Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

“NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.” Workers with disabilities make up a significant portion of our workforce, yet a high number of people with disabilities are unemployed. In recent years, employers have started to take note of this relatively untapped and talented pool of workers. The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDS) promotes the Employment First initiative, with a focus on “real jobs and real wages.”

Not only has DDS had a focus on competitive employment for people with disabilities, there has also been an increased focus on the natural supports that can be developed in the workplace. “Natural Supports can involve people, procedures, customs, tools, and benefits that are typically available in the workplace, along with individualized supports seen as normative within the setting.” Natural support from a coworker is preferred to a job coach or paid staff attending work with a person with a disability. A natural support can help to guide someone in their role, eliminating the need for ongoing staff support. These relationships can turn into friendships outside of work – a typical way that many of us meet new people.

Each October, The Arc joins the national disability community and public and private sector employers in celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The campaign sheds light on critical issues in disability employment and promotes best practices in hiring employees with disabilities and creating inclusive workplaces. The Arc of Massachusetts proudly promotes full inclusion in the workplace, including the social aspects of work.

The Building Friendships at Work Toolkit will help organizations that provide employment supports take better advantage of opportunities to facilitate relationships between the people they support and their co-workers – especially co-workers who do not have disabilities – in community settings.

One Comment:

  1. I wish my daughter qualified for job assistance. She is on the autism spectrum and gets migraine episodes every one or two months. She finally got the courage to leave her part time job of seven years and take a full time job at a hotel. She was there three weeks and doing great when a migraine happened. She called out sick and was fired, even though she informed them upon hiring that she has a disability. We’ve been through all the paperwork and she never qualifies for services. Wait lists. That doesn’t help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *