National Disability Employment Awareness Month

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October is one of my favorite months of the year! Autumn starts and the weather gets cooler. Most important of all, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). In this article, I explain NDEAM and provide my perspective as an employed individual with a disability.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Disability Employment Policy. According to this article about

NDEAM 2010,

employed individuals with disabilities have been celebrated for a long time. In 1945, a National Physical Disability Employment Awareness Week was created. The celebration was eventually expanded. It now celebrates all Americans with disabilities who are employed by recognizing their contributions. This

Wikipedia article about National Disability Employment Awareness Month

goes into detail about NDEAM’s origin. In summary, the 1945 law I referenced above is National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. The word physical was removed from the law in 1962 to recognize all employed Americans with disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week-long observance to occur for the entire month of October. The same year, Congress also changed the law’s name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Looking back at past NDEAM themes can help readers understand NDEAM’s significance.

NDEAM celebrations are in part through downloadable posters. The about

past NDEAM observances

page goes back 15 years. For example, The

2006 NDEAM theme

was “Americans with Disabilities: Ready for the Global Workforce”. The theme implies that employed Americans with disabilities can benefit the entire world. The

2012 NDEAM theme

was “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What can YOU do?”. I have always been included by my employer, so this theme is particularly relevant for me. As a final theme example, the

2016 NDEAM theme

was “#InclusionWorks”. It demonstrates that inclusion is beneficial for both the individual employee with a disability and the employer. It is also worth noting the variety of additional

NDEAM resources

available on the U.S. Department of Labor’s web site. They include sample proclamations, sample NDEAM articles and a sample press release. I end this blog post reflecting on how NDEAM and its themes apply to me as an employed individual with a disability.

NDEAM is important to me because it shows that all employees matter, whether they have a disability or not. The 2006 NDEAM theme makes clear that each person can have an impact on other people. This is evident in the people I have tried to help in various ways over my years of employment. The 2012 theme points out that inclusion can lead to positive outcomes. This fact is evident in my 2018 article

“Reflections On Employment”.

I have always felt included by my employer and been able to acquire or implement workplace accommodations. The 2016 NDEAM theme about inclusion works means inclusion can foster success for both the employer and employee. By including me and accommodating my disability, my employer has acquired a dedicated employee who strives to be successful professionally long-term. In conclusion, National Disability Employment Awareness Month shows the benefits of individuality and collaboration for employers and employees with disabilities.

Question: How are you celebrating NDEAM this year? I will return next week with another article.

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