Declared in 1988 by the United States Congress, October is recognized as National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is a time to celebrate and educate the importance of employing people with disabilities. Seventy percent of working-aged American’s who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed. This figure is unacceptably high given the abundance of assistive technology available and record low unemployment rates among the general population.
This year’s theme for NDEAM is Advancing Access and Equity. An inclusive workforce is a strong workforce. It is critical to recognize the importance of ensuring all people have equal opportunity to contribute their skills and talents by providing the resources needed to succeed. NDEAM counters negative attitudes and misunderstandings that persist and lead to unequal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
How can you celebrate NDEAM?
- Review the American Disability Act of 1990
- Learn general disability awareness/etiquette
- Take a training course on disability-focused workplace training programs
- Read about EARN: Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion
Spread the word!
- Support Disability Awareness Month at work, at school, and through social media
- Publish articles that bring about awareness of inclusion
- Stay updated through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s news page
Be an advocate!
- Commit to making your community accessible to people with different disabilities
- Support artists with disabilities
- Participate in protests and demonstrations on disability issues
- Join and/or donate to disability organizations you like
- Talk about disability issues with friends, family, classmates, and coworkers
Inclusive apprenticeship programs help employers access a wider talent pool. Learn how to start or expand an apprenticeship program: dol.gov/agencies/odep/program-areas/apprenticeship
The Job Accommodation Network helps employers increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities: AskJAN.org
Want to hire a diverse, talented workforce? This free online toolkit from AskJAN.org/toolkit has tools to create a more disability-inclusive and compliant workplace
Employers: Are you using accessible technology to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities? The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology can help: PEATWorks.org
The Campaign for Disability Employment, an initiative of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, offers PSAs and more that employers can incorporate into National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrations: WhatCanYouDoCampaign.org
For more information about #NDEAM visit dol.gov/ndeam