- Matthew Ivan
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (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. The theme for 2016 is "#InclusionWorks"
NDEAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." Upon its establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.
This month we ask "What Can YOU Do?"
YOU can support the Campaign for Disability Employment’s “What can YOU do?” initiative and play an important role in improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
“What can YOU do?” is a positive outreach initiative aimed at increasing the employment rate of people with disabilities by challenging common misperceptions. It sends a clear message: people with disabilities want to work and their talents and abilities benefit businesses both financially and organizationally. By implementing good workplace practices, such as maintaining a flexible and inclusive work environment, businesses can capitalize on the talents of qualified people with disabilities. All it takes is recognizing the value they add to the workplace and fostering a work culture welcoming of the talents of all individuals.
We encourage organizations of all sizes and in all industries to join our effort. There are many ways to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities and show your support for the “What can YOU do?” initiative. Here are a couple YOU can do now:
1. Hire, Retain and Advance People with Disabilities. Businesses that are inclusive of people with disabilities – in hiring, retention and advancement – benefit from a wider pool of talent, skills, and creative business solutions. Additionally, fostering a work environment that is flexible and open to the talents of all qualified individuals, including those with disabilities, actually promotes workplace success for everyone.
2. Be a Mentor. Be a mentor by inspiring youth with disabilities to achieve their career aspirations. It is important that each individual is valued for his or her skills and talents, and that youth with disabilities are supported and encouraged to dream big when it comes to developing career goals. Today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders. And if you are a youth with a disability, tell us what you WILL do!