Submitted by Sharon Hooper
The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate communities about disability employment issues and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
This year’s theme, “The Right Talent, Right Now,” offers employers diverse perspectives on how to tackle challenges and achieve success. Employers, both public and private, are critical to our nationwide efforts to promote workplace access for individuals with disabilities.
The Resource Network on Disability Inclusion emphasizes the importance of inclusive policies and practices to ensure that all Americans who want to work can work, and have access to services and supports to enable them to do so. With continued advances in such support systems, including accessible technology, it is easier than ever before for America’s employers to hire people with disabilities. It is essential that we continue creating an environment in which Americans with disabilities have access to full participation in our economy and the ability to experience the benefits of employment.
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.
Locally, Washington Vocational Services represents people with disabilities in San Juan County through the Department of Social and Health Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division of Disability. WVS’s commitment fosters opportunities for American of all abilities to apply their skills and talents in the workplace as they pursue their dreams. WVS is dedicated to providing outstanding quality services that result in successful community involvement and employment.