilities make to America’s workplaces and economy. The theme honors the contributions of workers with disabilities, and serves to inform the public that they represent a highly skilled talent pool that can help employers compete in today’s global economy.

“Return on investment means hiring the right talent,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Workers with disabilities represent all skill sets and are ready to get the job done. This year’s theme focuses on improving employment opportunities that lead to good jobs and a secure economic future for people with disabilities and the nation as a whole.”

The National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates all the way back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” Then in 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress decided to expand the week to a month; then changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

Since the establishment of the Office of Disability Employment Policy in 2001, they have taken the responsibility of running “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.” Each year, NDEAM has increased awareness in public and has gained so much support since its beginning. Employers, schools and organizations of all sizes, and in all communities are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.

The ODEP offers its services and provides variety of resources to help individuals/organizations participate in this yearly event. Activity ideas can consist of putting up a simple NDEAM poster or mplementing a disability education program. Regardless, any part in fostering a more inclusive America, one where every person is rightly recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month.

Author: Jenny Carlton