In October, Americans observe National DisAbility Employment Awareness Month by paying tribute to the accomplishments of the men and women with disabilities whose work helps keep the nation’s economy strong and by reaffirming their commitment to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.
This effort to educate the public about the issues related to disability and employment began in 1945, when Congress enacted Public Law 176, declaring the first week of October each year as 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. On July 26, 1990, Pres. George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.
Ways To Raise Awareness
Host virtual Lunch & Learn sessions! These sessions can cover current events, science, history, arts, or culture. Share the pioneers who helped improve public health or highlight disabled scientists like Stephen Hawking, Temple Gardin, or Solomon Lefschetz.
Share personal stories – Invite employees to share stories and exchange ideas pertaining to disability employment issues to help build a more inclusive culture in the workplace.
Organize American Sign Language classes!
Browse the digital collections at the Disability History Museum and foster a deeper understanding about how changing cultural values, notions of identity, laws, and policies have shaped and influenced the experience of people with disabilities, their families and their communities over time.
Meet the dogs of Pets on Wheels. Pets on Wheels is a 501(c)3 organization and that visits nursing homes, hospitals, homeless and domestic violence shelters, veterans’ hospitals, and more.
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