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October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

September 30, 2015

The official theme of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October is "My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am."

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the contributions of America's workers with disabilities, past and present.

The 2015 theme echoes the ODEP-funded Campaign for Disability Employment's "Who I Am" television public service announcement (PSA), currently in national distribution, which showcases individuals who are not defined by their disabilities. The PSA features nine diverse people with disabilities — some obvious and some not — sharing the many ways they describe themselves, from personal interests and family relationships to professional occupations. Among them is actor RJ Mitte, known for his work on the critically acclaimed television 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 across the spectrum of disabilities. The week was expanded to a month by Congress in 1988 and its name changed to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. When ODEP was created in 2001, it was given responsibility for NDEAM, including the selection of its annual theme.

For more information about NDEAM, including a free downloadable poster in English or Spanish, and specific ideas on how different types of organizations can participate in the month-long observance, visit http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/.