National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Employment for All.

Hello JFY community, and happy October! 

As we begin to observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we thought it would be helpful to share a bit about the meaning and history behind this month of recognition. So let’s get to it! 

What is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?  

Each October, NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness around the systemic marginalization people with disabilities face when seeking employment and celebrates the many contributions of our country’s workers with disabilities. 

When did NDEAM begin? 

1945: Congress enacted a law recognizing the first week of October as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. Although the term “handicap” is no longer an accepted term to refer to people with disabilities, and the week was not inclusive of folks with any non-physical disabilities, it marks the beginning of the national conversation around striving for a more inclusive and equitable workplace for people with disabilities.  

1962: Since the National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week was quite limited in scope, the word Physically was removed from the name to acknowledge a wider range of disabilities. 

1988: Congress changed the name once again to what we know it as now, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and, of course, extended it from one week to one month. 

2001: The Office of Disability employment Policy assumed oversight of NDEAM and have been working to expand the reach and scope since. However, it is important to note that much of the progress being made in the efforts to expand such efforts is being done at the grassroots level, or in other words, within local communities, such as at schools, employers, and organizations. 

As the conversation around inclusivity, belonging, and equity continues, we hope to see more and more community organizations and employers striving to make their workplace and communities a place where all people are welcome and feel they belong.  

At Jobs for Youth, we are committed to serving all youth of San Mateo County, and are actively exploring ways in which we can collaborate with our County’s Commission on Disabilities and further serve youth with disabilities within the county. We believe in creating a workforce and community that fosters inclusivity. In the meantime, make sure you check out the 2022 Disabilities Art Showcase on the main floor of the Caldwell Gallery! Find all the information you need about this awesome exhibit here