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October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

September 26, 2018

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 “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.

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, a 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.

“A workforce that empowers everyone is good for job seekers as well as job creators,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Over the past year, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities has significantly declined. Continued steady job creation will provide even more opportunities for all Americans to get hired and provide for their families.”

The theme of NDEAM can and should continue beyond October. The Department of Labor lists 10 ideas that employers can use to promote a disability-friendly workplace 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 2018 webpage.