Skip to page content
Office of Disability Employment Policy
Bookmark and Share

ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2009

NDEAM 2009 Posters are available to download.

Congress designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This effort to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment actually began in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."

2009 NDEAM Message from Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez

An image of Assistant Secretary Kathleen Martinez with the American and Department of Labor flags behind her.

Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation

Disability is part of the natural diversity of human life. It touches all of us, whether through our own individual experience or that of a family member, neighbor, friend or colleague. As such, we all have a role in—and benefit to gain from—advancing equality for people with disabilities in all sectors of society, including the workplace.

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a time to reassess these roles. To start, America’s employers must provide opportunities by fostering an inclusive work culture welcoming of the skills and talents of all qualified employees, including those with disabilities.

But the responsibility rests not only with employers. People with disabilities must understand the intrinsic value of work and the important part they play in America’s future educational and economic success. Our nation’s young people with disabilities must grow up with the expectation of work, and parents, educators, and others must echo this expectation by instilling an early love of learning and cultivating a clear vision of work and full community participation.

Today and every day, people with disabilities add significant value to America’s workplaces and economy. Their skills and talents benefit businesses of all sizes and in all industries. They are entrepreneurs, innovators, and community leaders. Yet, whether good economic times and bad, people with disabilities have fewer job opportunities than those without disabilities. This is unacceptable and opposes the ideals upon which our nation was founded and prides itself.

This year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month focuses on the interdependence of expectation and opportunity in advancing America’s ideal of equal opportunity for all. It’s a time to celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities to our nation’s workplaces and communities and reaffirm our commitment to creating a more inclusive America, one where every person is rightly recognized for his or her abilities and accomplishments—every day of every month.

Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez on the move during NDEAM

Celebrating NDEAM in the Federal Government

  • Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez provided keynote remarks to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month for the Department of Agriculture (October 7), the Department of Labor (October 8), the Department of Treasury (October 9), and the National Defense University (October 28).

Employer Symposium in Corpus Christi, Texas

  • Assistant Secretary Martinez provided the October 26, 2009 keynote address for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services’ Employer Symposium in Corpus Christi, Texas. Assistant Secretary Martinez addressed 300 employers on the recruitment, employment, and retention of people with disabilities.

Interview on Joyce Bender’s National Radio Program

  • On October 20, 2009, Joyce Bender interviewed Assistant Secretary Martinez on her national program, "Disability Matters". The interview on disability employment policy was "Web-casted" live and is archived for future listeners.

Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez interviewed on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.

  • Anchorwoman J.C. Hayward, the special interest reporter for the local CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., interviewed Assistant Secretary Martinez on disability employment issues and Secretary Solis’ vision of Good Jobs for Everyone on October 14, 2009.

Assistant Secretary Martinez provided the national kick-off address for Disability Mentoring Day Launch celebration on October 12 in Duluth, Minnesota.

  • Disability Mentoring Day is a large-scale national effort to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration, on-site job shadowing, and ongoing mentoring leading to internship and employment opportunities. Last year, DMD integrated more than 20,000 students and jobseekers in communities in every state plus 20 international locations.

Disability Awareness Conference for the District of Columbia’s Office of Disability Rights

  • On October 6, 2009, Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President, and ODEP Assistant Secretary Martinez provided remarks to District of Columbia service providers and constituents with disabilities on the employment of people with disabilities.

NDEAM 2009 Newsroom

Throughout National Disability Employment Awareness Month, watch this space for updates about events and items of interest to you.

