National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is traditionally observed in the month of October to celebrate the contributions of employees with disabilities and promote the value of having a workforce that is inclusive of their skills and talents.
This year’s theme, "The Right Talent, Right Now" places emphasis on the vital role individuals with disabilities play in our economy, where historically low unemployment is driving a huge demand for talent. As companies struggle to find workers, more and more opportunities are opening up for people with disabilities.
People who have had difficulty finding jobs before are now finding themselves with a job, substituting disability benefits for a paycheck. Workers who were on disability benefits during the recession are now returning to the workforce.
That said, the disability talent pool remains largely untapped. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the labor participation rate of people with disabilities stands at a low 19.1% compared to 65.9% for people with no disabilities.
Towards this end, the Office of Disability Employment (ODEP), which administers NDEAM, has developed several resources to advance disability inclusion.
These resources include some great ideas such as participating in Disability Mentoring Day and inviting individuals with disabilities to come onsite for job shadows and hands-on programs.
ODEP also developed training modules that employers could use for training supervisors on providing accommodations and understanding their role in creating an inclusive culture.
Check out these resources on the NDEAM website.