As kids head back to school and the weather turns cooler, it’s time to start preparing to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! Held each October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign to educate employers and others about the value of an inclusive workplace, and celebrate the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) offers a variety of NDEAM resources to encourage businesses, federal agencies, state and local governments, educators and youth service providers, and others to get involved. This year’s NDEAM theme, “The Right Talent, Right Now,” focuses on the significant role workers with disabilities play in the success of America’s economy.
Below are 10 resources to help you plan for NDEAM:
- 31 Days of NDEAM Slideshow: Developed by ODEP, this slideshow includes ideas for activities and events for every day of NDEAM. It also includes a list of ideas categorized by type of organization.
- NDEAM poster in English and Spanish: The 2019 NDEAM poster focuses on this year’s theme, “The Right Talent, Right Now,” by depicting images of employees with disabilities working in inclusive workplaces. The posters are ideal to hang in office common areas to help spread the word about NDEAM.
- Sample NDEAM Resources: ODEP has developed multiple sample resources to assist organizations in planning and implementing NDEAM activities. These include a sample proclamation and press release as well as social media content.
- Disability Mentoring Day: Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a nationwide observance held on the third Wednesday of each October to promote career development for youth with disabilities through hands-on programs, job shadowing and ongoing mentoring. Companies can choose to host their own events on any day of the month (or year for that matter). Visit the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) website for information on hosting or participating in a DMD event or to read the DMD Toolkit.
- EARN’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) Toolkit: ERGs offer employees an opportunity to network, address common issues and concerns, and receive support from those who share similar backgrounds, interests or experiences—including disability. This toolkit outlines twelve steps organizations can use to start, implement and maintain Disability ERGs.
- Inclusion@Work Framework and Training Center: Developed by EARN with input from a range of employers with exemplary track records in disability employment, the Inclusion@Work framework is a multimedia policy tool that outlines seven core components of a disability-inclusive workplace, along with a menu of strategies for achieving them. A companion workplace discussion guide is also available for each component of the framework, which can be used to spark conversation among colleagues or employer representatives in a group setting, during NDEAM and beyond. Each guide is available on its respective page within the Inclusion@Work framework.
- “Working Works” Discussion Guide/DVD Package: The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) recently released an accessible, talking menu DVD & discussion guides to accompany its “Working Works” PSA. The discussion guide and package focuses on the PSA’s stay-at-work/return-to-work message. The PSA package and discussion guides are available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s website for mail order or download. EARN is proud to be a Member of the CDE.
- Workplace Accommodation Toolkit: Developed by the ODEP-funded Job Accommodation Network (JAN), this free online resource provides guidance on the reasonable accommodation process and creating disability-inclusive workplaces. It includes a variety of sample forms, procedures, policies, presentations, videos and more.
- ADA National Network Regional Centers: The ADA National Network consists of ten regional ADA Centers located throughout the U.S. that provide information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employers, state and local governments, people with disabilities and others.
- Beyond NDEAM: Year-Round Employer Strategies for Advancing Disability Inclusion: NDEAM activities don’t have to end in October! This resource offers ten ideas to foster the NDEAM spirit all year-round.
For more ideas on how to celebrate NDEAM in your workplace, please visit ODEP’s NDEAM webpage.