Cities Throughout U.S. Declare Disability.gov Day During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

  • In conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Assistant Secretary Martinez asked mayors from cities, recognized for their accessibility and contributions to the disability community, to declare a day in October as Disability.gov Day. The Department of Labor and the Office of Disability Employment Policy extend their thanks and appreciation to all the cities that participated. See the official proclamations in the 2009 Disability.gov Day Proclamations section on Disability.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor Steps Up Efforts to Serve Workers with Disabilities.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) joined President Obama today in underscoring the administration's commitment to serving every American worker, including the 54 million people across the nation living with disabilities.
  • Read the Press Release

President Obama Announces New Initiatives During National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

"My Administration is committed to ensuring that all Americans have the chance to fulfill their potential and contribute to our nation," said President Obama. "Across this country, millions of people with disabilities are working or want to work, and they should have access to the support and services they need to succeed. As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government and its contractors can lead the way by implementing effective employment policies and practices that increase opportunities and help workers achieve their full potential. We must also rededicate ourselves to fostering an inclusive work culture that welcomes the skills and talents of all qualified employees. That’s why I’ve asked the responsible agencies to develop new plans and policies to help increase employment across America for people with disabilities."

U.S. Department of Labor Holds ‘National Listening Session’ for Public Input on Reauthorization of Workforce Investment Act

  • ODEP Assistant Kathy Martinez and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Jane Oates heard comments from workforce investment systems personnel, representatives of the disability community, leaders of nonprofit organizations, academic professionals and members of the general public. Approximately 700 people attended in person, by webinar and via conference call.
  • Read the Press Release

Workforce3 One Unveils a New Disability and Employment Resource Web Page

  • In connection with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Workforce3 One unveiled a new Disability and Employment Resource web page to provide employment-related resources for the workforce system. The purposes of this page are to disseminate promising practices to promote the positive employment outcomes of people with disabilities and expand the capacity of the One-Stop Career Center system to serve customers with disabilities.

DOL’s ePolicyWorks

  • As part of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month, ODEP will launch ePolicyWorks, a new collaborative, information-sharing initiative among national policymakers. This 21st century approach to policy development is designed to address specific barriers to employment faced by people with disabilities by leveraging resources, as well as by encouraging coordination and integration across systems. ODEP plans to distill this initiative into topic areas, such as health care, technology, and transportation.

U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Office of Personnel Management Federal Hiring Fair for People with Disabilities

  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will announce a Government-wide job fair for people with disabilities to take place in early spring 2010. The fair will include on-site interviews, workshop sessions for prospective employees on the Federal hiring process and special hiring authorities, and, most importantly, job offers to qualified applicants with disabilities. ODEP, OPM, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program will provide workshops on the Federal Schedule A hiring authority and the right to reasonable accommodations.

U.S. Department of Labor Awards Cooperative Agreements on Registered Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship Training for Youth

  • Assistant Secretary Martinez recently announced that ODEP, in cooperation with the ETA, will award two cooperative agreements to develop innovative models of registered apprenticeship training for youth with disabilities. It is expected that the models will produce skilled workers in demand in high-growth, high-demand industries such as green jobs, health care, construction and information technology.

U.S. Department of Labor to Fund National Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities

  • The Department of Labor will announce an award of up to $1.6 million to fund a cooperative agreement to establish a National Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities. The center will provide technical assistance to a wide range of employers and employer organizations on the recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement of people with disabilities.

U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Defense Workforce Recruitment Program

  • U.S. Department of Labor’s ODEP and the U.S. Department of Defense, with the participation of many other federal agencies, will conduct the 2010 season of the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP). This recruitment and referral program connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.

Mayors Encouraged to Proclaim “Disability.gov Day” in October

  • ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez is sending a letter to the mayor of 36 cities asking that they proclaim one day in October as “Disability.gov Day” to recognize the important contributions people with disabilities make each day in our country. The selected mayors represent the 36 cities that were finalists or winners for the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Accessible America Award. The letter includes a suggested proclamation highlighting the benefits of the Disability.gov Web site and a one-page fact sheet about the site.

The Campaign for Disability Employment sets a new standard for collaboration.

  • The Campaign for Disability Employment is a collaborative effort to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace.

Visit ODEP in Booth #216 at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual Diversity Conference and Exposition, held this year in San Diego, California from October 19-21.

