October has been designated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is a time to celebrate the many contributions of American employees with disabilities in workplaces across the country.
The theme for this year is “My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am.” The theme is intended to convey the message that people with disabilities have many aspects to their lives, including their disabilities and work experiences, and that their disabilities do not define them.
NDEAM is intended to raise awareness about issues related to disability in employment and to celebrate the contributions of past and present American workers with disabilities. Employers and co-workers should look at everything that workers with disabilities can contribute.
The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has also created a “Who I Am” television public service announcement that is currently airing nationwide. It features a diverse group of nine people with disabilities, some of which are obvious and some of which are not. They share some of the many ways they describe themselves and their lives.
NDEAM began in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to include people with all types of disabilities. The campaign was expanded to a month in 1988, and its name was changed to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. ODEP was given responsibility for NDEAM when it was created in 2001.
We encourage employers across the country to recognize the contributions of workers with disabilities this month and throughout the year. People with all types of disabilities work in a wide array of occupations and prove that it is possible to overcome challenges and succeed in the workplace. We support people with disabilities and salute employers who hire them.