US Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy announces theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month October 2013
“Because We Are EQUAL to the Task” is the theme of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Chosen by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the theme reflects the reality that people with disabilities have the education, training, experience and desire to be successful in the workplace.
“When I was growing up, many people doubted what I could do just because I was blind. But because I had people in my life who instilled in me an expectation of work and showed me opportunities to be successful, I completed college and became known for what I can do,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “I urge all employers to benefit from the skills of workers with disabilities by giving them, including our returning veterans, a chance to show that they, too, are equal to the task.”
This year’s theme echoes the message of ODEP’s ongoing Campaign for Disability Employment to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities and expand ideas about what youths with disabilities can do when they receive encouragement and support for their ambitions. Conducted in collaboration with business and disability organizations, the campaign emphasizes that, at work, it is what people can do that matters. More information about the Campaign for Disability Employment is available at http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org.
Recognized in some form since 1945 when Congress designated a week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week,” National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a culmination of ODEP’s year-long efforts to raise awareness about the value of employing people with disabilities.
The theme is announced well in advance of October to enable communities throughout the nation to plan announcements and activities to recognize the month and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Such activities include proclamations, public awareness programs and job fairs that enhance awareness, create opportunities, or showcase the abilities and talents of workers with disabilities. Resources for participation and more information are available on ODEP’s Web pages at http://www.dol.gov/odep by selecting NDEAM from among the topics listed.