Disability Mentoring Day set for October 21.

The Social Security Administration Announces Exciting New Option for Employer Participation in the Ticket Program:

NCD National Summit on Disability Policy 2010

National Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Listening Opportunity for Disability Stakeholders

  • On October 1, 2009, DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and ODEP will conduct a National "Listening" Session for disability stakeholders on the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The session is part of efforts by ETA Assistant Secretary Jane Oates and ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez to collect recommendations, from a disability perspective, on the reauthorization of the Act.

Federal Agency NDEAM Activities and Initiatives

  • Navy - NAVFAC HQ : National Disability Employment Awareness Month Program - TBD
  • Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity : 29th Annual DoD Disability Awards Ceremony - December 8, 2009
  • Navy - NAWC-AD : NAWC-AD Deaf Awareness Program with DAU - November 10, 2009
  • Navy - NAVAIR : Hidden Disabilities Program - November 4, 2009
  • General Services Administration (GSA) : National Disability Employment Awareness Month - October 30, 2009
  • Naval Support Activity (NSA) : National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month Luncheon - October 28, 2009
  • National Defense University (NDU) : Disability Employment Awareness Program at NDU - October 28, 2009
  • National Guard Bureau (NGB) : National Disability Employment Awareness Month Program - October 28, 2009
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) : Financial Planning Panel Discussion - October 27, 2009
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) : Lunch & Learn EventAttitudinal Barriers "Not in my Neighborhood" - October 26, 2009
  • Navy - NAVSEA : NAVSEA Disability Awareness Month Observance - October 22, 2009
  • Department of Labor (DoL) : National Disability Employment Awareness Month Program - October 22, 2009
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) : Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities - October 22, 2009
  • Broadcasting Board of Governors : Broadcasting Board of Governors - October 21, 2009
  • Department of Justice (DOJ) : “Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation” - October 21, 2009
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): 2009 NDEAM Program Observance - October 21, 2009
  • Navy - NAVAIR : Disability Mentoring Day - October 21, 2009
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense (AT&L) : Ability One Program Recognition Ceremony - October 20, 2009
  • Navy - NAWC-WD : NAWC-WD Disability Seminar (Speaker & Panel discussion) - October 20, 2009
  • Department of Commerce (DOC) : NAWC-WD Disability Seminar (Speaker & Panel discussion) - October 20, 2009
  • Naval Support Activity (NSA) : National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month Observance - October 16, 2009
  • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) : National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month Observance - October 16, 2009
  • Environmental Proctection Agency (EPA) : National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month Observance - October 14, 2009
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) : Through Deaf Eyes - October 14, 2009
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) : Disability Programs Managers & Special Placement Coordinator Conference - October 13, 2009
  • Department of the Treasury : National Disability Employment Awareness Month Program - October 9, 2009
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) : EAP Presentation Brown Bag - October 8, 2009
  • Department of Health & Human Services (HHS): NDEAM Briefing – “Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation” - October 7, 2009
  • OPM Announces Plans to Provide On-Line Training to Hiring Officials Who Will Help Level the Playing Field for Those with Disabilities
    • Oct. 7 - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) joined President Barack Obama today in underscoring the administration's commitment to ensuring that every American worker has access to opportunity, including the 54 million people across the nation living with disabilities. To "level the playing field" for those with disabilities, OPM announced it will launch on-line training opportunities for Federal hiring officials.
    • Read more in the Press Release
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) : National Disability Employment Awareness Month Program - October 7, 2009
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) : Operation Warfighter Program visit to NASA/GSFC - October 1, 2009
  • The sign said: FOOD LION COMING SOON!
    • To some people in Wilmington, Delaware, that meant more local traffic, especially during rush hour. To others it was exciting to hear that a new supermarket was opening. Read the success story.
    • Read more about The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and its NDEAM activities.
  • Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on National Disability Employment Awareness Month