National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Increasing Access and Opportunity
“A vigorous economic rebound and job growth will, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase access and opportunity for Americans with disabilities.” – U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia
This year marks the 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which is observed each October to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the skills and talents of workers with disabilities. As the economy and the country adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, the official theme of NDEAM, “Increasing Access and Opportunity,” is crucial to building a flexible and diverse workforce that will drive an economic rebound for all Americans.
The U.S Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) offers a range of resources to help employers and other organizations such as educators and youth service professionals, state governors, legislators, and other policymakers recognize NDEAM. As organizations plan events to acknowledge NDEAM, ODEP resources, including an official poster, as well as sample articles, a press release, a proclamation, and social media content may offer inspiration.
The forerunner of NDEAM dates back to 1945, when Congress dedicated the first week in October to its observance. 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.
The theme of “Increasing Access and Opportunity” must continue beyond October. ODEP is sharing Ten Ways to Foster the NDEAM Spirit Year-Round that employers can use to promote a disability-friendly workplace throughout the year and keep the momentum going.