NDEAM: Disability and Employment

Did you know that as of 2014, only 17.1% of persons with a disability were employed, compared to that of 64% of those without a disability?


National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) was first established in 1945 by Congress. Held each October, NDEAM is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for this year—which marks 70 years since the first observance—is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.”

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, which many of you know as the ADA. July 26, 2015 marked the 25th Anniversary of the enactment of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations and other areas. The ADA and NDEAM work in tandem as both a form of legislature and a means of promoting awareness to create fundamental change for Americans with disabilities both socially and professionally.

Businesses that are inclusive of people with disabilities—in recruitment, retention and advancement—benefit from a wider pool of talent, skills and creative business solutions. The knowledge, skills, and abilities employees bring to work each day are by far the assets that yield the most output over the long term. For employers, the investment that drives innovation is talent and work environments that are flexible and open to all qualified individuals, including those with disabilities, which actually promotes workplace success for everyone.

Today’s employment landscape is about diversity, capabilities, and what each individual brings to the table. Perhaps more than any other group of people, individuals with disabilities have the ability to adapt to different situations and circumstances. As employees, they add to the range of viewpoints businesses need to succeed, offering fresh ideas on how to solve problems, accomplish tasks, and implement strategies.

Employers have a powerful role to play in providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This National Disability Employment Awareness Month, think about how your work environment could benefit from employing at least one of the 39.1 million Americans with disabilities.

By fostering a culture of diversity or a capacity to appreciate and value individual differences in all aspects of the company’s operations, employers can benefit from varied perspectives on how to confront business challenges and achieve success.
If you are an employer and want more information about good workplace strategies for all employees, including those with disabilities, please do not hesitate to contact us at 410.451.4202.