This year marks the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which is observed annually in October. NDEAM raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
This year’s theme is “Increasing Access and Opportunity.” As the nation continues to be effected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to increase the participation of workers with disabilities in the nation’s workforce.
“Ensuring that America’s workplaces continue to include and accommodate people with disabilities will be an important part of our economic rebound,” says U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “Looking ahead, the Department will remain focused on the policies that led to a strong economy and record-low unemployment rates for persons with disabilities prior to the pandemic. A vigorous economic rebound and job growth will, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase access and opportunity for Americans with disabilities.”
NDEAM’s 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 participate in NDEAM.
“People with disabilities are experienced problem solvers with a proven ability to adapt,” says Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary, Jennifer Sheehy. “Now more than ever, flexibility is important for both workers and employers. National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the ingenuity people with disabilities bring to America’s workplaces.”
NDEAM celebrates America’s workers with disabilities and reminds employers of the importance of inclusive hiring practices. NDEAM began in 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The word “physically” was deleted in 1962 to include individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to NDEAM. Since 2001, NDEAM has been administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
Find out more about NDEAM
Read the Presidential Proclaimation