WASHINGTON – To reflect the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced that the theme of 2016’s official National Disability Employment Awareness Month is “#InclusionWorks.”
“By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges,” said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Our nation’s most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation.”
Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign celebrating the skills and talents workers with disabilities bring to our workplaces. Led nationally by ODEP, NDEAM’s true spirit lies in the many grassroots observances held nationwide every year. Each spring, the theme for each year’s celebration is announced to help organizations and groups plan their events.
ODEP created this year’s theme with input from a wide variety of its partner organizations, including those representing employers, people with disabilities and their families, and federal, state and local agencies. The hope is that the hashtag theme spurs both individuals and groups to post images and stimulate discussion on social media about the many ways “inclusion works.”
NDEAM’s history dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was dropped to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, the federal legislature expanded the week to a month and changed the name to NDEAM. When the department established ODEP in 2001, the agency assumed responsibility for NDEAM.
For more information about NDEAM, including specific ideas for how different types of organizations can participate, visit www.dol.gov/ndeam.
ODEP’s mission is to develop and influence policies and practices to increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. For more information, please visit the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep/.