Determination Radiates During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Currently, there are far too many adults with blindness or visual impairments who are fully capable of succeeding and thriving in the workplace but are unemployed or underemployed. Adults who are blind or visually impaired have a wide range of skills and strengths that certainly make them well-suited and qualified for a variety of jobs. It’s time to for us to help employers become more aware of their potential in an effort to expand employment opportunities for adults with visual impairments.

Image showing the 2013 National Disability Employment Awareness Month Poster (English)

Information from the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy:

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Held each October, the theme for 2013 is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.”

NDEAM’s roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” About 17 years later in 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

Upon its establishment in 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.

  Image showing the 2013 National Disability Employment Awareness Month poster (Spanish)

And Now a Word From the POTUS

A Proclamation By The President of The United States of America Barack Obama

“Our Nation has always drawn its strength from the differences of our people, from a vast range of thought, experience, and ability. Every day, Americans with disabilities enrich our communities and businesses. They are leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators, each with unique talents to contribute and points of view to express. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we nurture our culture of diversity and renew our commitment to building an American workforce that offers inclusion and opportunity for all.”

“Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have made great progress in removing barriers for hardworking Americans. Yet today, only 20 percent of Americans with disabilities, including veterans who became disabled while serving our country, participate in our labor force. We need their talent, dedication, and creativity, which is why my Administration proudly supports increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities. To that end, I remain dedicated to implementing Executive Order 13548, which called on Federal agencies to increase recruitment, hiring, and retention of people with disabilities. As a result of our efforts, the Federal Government is hiring people with disabilities at a higher rate than at any point in over three decades. Most recently, we updated the rules to make sure Federal contractors and subcontractors are doing more to recruit, hire, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities, including disabled veterans. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, States are taking advantage of new options to support and expand home and community-based services.”

“In the years to come, I will remain committed to ensuring the Federal Government leads by example. This year, as we mark the 40th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act, I will continue to marshal the full resources of my Administration toward effective and comprehensive implementation.”

“If we swing wide the doors of opportunity for our family, friends, and neighbors with disabilities, all of us will enjoy the benefits of their professional contributions. This month, let us uphold the ideals of equal access, equal opportunity, and a level playing field for all Americans.”

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2013 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to embrace the talents and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all people.”

“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.”

BARACK OBAMA

For a few interesting NDEAM resources, visit Diversity Inc.

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This post was written by Jeff Frcho

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