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Monarch joins effort to support National Disability Employment Month

 Nationwide disability employment campaign observed in October

Monarch announced its support for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

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.

"When I was growing up, many people doubted what I could do just because I was blind. But because I had people in my life who instilled in me an expectation of work and showed me opportunities to be successful, I completed college and became known for what I can do," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy when announcing this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, which is "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task."

Reflecting this year's theme, throughout the month,  Monarch works to not only identify employment opportunities for people with disabilities, but works to educate on disability employment issues and the role they play in fostering a disability-friendly work culture.

"Monarch is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Jim Kelley, chief operating officer at Monarch, who manages the agency’s employment services efforts.  "We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities."  

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting the ODEP website at

Established in 1958, Monarch provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges from more than 50 North Carolina counties. The agency is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and is CABHA certified. Monarch is an affiliate chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch is “Helping Dreams Take Flight” for people living in our communities, please call (800) 230-7525 or visit                                                                                         ###

Media contact: Natasha A. Suber, (704) 986-1582 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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