Nationwide campaign will take place in October
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when 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. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
"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."
Here at STEP we work hard to find opportunities to get the people we serve jobs that will lead to their increased independence and happiness. We offer a wide variety of options and programs to ensure those we serve or ready and comfortable to enter independent employment including retail classes, janitorial classes, supervised work crews, and employment readiness trainings just to name a few.
One thing that we cannot stress enough is something Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein said at the MI Hidden Talent event put on by the Livonia Chamber of Commerce, “This is not charity. This is about the idea that if you give a disabled person an opportunity . . . you are going to find the most highly energetic, highly passionate, most incredibly loyal people that you could ever possibly hope to employ.”
One of STEP’s partners had this to say about how giving those with a disability an opportunity has benefited them “DQB industries and STEP have had a mutually beneficial relationship for more years that we can remember. Dan and his crew (from STEP) are an integral part of DQB industries, and we credit our smooth-running packaging operation to all of their hard work and dedication to a job well done.”
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/ndeam. You can also learn more about Services to Enhance Potential by visiting www.stepcentral.org or emailing Steve Slayton at firstname.lastname@example.org