WASHINGTON, DC — President Donald J. Trump recently issued a proclamation recognizing October 2019 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), initiating a series of coast-to-coast events and activities to honor the contributions workers with disabilities make to America’s workplaces and economy. The theme for 2019 is “The Right Talent, Right Now.”
“National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a time to celebrate the contributions of Americans with disabilities to our country’s workforce and economic strength,” declared President Trump in his NDEAM proclamation. “By supporting the aspirations of all Americans who want to work, we will strengthen our workplaces, economy, and communities.”
Sponsored at the national level by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), NDEAM allows grassroots organizations to recognize workers with disabilities each October across the nation. In 2019, NDEAM will honor the thirtieth anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a celebration that will run through 2020.
“Today more than ever, there is a race for talent. Historically low unemployment and global competition are converging to create a high demand for workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “Smart businesses are navigating this by tapping into more talent pools, including people with disabilities, who offer not just needed skills, but also creative ways of thinking about how to solve problems and achieve business success.”
“People with disabilities are indeed ‘The Right Talent, Right Now,’” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of ODEP Jennifer Sheehy. “We are business owners, employees, educators, and community leaders. We produce goods and deliver services. We serve our nation. We also invent and innovate, often drawing upon our experiences to devise new technologies and products that enhance life for all of us.”
NDEAM traces its history to 1945, when Congress declared the first week of October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was deleted to acknowledge the needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to what it is today. Upon its establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.
Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate, as are educators and youth service professionals, business associations, labor unions, and disability advocacy organizations. Ideas for how different types of organizations can observe NDEAM, as well as this year’s official poster, are available at dol.gov/ndeam.
Submitted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor.