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Showing the World That ‘Inclusion Drives Innovation’

October is a special month to those of us at the Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE). It’s the time of year when we mark National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)—the national campaign that celebrates individuals with disabilities and their achievements and contributions to America's workforce.

As you may know, NDEAM is spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the same agency that funds and manages the CDE. We are often asked where NDEAM intersects with our multi-faceted campaign. The answer? Almost everywhere.

As our name implies, the CDE is a national effort that aims to shape attitudes and improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. We’re the force behind three powerful public service announcements (PSAs) that have aired nearly 300,000 times on television stations nationwide. Each highlights the skills and talents of people with disabilities with a range of career aspirations and experiences and, if you watch TV, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen or heard one of them.

Our flagship production, “I Can” features seven people with disabilities stating what they can do at work when given the opportunity. “Because” targets those who influence the career aspirations of youth with disabilities, and “Who I Am,” our campaign’s most recent PSA, showcases nine people who are not defined by their disabilities, reinforcing that, for many people, work is fundamental to identity.

Of course, there’s much more to the CDE than our PSAs. Our website, WhatCanYouDoCampaign.org—available in both English and Spanish—features a range of tools and tangible ideas for supporting the campaign’s goals, such as CDE support badges that you can display on your own websites, posters, and ready-to-publish news briefs and ads you can run in your own publications. We also engage our followers through regular Twitter chats and a robust social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

While the spirit of NDEAM underpins everything we do year round, we’re using October to help amplify this year’s NDEAM theme—Inclusion Drives Innovation. Indeed, America’s businesses are strengthened by the unique perspectives that various employees bring to the workplace every day, and the CDE is working to help employers and others recognize that people with disabilities are a crucial part of the inclusion equation.

This month, on our social media platforms, we’re showcasing a wide range of people and narratives that illustrate the many ways that inclusion has fueled innovation and advancement in various fields. We’re also promoting NDEAM events being hosted across the nation, and reminding our followers about the many ways they can observe NDEAM.

So how can you get involved? Visit ODEP’s NDEAM website—dol.gov/ndeam—for links to tips and ideas. There, you’ll find information on ordering or downloading the free 2017 NDEAM poster, which offers a perfect way to liven up walls and bulletin boards, and share NDEAM’s vital message with the masses.

In addition, we hope you’ll sign up to receive CDE e-mail updates by writing us at info@WhatCanYouDoCampaign.org (with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line). By doing so, you’ll be among the first to learn about our new products and initiatives, along with ways to spread the vital message that at work, it’s what people CAN do that matters.

About the CDE

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) promotes positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers, and others, to recognize the value and talent people with disabilities bring to America’s workplaces. Launched in 2009, the campaign is a collaborative effort among ODEP and the following disability and business organizations: the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD); the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN); the Job Accommodation Network (JAN); the National Business and Disability Council (NBDC); the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC); the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); Special Olympics (SO); and the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN). Numerous other supporters are actively promoting the CDE message. To learn more, visit WhatCanYouDoCampaign.org.   

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