Perhaps you read that title and thought “what is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?” Every October, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) celebrates disability and employment on a larger scale. They highlight business advocates, share success stories and create useful resources all throughout the month of October. This awareness month encourages all disability advocates to come together including nonprofits, business partners, government agencies and more, to spread awareness for disability and employment!
This year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is particularly powerful: my disability is one part of who I am; at work it’s what people can do that matters. Just like attributes only make up part of a person, a disability does not define an employee’s worth. In fact many businesses that look beyond an employees disability, gain a dedicated and passionate employee, in addition to many other benefits. Blanking on what exactly those benefits are? You can refresh your knowledge of disability employment benefits in this previous Blogging4Jobs post.
So now that you know what National Disability Employment Awareness Month is, what can you do to get involved? Luckily the Office of Disability Employment Policy makes it very easy, as they have many resources available online. Ranging from action items to a fill-in-the-blank press release, you can find almost anything you’re looking for on their website.
Feeling overwhelmed with the resources available online? Not sure what your business could your business utilize? It’s easy to start small: you could display the National Disability Employment Awareness Month poster in your office! You can download one here off the ODEP website. Another simple idea is utilizing the sample NDEAM social media posts created online. You don’t even have to come up with your own copy to celebrate disability employment!
Is your company looking to create lasting relationships with the disability community? ODEP also has some more in-depth suggestions on their website as well. If you’re looking to create a shift in perspective among your employees, consider establishing a disability employee resource group. If you’re unsure how to start an employee resource group, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has a lengthly toolkit that can answer almost any of your questions:
Another idea is to use the momentum from NDEAM to educate your employees. Perhaps they don’t know about disability etiquette or are unsure how employees with disabilities could contribute. Use this month to help increase awareness! For a how-to on disability etiquette, read this previous Blogging4Jobs post, or consider contacting a local employment agency or nonprofit for a disability employment training that your whole company could participate in.
The most important thing about National Disability Employment Awareness Month is: no matter how small your gesture, get involved and help spread awareness! NDEAM provides the momentum to talk about disability and employment in a positive way. Everyone wants a work identity- use your voice to make a difference in someone’s life!
For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month visit the OEDP.
If you need some inspiration from other companies, check out this previous Blogging4Jobs post highlighting some of the top disability-friendly companies.