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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Entering the fourth quarter of 2019, the U.S. economy is very strong and forecasts predict continued growth. Typically a positive economy is also a good indicator of the unemployment rate, which is currently hovering around 3.5% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, September, 2019). It has been said, even if anecdotally, that if someone wants to work, they can easily find a job in today’s economy.

But what if the person seeking employment has some form of a disability? Are the same employment opportunities available and does the same positive outlook statistically apply to job seekers with a disability?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics an adult with a disability is twice as likely to be unemployed as one without (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019).

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a program designed to raise awareness about employment issues faced by individuals with disabilities. NDEAM also celebrates the significant contributions made by America's workers with disabilities. NDEAM began in 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year the "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week."

"The Right Talent, Right Now" is the theme for NNDEAM’s 2019 campaign which is celebrating and raising awareness concerning increasing employment opportunities for job candidates with a disability.

What can employers and employees do? According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, there are several ways to participate in NDEAM, including:

  • Reviewing employer workplace policies; 
  • Establishing an employee resource group; 
  • Providing nondiscriminationtraining supervisors;
  • Educating employees regarding diversity in the workplace; 
  • Publishing articles relating to diversity in the workplace and workplace accommodation; 
  • Featuring NDEAM in social media activities; 
  • Issuing an NDEAM-related press release; and
  • Participating in Disability Mentoring Day.

To participate in NDEAM and help celebrate “The Right Talent, Right Now”

a photo-sharing campaign has been created through www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org/celebrate-ndeam/ using the hashtag #RightTalentRightNow. There are also assets available for use in your own office including a downloadable “I’m The Right Talent, Right Now” sign.

At Nichols Kaster, we advocate for the rights of all employees and work to ensure quality in the workplace, including access to reasonable accommodations.