Disability is part of the inclusion equation.
Each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is celebrated across the country to recognize the positive contributions people with disabilities make in America’s workplaces and our economy.
In this 77th anniversary year of NDEAM, the theme “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation” gives us a lot to celebrate about the role people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive workforce: More and more employers are recognizing the talents of people with disabilities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.1% of people with disability (ages 16-64) were employed in 2021; this was up 1.2% from 2020. Though employment of people with disabilities continues to increase, employment rates remain significantly lower than people without disabilities where 63.7% of people without a disability were employed in 2021.
“Employment should be within reach for all who want to work,” said Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. “People with disabilities shouldn’t fear losing their public benefits because they earn money. IL ABLE Accounts help address that fear by enabling people to save money above the $2000 asset cap and still keep their benefits like SSI and Medicaid.”
To promote employment among people with disabilities, the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) recently launched the MOPD Career Center that provides a range of services including help with resume preparation, counseling on disability disclosure and reasonable accommodations, interview preparation, assistance with job applications and more. “People with disabilities contribute new perspectives, are skilled problem solvers and are loyal to good workplaces,” said Rachel Arfa, Commissioner of MOPD. Visit the MOPD Career Center website or call 312-746-5773 (prompt #3) for more information.
Did you know? The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month goes 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 people with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month provides an opportunity to elevate disability as part of the employment diversity and equity discussion and celebrate the many contributions of employees with disabilities make every day. Learn more at dol.gov/NDEAM.
Ready to open an IL ABLE account? Enroll here.