National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is held every October! This is a great time to help spread the word about disability employment issues. We can all take a role in providing a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities.
Learn more about what you can do in this week's blog.
National Disability Employment Awareness began in 1945, at the end of World War II as soldiers returned home with injuries from combat. President Truman recognized the need to help these veterans find jobs and declared the first week of October each year as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week which later expanded to National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 1988.
Other significant milestones in employment accessibility and inclusion since then according to Set Works
1990: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law, prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, and other areas of public life
1996: Work Opportunity Tax Credit program created, providing a federal tax credit to companies that hire workers with certain disabilities
2000: Executive Order 13163 issued, directing the federal government to hire 100,000 people with disabilities over the next five years
2001: Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) created within the Department of Labor
2014: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) signed into law, helping job seekers — including those with disabilities — gain access to employment, training, and support services
Today, employment opportunities for people with disabilities have improved. However, there is still much work to be done and the pandemic has only exacerbated many of the economic issues people with disabilities face, such as higher rates of unemployment and lower wages.
According to the US Census Bureau
workers with a disability make up just 6 percent of working adults, but this figure rises with age. About 4 percent of workers under age 45, 7 percent of workers ages 45-59, and 13 percent of workers age 60 and older have a disability. "As a group, full-time, year-round workers with a disability earn 87 cents for every dollar earned by those with no disability."
Know your rights! Employer requirements
for paying subminimum wages to workers with disabilities under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act