We celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month throughout the month of October. During this month, take the time to learn more about employment matters that impact disabled people, and the vast range of positive contributions made by this group of people in our country.
What is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?
The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy reads as follows:
“In recognition of the important role people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive American workforce, the theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2022 will be ‘Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.’ Observed annually in October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices. The annual theme is announced early to facilitate advance planning of events.”
Throughout the country, at the grassroots level, companies and individuals participate in a range of activities to raise awareness about this important cultural issue. Many organizations participate in activities such as simple actions such as putting up a poster, to providing training sessions geared to foster a disability-inclusive work environment.
What You Can Do
To participate, it may be the appropriate time to review your company policies and update them, so they clearly outline your commitment to an inclusive work culture. Some organizations take this time to establish a disability ERG, or “Employee Resource Group.” You can honor this important month by posting positive messages regarding your organization’s commitment to a disability-inclusive workplace to spread the word.
Training and Education
Your team leaders, executives, and other personnel could be asked to participate in training sessions regarding your organization’s hiring policies, and the actions to take to make the workplace comfortable and supportive for people with disabilities. You may choose to hold workshops, seminars, or casual group discussions to educate your employees about the positive contributions of disabled persons, your company’s policies regarding this issue, and how an inclusive approach one facet of building a positive company culture.
The Power of Inclusion in the Workplace
Employers are facing a tough job market, with intense competition. With job vacancies far exceeding applicants, it makes sense to seek a more diverse recruitment pool. Many companies are discovering untold talent in the community of disabled persons. With 15.1 million working age individuals with disabilities, company owners are discovering an untapped resource of very capable and talented candidates. An inclusive approach that makes the workplace accommodating for disabled persons is likely to find that the increases on the bottom line far outstrip any cost associated with putting accommodations in place.
Take the First Step.
If you have not considered the advantages of greater inclusiveness for the disabled in your business, National Disability Employment Awareness Month provides you with the opportunity to take stock of where your company stands on this important issue and review your company’s hiring policies and processes to create a stronger culture of inclusion.
Show Your Support.
Show your support and commitment to an inclusive workplace and participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month by taking the next step in the path to a happier, more productive society.
It’s the perfect time to remind ourselves to plan ahead for the ones we love.