For over 70 years, the month of October has been a time to celebrate the diversity that disability brings to our workforce. National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a nationwide campaign managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), is a chance to raise awareness of disability employment issues, such as the fact that only 20 percent of people with disabilities are actively in the workforce.
The official theme of this year’s NDEAM is “#InclusionDrivesInnovation.” By incorporating a hashtag into the name, ODEP encourages individuals and organizations to start discussions on social media about the many ways that disability “inclusion drives innovation.”
NDEAM dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." The word "physically" was deleted in 1962 to acknowledge individuals across the spectrum of disabilities. The week was expanded to a month by Congress in 1988, and its name changed to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. When ODEP was created in 2001, it was given responsibility for NDEAM, including the selection of its annual theme."Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. "Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition, and drives innovation."
ODEP offers a range of resources to help organizations observe NDEAM, including downloadable posters in English and Spanish, as well as sample articles, a press release, proclamation and social media content.
National Disability Institute (NDI) is proud to add our name to the many organizations, government agencies, companies and advocates who will spend this month promoting opportunities for people with disabilities to have competitive, integrated employment. We hope that you’ll join us.
Throughout the month, NDI will be sharing a host of NDEAM blogs and resources, so be sure to visit the NDI blog and to follow NDI on Facebook and Twitter. Our resources will be categorized on social media with the hashtag #NDI4NDEAM.