National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is celebrated every October in the United States, and the commemorative month was created to acknowledge the many contributions of disabled individuals to the American workforce. The United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) leads NDEAM.
The first attempt to educate society at large about issues affecting the employment of disabled individuals occurred in 1945. That year, Congress declared the first week of October of each year to be National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. “Physically” was removed from the title in 1962, and Congress eventually extended the week to an entire month and changed the name to NDEAM.
The NDEAM theme for 2021 is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” The theme was chosen to remind us that, while we all work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that workers with disabilities continue to be included in our communities and retain their access to employment opportunities.
This year’s celebration includes developing resources to help workers dealing with the long-term effects of COVID-19, such as determining the tools and accommodations people will need to return to the workplace.