Celebrating 70 Years!
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for this year — which marks 70 years since the first observance — is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.”
“This year’s theme encapsulates the important message that people with disabilities are just that — people,” said Jennifer Sheehy, acting assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “And like all people, we are the sum of many parts, including our work experiences. Disability is an important perspective we bring to the table, but, of course, it’s not the only one.”
National Disability Employment Awareness Month, known as NDEAM is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities, past and present. Each spring, the year’s theme is announced to help workplaces, individuals and communities begin planning activities.
The 2015 theme echoes the ODEP-funded Campaign for Disability Employment’s “Who I Am” television public service announcement, currently in national distribution. This announcement features nine diverse people with disabilities — some obvious and some not — sharing the many ways they describe themselves, from personal interests to family relationships to occupations. Among them is actor RJ Mitte, known for his work on AMC’s critically acclaimed series “Breaking Bad.”
NDEAM dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The word “physically” was deleted in 1962 to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities. The week was expanded to a month by Congress in 1988 and its name was also changed to NDEAM. When ODEP was created in 2001, it was given responsibility for NDEAM, including selection of its annual theme.