Every year in October, the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) launches their annual initiative, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), to celebrate the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is Disability: Part of the Equity Equation, which commemorates the recognition of the important role employees with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive American workforce.
Obtained directly from Bureau of Labor Statistics, collected from the age range of 16 – 64 (which is commonly considered to be the “working-age population”), 37.6% of the population that have a disability are participating in the workforce as of August 2022. That is a jump from 35.1% in August 2021.
One of the most important steps as an employer when it comes to establishing full involvement is an interactive method to ensure that any reasonable accommodation inquiry could be met. Reasonable accommodations in the workplace, in compliance with Title 1 of the ADA, is any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity.
When it comes to advancing disability inclusion, efforts don’t have to end after the month of October. In fact, it is encouraged to host year-round activities that highlights the importance of including disability in all areas of your organization’s disability endeavors. ODEP also offers tips on how to pursue that goal: Year-Round Employer Strategies for Advancing Disability Inclusion | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).
What can you do as an employer to commemorate NDEAM in your organization? Ideas for Employers and Employees | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).
Office of Disability Employment Policy offers a slew of resources to help employers and organizations plan out the month for NDEAM observances: Resources | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).
If you are feeling ambitious, ODEP has posted up 31 Days of NDEAM - 31 Days of NDEAM | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov).