5 Ways to Raise Awareness for National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Goodwill® recognizes and commends National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this October and urges all employers, including the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, to hire people with disabilities. This year’s theme for NDEAM, administered by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, is “#InclusionWorks,” which underscores the important role played by workers with disabilities in enhancing workplace diversity.
Inclusion is not only an inherent driver of Goodwill’s shared aspirations for people with disabilities, but it is grounded in choice and the ability to earn wages. Goodwill aspires for all people, including people with disabilities, to reach their potential, enhance their quality of life, and experience integration, pride, self-sufficiency and social acceptance.
However, more work needs to be done to educate employers and support people with disabilities. Approximately one in five Americans has a disability and they make up nearly 20 percent of America’s workforce, yet their unemployment rate is more than twice that of workers without disabilities. As an advocate, here are some ideas that could be encouraged in your workplace to raise awareness.
- Put Up a Poster:
October is a great time to freshen up bulletin boards for the upcoming season. Kick off the Fall season by posting the flyer below to your workplace, schools, libraries, or other locations within the community.
- Review Policies:
For employers, NDEAM is a great time to review policies to ensure an inclusive workplace culture. For more information, read https://www.dol.gov/odep/pdf/BusinessStrategiesThatWork.pdf
- Participate in Disability Mentoring Day:
Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for youth with disabilities through hands-on programs, job shadowing and ongoing mentoring.
- Educate about Disability History:
Despite the number of people with disabilities in the U.S. and the fact that they represent all races, classes and cultures, many people are unaware of the rich history of the disability movement. To see major milestone in disability history and resources to amplify awareness, see Disability History: An Important Part of America’s Heritage.
- Share the “I Can” PSA:
The Campaign for Disability Employment’s award-winning “I Can” Public Service Announcement (PSA) features seven people with disabilities — not actors — sharing what they can do when given the opportunity. NDEAM is a great time to share it among friends and family as a way to reinforce the campaign’s core message that “at work, it’s what people CAN do that matters.”