National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign held every year for the entire month of October. This campaign is meant to raise awareness about employment issues for those with disabilities while celebrating the many achievements and accomplishments workers with disabilities have contributed. The roots of this month started in 1945 when Congress established a law that stated every October would be the “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The word ‘physically’ was withdrawn in 1962 to recognize the contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. Congress, in 1988, extended the week to a month and changed the name to-National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Office of Disability Employment Policy assumed all responsibility for NDEAM and has continued to develop its expansion ever since.
The U.S. Department of Labor stated that this year’s theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.” This theme was chosen to highlight the vital role that people with disabilities play in the country’s economic success. The U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has stated on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor, “Every day, individuals with disabilities add significant value and talent to our workforce and economy… Individuals with disabilities offer employers diverse perspectives on how to tackle challenges and achieve success. Individuals with disabilities have the right talent, right now.” These perspectives allow the advancements of support, accessibility, and awareness to not only reach individuals with disabilities but also employers. The Office of Disability Employment Policy has created a list of activities for employers and employees regarding how to participate in this month.
When October passes, this awareness campaign will finish, but people with disabilities will always be apart of the workforce year-round long. The Office of Disability Employment Policy has also created a list of strategies for people to use during the year. These ideas include a resource group to support people with disabilities, to providing training classes in every company. Even when this month is over, everyone can still make a difference-together.