Nation Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a time during which many people reflect on both the progress that has been made towards the full employment of people with disabilities and the long way that we still have to go. This year’s theme was “#Inclusion Works.” First instituted in 1945, Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) offers template press releases and other materials every year to help disability service providers and others celebrate the month.
A variety of service providers, federal agencies, and others celebrated NDEAM. This included state and federal agencies that provide services which include or facilitate employment for people with disabilities, some of which are supported by Medicaid. Here are some of many examples:
- The White House hosted several events and an Opening and Closing Session on NDEAM, celebrating the federal government’s success at increasing the number of employees with disabilities in its ranks
- The Administration for Community Living celebrated NDEAM by posting a blog on their website;
- Illinois’ federal agencies, including its Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS), which offer health care and long-term services and supports, held multiple events around the month’s theme; and
- Colorado State University created a series of dialogues on disability, including one on how mental health impacts productivity in the workplace.
The U.S. Department of Labor also released the Medical- and Disability-Related Leave Advisor tool to close out the month. This tool helps employers and employees understand the medical and disability-related leave that employees are entitled to, by asking a series of questions to determine which federal laws apply.
ODEP is committed to increasing the number of people with disabilities engaged in competitive integrated employment in their communities. For more information, visit the ODEP NDEAM webpage.