October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and Sunrise would like to encourage all our employees to participate. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
The theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates back to 1945 when 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.
“Our national recovery from the pandemic cannot be completed without the inclusion of all Americans, in particular people with disabilities,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Their contributions have historically been vital to our nation’s success, and are more important today than ever. We must build an economy that fully includes the talent and drive of those with disabilities.”
Held annually, NDEAM is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Still, its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.
For specific ideas about how Sunrise members can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit www.dol.gov/NDEAM. Suggestions range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to thorough, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an essential part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for their abilities — every day of every month.