Empowering Workers with Disabilities to Reach Their Goals

Goodwill® Joins Department of Labor to Mark National Disability Employment Awareness Month

ROCKVILLE, MD— This October, Goodwill Industries International and local, community-based Goodwill organizations highlight the contributions of American workers with disabilities during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

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.

“We believe that awareness leads to empowerment,” said Brad Turner-Little, senior director of strategy at Goodwill Industries International. “If you’re facing hurdles to finding a job or advancing your career, we want you to know that your local Goodwill can provide the support you need. From résumé preparation to transportation assistance to educational credentials and employment placement, we offer an array of services and programs for people who are looking for work.”

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.”

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities has fallen steadily since 2009. But it remains more than double the rate for people without a disability—8.0 percent versus 3.8 percent in August 2018.

“Work has always been part of my life. I’ve always worked,” said Elliott, a federal employee in Indianapolis. He spent most of his career in security jobs, until he lost both his legs in two separate accidents.

He enrolled in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) through Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, and was placed in a federal agency for training.

“You get additional skills, and it makes you more employable,” said Elliott, “The Goodwill staff stresses that they will help you. It may be a housing situation. It may be a physical disability. It may be a lack of training. They are there to help you.”

Elliott was eventually hired into a full time position, working at the front desk of the agency where he trained.

“I love it. I greet the public and give them information,” he said. “I will be there until they kick me out!”

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 Industries International (GII) is a network of 161 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. GII is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the organization’s highest rating for charities. For the past three years, Goodwill was ranked in the top five brands that inspired consumers the most with its mission in the World Value Index commissioned by the creative agency, enso. Goodwill has been on the Forbes‘ list of top 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years – the only nonprofit featured on that list

Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that offer job placement and training services, and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,300 stores collectively and online at http://shopgoodwill.com®.

Goodwill helps people facing challenges to finding employment including people with disabilities; veterans and military families; youth and young adults; older workers; people reintegrating into society; and others working to advance their careers. Local Goodwill organizations build revenues and expand employment opportunities by contracting with commercial, state, government and non-government organizations to provide a wide range of business services, including janitorial and grounds maintenance, flexible staffing, food service, manufacturing and contracts packaging, reverse logistics, document imaging and shredding, and laundry services.

Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed more than 288,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 38 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills, and more than two million people received in-person services.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit goodwill.org, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook and Instagram: GoodwillIntl.

Malini Wilkes
Public Relations and Multimedia Manager
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5523
[email protected]