“Because We Are EQUAL to the TASK” is the 2013 theme for the National Disability Employment Awareness Month. And this theme speaks volumes of the value people with disabilities offer businesses nationwide.
In 1945, Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week."
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, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.
Employment is a gift that adds self-esteem and confidence to people of all abilities. And October reminds us that people with disabilities are employable and have gifts and talents to offer the business world.
The United States Department of Labor offers great ideas to help highlight the mission of NDEAM throughout the month of October:
Day #1 — Put up an NDEAM poster
Day #2 — Review company policies
Day #3 — Train supervisors
Day #4 — Educate employees
Day #5 — Issue an NDEAM press release
Day #6 — Participate in Disability Mentoring Day
Day #7 — Feature NDEAM in social media activities
Day #8 — Establish an ERG
Day #9 — Hold a discussion
Day #10 — Organize an assembly
Day #11 — Educate about disability history
Day #12 — Train front-line staff
Day #13 — Engage student leaders
Day #14 — Feature NDEAM in your magazine or newsletter
Day #15 — Post an NDEAM Web link
Day #16 — Solicit an NDEAM proclamation
Day #17 — Hold an NDEAM "management breakfast" or "brown-bag lunch"
Day #18 — Reach out to local media
Day #19 — Access the WRP
Day #20 — Take advantage of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
Day #21 — Assess IT Accessibility
Day #22 — Join a business organization
Day #23 — Tell us what YOU will do!
Day #24 — Tell us what YOU can do!
Day #25 — Educate about TBI, PTSD and Employment
Day #26 — Share the "I Can" PSA
Day #27 — Share the "Because" PSA
Day #28 — Help Youth Sharpen their "Soft" Skills
Day #29 — Proactively Recruit People with Disabilities
Day #30 — Share what you did!
Day #31 — Subscribe to ODEP's news brief
Thirty-one days of action tasks; each task delivering a message of Real People, Real Jobs, Real Hope (REAP Richmond Entrepreneur's Assistance Program) to people with disabilities.
This national campaign raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.
Help celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Challenge yourself to complete as many of the 31 tasks as possible. Your contribution WILL make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities seeking employment. And, if you are an employer, consider offering a person with a disability employment.
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