Businesses asked to consider employing disabledPublished 6:16am Friday, October 5, 2012
Special to The Post-Searchlight
U.S. President Barack Obama has officially proclaimed October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“I urge all Americans to embrace the talents and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all people,” Obama said, in a statement.
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.
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed, to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“Employers who ensure that inclusive workplace policies and practices are woven into the fabric and culture of the organization create an environment that encourages all workers — including those of us with disabilities — to work to their full capacity and contribute fully to the organization’s success,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy.
The theme of this year’s awareness month is “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can You Do?” The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) leads National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep.