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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Ideas for Disability-Related Organizations

Disability-related organizations have an important role to play in promoting National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The ideas below are just a few ways they can get involved.

  • Post an NDEAM Web link — An NDEAM link on your Home page reinforces your commitment to increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities while also offering local employers access to ideas for implementing NDEAM activities in their workplaces. To create a link, use the NDEAM poster thumbnail image (for example, "XYZ Organization Supports NDEAM") and link it to the main NDEAM webpage.
  • Solicit an NDEAM proclamation — Disability-related organizations can cultivate community-wide support for NDEAM by asking their mayor, governor or other official to formally proclaim the event. A template that organizations can easily customize is available to assist in soliciting such a proclamation. In addition, community leaders could be encouraged to mention NDEAM during various public appearances leading up to and during October.
  • Hold an NDEAM "management breakfast" or "brown-bag lunch" — NDEAM presents an opportune time to sponsor an informal seminar or panel presentation for local employers on the topic of disability employment and the benefits of a disability inclusive workplace. Such an event also offers the opportunity for disability-related organizations to promote their overall efforts and possibly earn additional sponsorships and support from local businesses.
  • Hold a poster contest — NDEAM's 2012 theme "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do? (or any slogan used by your organization) could be the theme for a poster contest for local youth. Such a contest could have different levels for different age groups, and winning entries could be displayed at a central location in the community. In addition, winners could be recognized by community and business leaders at a reception or other event, and media could be invited.
  • Feature NDEAM in your newsletter — NDEAM offers timely and fresh content for organizational publications or social media activities. Articles can inform community members about NDEAM and encourage them to approach their employers about participating in some way.
  • Feature NDEAM in social media activities — Likewise, NDEAM provides an interesting hook for social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. For the latter, organizations are encouraged to include the hashtag #NDEAM. Sample postings and tweets are available to assist in incorporating NDEAM into social media activities.
  • Distribute NDEAM posters — Just before or during NDEAM is a great time to pay a quick visit to local employers to provide free NDEAM posters they can hang in employee break areas or other locations that employees frequent. Doing so might serve to start a larger discussion about what else employers can do to help support efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities.
  • Reach out to local media — NDEAM presents an opportunity for disability-related organizations to increase their visibility through local TV, radio and print media. Ideas include writing an op-ed piece or letter to the editor about the value and talent people with disabilities have to offer in the workplace and community or encouraging local TV or radio news to run a feature on one or more local employers observing the month.
  • Develop a disability employment webpage — NDEAM is a great time to unveil a dedicated disability employment webpage for local employers listing tools and resources to help them understand related issues and implement steps to foster a disability inclusive workplace. Two examples of resources to include are the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN). For additional ideas on things to include on such a page, visit the ODEP website.
  • Advocate for a Disability History Awareness Initiative — Some states have legislation in place that requires schools to teach about disability history each year. For information about these initiatives — and how to advocate for one in a state without — see Establishing Disability History Awareness Initiatives — A Roadmap for States and Territories. This resource features strategies and suggestions for mobilizing public support and passing the necessary legislation, as well as sample language for such legislation and the contact information for those who have helped other states succeed in their endeavors.

Of course, as employers themselves, disability-related organizations are also encouraged to recognize NDEAM among their staff. For ideas on how to do so, see ideas for employers and employees.