October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM recognizes the contributions of workers with disabilities. It’s the perfect time to educate about the value of an inclusive workplace while highlighting the barriers those individuals often face. And since it’s July, you have plenty of time to plan.
This year’s theme, “The Right Talent, Right Now,” focuses on the part workers with disabilities play in the success of America’s economy. That role is especially important now with unemployment at a 50-year low. More people with disabilities are returning to the workforce, according to a recent NPR article – “Many Are Replacing Disability Checks with Paychecks.” With companies struggling to find workers, individuals who couldn’t find a job previously find themselves with new opportunities.
In 1945, Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” That week is now a month, so there’s more time to celebrate. The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) leads NDEAM, but encourages businesses and other organizations to plan and share their NDEAM campaigns and events.
National Disability Institute recognizes the importance of NDEAM and encourages everyone to start planning now for ways to celebrate. Check nationaldisabilityinstitute.org over the next weeks and months for event listings, blogs and observances.
To get started: ODEP offers a 31 Days of NDEAM slideshow and a list of ideas categorized by type of organization. Check out at https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/.