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October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

September 27, 2017

The official theme of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Disability Employment Policy’s (ODEP) National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this October is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a nationwide campaign observed each October that raises awareness about disability employment issues, celebrates the skills and talents of workers with disabilities, and educates about the value of a diverse workforce.

ODEP offers a range of resources to help organizations plan NDEAM observances, including official posters in English and Spanish, as well as sample articles, a press release, proclamation, and social media content.

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."

NDEAM can and should continue beyond October. The Department of Labor lists 10 activities in which employers can engage to advance disability inclusion throughout the year. Visit the DOL webpage and learn how to keep the momentum going.

For more information about NDEAM, and specific ideas on how different types of organizations can participate in the month-long observance, visit the National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2017 webpage.