The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that “Increasing Access and Opportunity” is the 2020 theme for October’s annual observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
This year is the nation’s 75th observance of NDEAM, which is administered by the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The observance culminates the Department’s commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Ensuring that America’s workplaces continue to include and accommodate people with disabilities will be an important part of our economic rebound,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “Looking ahead, the Department will remain focused on the policies that led to a strong economy and record-low unemployment rates for persons with disabilities prior to the pandemic. A vigorous economic rebound and job growth will, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase access and opportunity for Americans with disabilities.”
“People with disabilities are experienced problem solvers with a proven ability to adapt,” said Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary, Jennifer Sheehy. “Now more than ever, flexibility is important for both workers and employers. National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the ingenuity people with disabilities bring to America’s workplaces.”
Each October, NDEAM celebrates America’s workers with disabilities and reminds employers of the importance of inclusive hiring practices. In 1945, Congress declared the first week of October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was dropped to include individuals with all types of disabilities. Congress expanded the week to a month in 1988, and changed the commemoration to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
With its 2001 establishment, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM. The agency’s efforts include selection of NDEAM’s annual theme, announced earlier in the year to enable organizations nationwide to plan their own observances. Employers of any size, in any industry – as well as community organizations, advocacy groups and schools – are encouraged to participate.
For more information about NDEAM, including ideas for how your organization can participate, visit www.dol.gov/ndeam. The website also features the 2020 NDEAM poster, highlighting ADA’s 30th anniversary.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.