By Office of Disability Employment Policy
Special to GUIDON
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced “The Right Talent, Right Now” as the theme for the 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
The theme emphasizes the essential role that people with disabilities play in America’s economic success, especially in an era when historically low unemployment and global competition are creating a high demand for skilled talent. The Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy administers NDEAM.
“Every day, individuals with disabilities add significant value and talent to our workforce and economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Individuals with disabilities offer employers diverse perspectives on how to tackle challenges and achieve success. Individuals with disabilities have the right talent, right now.”
Observed annually in October, NDEAM celebrates 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.
NDEAM traces its beginnings to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962, the use of the word “physically” ceased to include individuals with all types of disabilities.
In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to NDEAM. In 2001, the Department established ODEP and it assumed responsibility for NDEAM, which includes annual theme selection to facilitate advanced event planning by businesses and community organizations that support the employment of people with disabilities.
ODEP welcomes organizations interested in participating to learn more about NDEAM at https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/.
To read about the Army and its contributions to employment opportunities for disabled people, see page A5.