For the next 31 days, National Disability Institute (NDI) is celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
First organized in 1945, and now it its 70th year, the month-long initiative has become the banner observance in the disability community ‒ with countless federal agencies, nonprofits, state and local governments, persons with disabilities, their friends and families, and disability advocates ‒ for raising awareness about disability employment issues and recognizing the significant contributions of American workers with disabilities.
As such, NDI adds its name to the chorus of like-minded organizations and Americans supporting NDEAM and this year’s theme of: “my disability is one part of who I am.” It is true, disability represents only a facet of an individual’s life; disability does not encompass one’s entire self. In that spirit, we are working tirelessly to drive this very point home.
For far too long in America, living with a disability has been connected to a life sentence of poverty. Currently, the poverty rate for persons with disabilities is two times the national average, and nearly one in three people with disabilities live in poverty. These statistics are only exacerbated by the lack of meaningful employment opportunities for those living with disabilities. This is why, since our founding in 2005, we have been leading the charge to improve the economic reality of and build a brighter financial future for Americans with disabilities.
Here, at NDI, we stand committed to ensuring Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to pursue meaningful, competitive and integrated employment options. Through the work of our LEAD Center - known formally as the National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities ‒ we are advocating and advancing individual and systems level change to improve employment and economic self-sufficiency outcomes for all people across the spectrum of disability.
Going forward, NDI will continue to do everything in its power to see that all Americans have equal opportunity to work, live independently and achieve their American dreams.
During October, please please be sure to check NDI’s Facebook, Twitter (@RealEconImpact), blog and website often, as we will be providing numerous updates, resources and tools. Additionally, you may find it helpful to check out ODEP’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month webpage. Finally, be sure to join in the conversation online, use and search for the hashtag: #NDEAM.