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National Disability Employment Awareness Month’s theme is #InclusionWorks

Image of 2016 National Disability Month Poster

National Disability Employment Awareness Month’s theme is #InclusionWorks

The theme for October 2016’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDREM) is “Inclusion Works.” Mirroring current social media trends, it is being displayed as a graphic which reads #InclusionWorks. 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.

In Portland, two events that address the theme for October are the City of Portland’s event to introduce job seekers with disabilities to employment opportunities with the City on October 12 and Oregon Health Science University’s Night for Networking (N4N) on October 26. Night for Networking is from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Collaborative Life Sciences Building at 2730 SW Moody Avenue at Portland’s South Waterfront. More information about both events is in the current issue of the Disability NEWS.

President Barack Obama began celebrating the month with a presidential proclamation and expressing that his administration is dedicated to upholding the nation’s promise of equal opportunity for all and advancing employment for people with disabilities in every community. He acknowledged that there is still far to go to raise awareness of discriminatory obstacles which individuals with disabilities encounter in employment. Adding that the labor force participation rate for Americans with disabilities is less than one-third the rate of those without a disability and the unemployment rate is more than twice as high for individuals with disabilities.

President Obama noted that since signing an executive order to have the Federal Government lead by example as a model employer, it now employs more Americans with disabilities than any time in the last 30 years. He called attention to updates in the Rehabilitation Act to increase representation of workers with disabilities in the Federal contractor workforce, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to help build initiatives that advance employment opportunities, and new regulations to provide greater and more inclusive career development and training opportunities for anyone facing barriers to employment.

Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign celebrating the skills and talents workers with disabilities bring to our workplaces. Led nationally by Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), NDEAM’s true spirit lies in the many grassroots observances held nationwide every year. Each spring, the theme for each year’s celebration is announced to help organizations and groups plan their events.

NDEAM’s history dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was dropped to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, the federal legislature expanded the week to a month and changed the name to NDEAM. When the department established ODEP in 2001, the agency assumed responsibility for NDEAM. More information about ODEP is available on its website. There’s additional information and resources for NDREM, including ideas for celebrating the month and downloadable posters to display.