October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. This year’s theme—”America’s Workforce: Empowering All” —aligns with Goodwill’s defining mission of providing all workers, including those with disabilities, with job placement and training services.
The origin of NDEAM dates back to 1945, when Congress established a week of recognition for workers with physical disabilities. The period was expanded to a full month in 1988, and now spotlights the employment needs and contributions of workers with all types of disabilities. NDEAM is overseen by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
“A workforce that empowers everyone is good for job seekers as well as job creators,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Continued steady job creation will provide even more opportunities for all Americans to get hired and provide for their families.”
While the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has fallen steadily since 2009, it remains more than double the rate for people without a disability—8.0 percent versus 3.8 percent in August 2018. It is evident that more work needs to be done to educate employers and support people with disabilities. As an advocate, click here for ideas from the US Department of Labor that you can implement in your workplace and community to raise awareness.
Goodwill has a 116-year history of commitment to providing support for job seekers, regardless of ability or circumstance. Last year, Goodwill’s network of 161 organizations helped place more than 288,000 people in jobs, and delivered in-person services to more than two million people in the U.S. and Canada. For more information on NDEAM, visit: www.dol.gov/ndeam.
Goodwill is proud to support people with disabilities year round, but during the month of October, join us in celebrating to contributions of American workers with disabilities – past, present, and future.