October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Held each year, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that helps raise awareness about people with disabilities in the workforce. This campaign brings attention to the issues and the many wonderful contributions that people with disabilities offer at work.
In 1945 Congress enacted a law announcing the first week in October every year to be, “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” However, in 1962 the word ‘physically’ was deemed to be incorrect and was removed. By removing the word ‘physically’ it included people with all types of disabilities. Then in 1988 Congress extended the allotted week to the entire month of October. Additionally, they changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.” By altering the title, it included people with both physical and cognitive disabilities.
In 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) took over control and assumed responsibility for the NDEAM campaign and still manages it to this day. However, grassroots efforts continue to be a main driving force for the success and growth of NDEAM. Participation is encouraged from schools, employers and organizations everywhere. Even simple gestures such as hanging posters or spreading the word about NDEAM can help aid in bringing awareness to the campaign.
Every year the campaign has a different theme, this year the theme song is “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?” To learn more about National Disability Employment Awareness Month check it out here.