The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month 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 National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
"We all have a role to play in — and benefit to gain from — increasing opportunities for meaningful employment for people with disabilities. This year's theme encapsulates this in three powerful words. It conveys that advancing disability employment is about much more than just hiring. It's about creating a continuum of inclusion. And the first step on this continuum is expectation," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy when announcing this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, which is "Expect. Employ. Empower."
The Arc of Schuyler is sharing in spreading the message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all people, including people with developmental disabilities.
The primary purpose of The Arc of Schuyler’s industrial and vocational training division, Glen Industries is to assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to find meaningful employment. As an example, through Glen Industries’ food co-packing service, people with disabilities are learning kitchen sanitation, organization, recipe comprehension, and food preparation – skills that will prepare them for community employment in food service.
Both the federal government and New York State are drafting plans for restructuring work centers and increasing the number of people with disabilities in competitive employment. Employers can capitalize on the talents and skills of people with disabilities and access resources to assist in recruiting, retaining, and advancing skilled, qualified employees.
People with a disability are an important part of a strong, diverse workforce. Glen Industries can assist employers with their recruiting efforts by providing:
- Referrals to meet hiring needs, resulting in reduced recruitment cost
- Pre-screened applicants
- Pre-employment and on-site training
- Help applying for Federal and New York State tax credits and reimbursements related to employing people with disabilities
- Help understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act
Other Resources for Employers and Job Seekers with Disabilities:
- What Can You Do? The Campaign for Disability Employment
- Employees with Disabilities: 5 Myths & Real Facts for Employers
- Building an Inclusive Workforce - A 4 Step Reference Guide to Recruiting, Hiring & Retaining Employees with Disabilities
- Job Accommodation Network
- Employer Assistance and Resource Network