October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
"A strong workforce is an inclusive workforce"
Each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to raise awareness and celebrate the many contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year’s theme, “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?” focuses on the benefits of a diverse workforce that includes workers with disabilities, who represent a highly skilled talent pool.
Last year, Monarch placed nearly 180 people with disabilities in jobs. Monarch’s extraordinary employment specialists, managers and others have helped people like Belvia, 58, who struggles with mental illness and hearing loss and had not worked consistently since 2000, find steady work. With support from Monarch, Belvia secured a position as a laundry attendant at the Graylyn International Conference Center in Winston-Salem, where she has worked now for five years. Staff helped Belvia track her medical appointments, her work schedule, encouraged her to learn sign language and supports her when she is faced with other challenges.
When a workplace is welcoming of people with disabilities, like Belvia, employers gain needed skills and new perspectives on ways to confront challenges and achieve organizational success. Employees with disabilities gain dignity, respect and self-determination. Most importantly, society as a whole benefits from a more inclusive culture where every person is valued for his or her contributions.
The U.S. Office on Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is a great source of information on employment and disability. ODEP officials believe a strong workforce is an inclusive workforce and provides national leadership on disability employment by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability employment policies and practices. Let’s celebrate NDEAM now and beyond!