National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October 2021 DEI Article
Written by Yolanda A. Garcia, CP
We recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) each October to commemorate the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. The theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month was declared in 1988 by the United States Congress for the month of October to raise awareness of the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. The month is an extension of “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week,” originally observed during the first week of October beginning in 1945. In 1962, the word “physically” was removed from that week to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. Americans observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month by not only paying tribute to the accomplishments of individuals with disabilities whose work helps keep the nation’s economy strong, but by also reaffirming their commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.
President Biden and Secretary Blinken have expressed an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Also, the State Department is committed to building a workforce that reflects our nation’s diversity – including individuals with disabilities.
Throughout the month of October, different bureaus, offices, and groups across the State Department will engage in activities to educate its employees on disability employment issues, as well as reconfirm its commitment to an inclusive work culture. NDEAM also provides an opportunity to amplify calls for individuals with disabilities to consider a civil or foreign service career in the Department of State.
Learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways to promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/NDEAM.