National Disability Employment Awareness Month is an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of NDEAM is to provide information on disability employment issues, as well as celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “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 NDEAM.
“When I was growing up, many people doubted what I could do just because I was blind,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “But because I had people in my life that instilled in me an expectation of work and showed me opportunities to be successful, I completed college and became known for what I can do.”
This year’s NDEAM theme is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.
“Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in NDEAM and ways they can promote its messages, during October and throughout the year, by visiting www.dol.gov/odep/.