National Disability Employment Awareness Month - 75th Anniversary
Observed annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) raises awareness about disability employment issues, celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities both past and present, and emphasizes the importance of inclusive policies and practices to ensure that all Americans who want to work can work, and have access to services and supports to enable them to do so. With continued advances in such supports, including accessible technology, it is easier than ever before for America's employers to hire people with disabilities in high-demand jobs.
This year’s theme "Increasing Access and Opportunity."
Employers and employees in all industries can participate in and promote NDEAM through a variety of activities such as highlighting NDEAM in employee newsletters or social media, reviewing company policies to ensure they convey a commitment to an inclusive workplace culture, or educating supervisors and employees in understanding their role in fostering such a culture. Learn more about these and other ideas as well as resources available at www.dol.gov/NDEAM.
WDC offers a range of employment-related services aimed at improving education, training and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adult Alexandria residents with disabilities who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits, including:
Ticket to Work Program, which offers people with disabilities an opportunity to achieve greater independence by providing choices in employment services and access to meaningful work.
Video Relay Service, which allows persons who are hard of hearing and individuals with speech impediments to communicate with standard telephone users via a sign language interpreter through a television or computer.
Jaws, a computer program that converts text into speech to allow persons with visual impairments to use a computer.
Zoomtext, a computer program that enlarges images on a computer screen to allow persons with visual impairments to access a computer.
Use this opportunity to improve your awareness and that of others, including employers on the skills and potentials that individuals with differing abilities bring to the workplace. Below are some resources and ways you can get involved, learn more and lead the way for a more inclusive workplace.
Watch CBS 60 Minutes Segments
On October 4, 60 Minutes included two segments related to disability employment. The first segment discusses how a growing number of companies, including JP Morgan, Microsoft, Nissan, Nike, seek out potential employees with autism as they discover the unique skills and capabilities people with autism offer to the prospective employer. The second segment discusses an architect who went blind at age 45 following a brain surgery. A social worker tried to tell him about career alternatives after he lost his sight, but he persisted and says he’s actually gotten better at his job.
Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, reflects on the changes to the way people perform work due to innovations in technology that help workers with disabilities more efficiently do their jobs. "We've come a long way since NDEAM was first observed 75 years ago in how we as a nation talk about the employment of people with disabilities, and today we recognize that accessibility is the key to increasing opportunity," said Sheehy. "During NDEAM 2020, we honor these advancements and commit to building a future that works for all of us."
The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology posted a new episode of its Future of Work podcast series on "How Customer Experience Starts with Accessibility." In this episode, Ted Drake, Global Accessibility Leader at Intuit, discusses accessibility's impact on the customer experience.
Attend Building a Future That Works on October 20, 2-3 p.m.
The U.S. Department of Labor will host a virtual celebration of the 75th annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. "Building a Future that Works" will explore the crucial role of accessible technology in relation to this year's NDEAM theme of "Increasing Access and Opportunity" for people with disabilities, and the Labor Department's work to ensure that emerging technologies are accessible to all in the workplace. Features will include insightful dialogues with thought leaders and a video showcase of the latest innovations in communications, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and more. Register now.