National Disability Employment Awareness to Action Movement

Editor’s Note: From time to time, our Woodinville Chamber will bring you guest posts from Woodinville Chamber Members that will aid in educating and informing our members about a topic of interest. The article below is a guest post by Ramu Iyer of  Provail.

by Ramu Iyer

October 2021 is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is to educate about disability employment issues and

celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. NDEAM 2021 is celebrating 76 years this year. All employers are encouraged to participate and move the needle of the Disability Equality Index (DEI).

Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.

For specific ideas about how employers can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit NDEAM. Suggestions range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month.

An Ability Aware business Thinks Outside the Hive and integrates NDEAM in its operating model. @KelloggSchool recommends that we [need to overcome our unconscious bias and] “stop hiring for “cultural fit” because “when interviewers said they “clicked” or “had chemistry” with a candidate they meant that they shared a similar background.” Instead consider “cultural add” with an appreciation of a world of differences with a focus on promoting Skills Development through Alternative Routes (STAR).

Consistent with the recommendations of the Department of Labor, the talent pipeline of persons with disabilities achieve favorable employment outcomes and thrive in the community when a job is carved or sculpted to align with one’s individual’s strengths and abilities while also aligning with the business needs and positively impacting its bottomline (Profit*Ability) . A job opportunity for persons with disabilities talent pool also improves the employer’s Disability Equality Index (DEI) and promotes a culture of inclusion (i.e., zero exclusion).

The unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities hovers over 70% and it is a national priority to move the needle from “Awareness to Action” (AA) and pivot NDEAM into a movement — National Disability Employment Awareness to Action Movement (NDE’AA’M) that is vibrant across Rural, Urban and National (RUN) at a grassroots level. ND’AA’M requires us collectively act our way into a new way of thinking so that we can mine the diamond in the rough, imagine, and create innovative jobs (that did not exist yesterday) to leverage the Desires, Needs and Abilities (DNA) of this talent pipeline and level the playing field. If not now then when? Learn more about the calendar of events during October 2021 to celebrate NDEAM.

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