Oneida NY – We are just over halfway through National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate people and celebrate the contributions that America’s workers with disabilities make. This year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.”
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945 when injured veterans returned from overseas following World War II and fought for employment rights. At that time, 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 individuals with all types of disabilities and in 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation,” he added.
Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, The Arc of Madison Cortland will be producing and sharing a number of videos that highlight work experiences of people with disabilities. These employees are employed through their Alternatives Vocational Services program. These videos can be found on arcofmc.org or The Arc of Madison Cortland Facebook page.
Alternatives Vocational Services (AVS) assists people with disabilities in finding and succeeding in employment. AVS provides job development, job coaching, and follow-along services, allowing individuals to experience increased wages, greater independence, and the satisfaction that comes from holding a job. AVS currently works with more than 40 employers and 100 people throughout the area and is always adding more to the list.
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and The Arc of Madison Cortland’s Alternatives Vocational Services during October and throughout the year by visiting arcofmc.org or contacting Ashley Hillenbrand at: (315) 363-3315 ext. 5160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.