The crispness of autumn brings a smell of transition into the air. As the summertime frolics of sunshine melt into falling leaves and cooler temperatures, we think the timing could not be more perfect to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). October marks the full-month awareness of championing people with disabilities in the workplace while simultaneously pushing for great numbers to join the ranks. We are celebrating over 70 years of constructive thoughts and powerful actions, especially as we still feel the charge from the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act from this past July, 2015.
The theme of this year’s celebration campaign is centralized around the individual concept of “Inclusion Works”, or for social media, #InclusionWorks.
To reflect the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy announced that the theme of 2016’s official National Disability Employment Awareness Month is “#InclusionWorks.”
“By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges,” said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Our nation’s most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation.”
As we gear up to celebrate and spread awareness, we hope that this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month will be a more individualistic experience. Occasionally, people feel without a voice as they struggle around identifying with a disability. There is denial and anger, but by allowing a safe and inclusive place to give a voice, as so many organizations are committing to for NDEAM, the negativity can be transformed into positive energy. At Accessibility Partners, we vow to do that.
As encouraged by the NDEAM site, Accessibility Partners is ready to take the pledge. Truly, most workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities. They are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy, as well as serve as an empowering place where the abilities of all can shine. In this spirit, Accessibility Partners is recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month to raise awareness about inclusive disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities. Our entire staff will reinforce the value and talent people with disabilities add to our workplaces and communities and affirm our commitment to an inclusive community.
While we hope to set an example ourselves, Accessibility Partners cannot do this alone. That is not the point of this October of action. It is a month of community to support the individual. We call upon employers spanning every level of business, schools, Federal agencies, and other community organizations across the country to observe NDEAM with appropriate programs and activities. This also comprises advancing its message that people with disabilities are up to the task throughout the year.
Accessibility Partners will keep you posted throughout the month on our progress, and other organizations doing the same. Get active, and stay informed. Remember, disability might be one part of who the individual is, but by including the voices of other, we can flourish in a chorus of accessibility.