Every October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) offers us an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. Led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), NDEAM also showcases supportive and inclusive policies and practices benefiting workers and employers.
This year's NDEAM theme, “Advancing Access and Equity: Then, Now, and Next,” was chosen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first federal legislation to prohibit discrimination and address access and equity for people with disabilities.
“National Disability Employment Awareness Month reminds us of the valued contributions people with disabilities make in our nation’s workplaces, and the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 marks a major milestone in our nation’s ongoing quest to advance access and equity for all Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams. Read the press release.
NDEAM Materials from ODEP
- Download the poster
- Key Messages (graphics, social media, articles, templates)
- Spotlights: Community Leaders & Advocates (ready-to-use content)
- Employer Strategies for Advancing Inclusion
- NDEAM en español
ACL & Employment
Employment is an important part of community inclusion for people with disabilities. Competitive, integrated employment (CIE) – working in the community, alongside people with and without disabilities, at competitive wages – offers a direct pathway to greater independence and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. Employers can also benefit by having a larger and more diverse talent pool when hiring.
ACL is committed to expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities. In addition to funding programs that provide direct employment support services to people with disabilities and advocating for policies and practices that prioritize and support CIE as a key element of community living, ACL also is investing in research to increase knowledge about the benefits of employment of people with disabilities – both for the individual and for the employer – and to increase the availability of effective interventions to support employment.
- ACL-funded Work
- Community Collaborations for Employment: A five-year grant to seven grantees (six are UCEDDs). Launched in September 2021, these grants are designed to fund broad stakeholder collaborations that will increase community capacity to better facilitate the transition of youth with developmental disabilities between schools and the community and support adults to optimize their opportunities for competitive integrated employment.
- Community Based Transition Partnership Implementation Grants: A three-year implementation grant. Two of the five UCEDD grantees are operationalizing their one planning grant from the previous year focused on addressing barriers around competitive integrated employment.
- Employment Longitudinal Data Project: A collaboration with the Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston to identify trends and effectiveness of initiatives surrounding day and employment services to support the full inclusion of individuals with I/DD.
- AoD Disability Employment TA Center: Transforming Networks through System Change, Innovation & Collaboration: A cross-program, evidence-based training and technical assistance center to support AoD grantees further expand their knowledge, skills, and partnerships to improve alignment around a common goal focused on increasing competitive integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.
- ACL & Network Material Highlights
- A Framework for Community Engagement: A Pathway to CIE (ACL, OSERS, ODEP, SAMHSA)
- Resource Leveraging & Service Coordination to Increase CIE for Individuals with Disabilities (ACL, ED, DOL, SSA, CMS, SAMHSA)
- Fact Sheet: Research Supporting CIE (ACL, NIDILRR)
- Assistive Technology & Employment Toolkit: A Resource for Supporting Individuals with Disabilities to Utilize Technology to Pursue & Sustain CIE (Disability Employment TA Center, AT3 Center)
- New! The Evolution of Assistive Technology: Advancing Access and Equity - Then, Now, and Next (Disability Employment TA Center)
- ACL Programs Working on Employment
- Centers for Independent Living are consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonprofits that can help with employment options.
- UCEDDs conduct research and support programs, many of which promote integrated employment for people with developmental disabilities (DD).
- DD Councils promote CIE through systems change and capacity-building efforts. Several Councils support Project Search (internship opportunities).
- Protection & Advocacy Systems advocate for CIE for people with disabilities and protect their right to be free from employment discrimination.
- The State Grant for Assistive Technology Program provides resources and services that can help people perform workplace activities.
- The National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research has been conducting research on employment for people with disabilities and testing interventions for decades.
- Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers
- Employer Disability Practices Center (Rutgers)
- RRTC on Employment of People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision (Mississippi State University)
- Disability Inclusive Employment Policy RRTC (Syracuse University)
- RRTC on Employment of Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities (Virginia Commonwealth University)
- RRTC on Employer Practices for Individuals with Disabilities (Virginia Commonwealth University)
- Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities RRTC (Trustees of Boston University)
- The Learning & Working During the Transition to Adulthood RRTC (UMass Chan Medical School)
- Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (University of Montana)
- RRTC: Employment and Disability (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Advancing Access and Equity for People with Disabilities through Innovations in Technology
Hosted by: Disability Employment TA Center (DETAC)
October 10, 2023 | Webinar recording and slides on DETAC website
Innovative tools are continually evolving to increase independence by providing accommodations or enhancing access to information and services. The event panel will share how designing solutions to overcome transportation, education, and housing barriers increases opportunities to advance competitive, integrated employment. Panelists will also highlight how partnerships play a key role in generating new creative solutions.