Disability Employment Awareness Month-Tips and Tools

A lot of different flowers make a bouquet — Muslim adage

Whether it’s a hefty day planner of yore or a digital device the size of a digit the calendar marks the inexorable march of time.   We are sometimes taken by surprise by what comes next! In this case, it may be the proximate arrival of National Disability Employment Awareness Month – a reminder and reason to pause, learn and reflect.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Inclusion Works.” Thinking about the definition of the term “inclusion” prompted me to google, as per usual,  the term “inclusion” as it applies specifically to workplace inclusion of individuals challenged by physical or mental disabilities. There I found – and was waylaid by – this thought-provoking collection of inclusion quotes that lured me on a meaningful mental meander. http://www.inclusion.com/inclusion.html

Back on task, I focused next on the issue at hand – ways for advocacy groups and employers to collaborate on celebration of the theme. What I discovered is that support resources are plentiful, accessible and really very good.   It is worthy of note that many materials produced by the Department of Labor are available in Spanish.

Promotion ideas range from the pro forma proclamation to social media activities, posters and press releases. A good starting point is the Department of Labor website: https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/ or tweet #InclusionWorks. Check out the Toolbox for a jump start. Promotional ideas are easily searchable by target audience – employers/employees, education/youth service professionals/associations and unions, disability-related and concerned advocacy groups.

One idea that caught my attention — It seems that some states have legislation in place that requires schools to incorporate disability history as part of the regular curriculum. https://www.dol.gov/odep/alliances/roadmap.pdf  Though I am fully aware of the inevitable objections it seems to me that  this may be an idea worthy of discussion. Sometimes time spent just talking about an idea can raise awareness, motivate change and prompt creative thinking.







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