October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

COWIC/ OhioMeansJobs-Columbus Franklin County is a proud participant of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “My disability is one part of who I am.”

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.”

COWIC partners with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), a state agency that facilitates customized employment plans for Ohioans with disabilities. OOD representatives, along with auxiliary services are located in COWIC’s onsite Job Center for jobseekers with disabilities.

COWIC also partners with WrightChoice, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) organization that serves educational institutions, business and non-profit communities by sourcing and developing under-represented populations including people with disabilities.  WrightChoice’s services focus on career and professional development, job readiness, internship placement, disability inclusion and diversity training.

TyKiah Wright, CEO of WrightChoice, Inc., will be participating in panel discussions, hosting webinars and keynoting events for companies including at Fifth Third Bank, United States Government Accountability Office, Cardinal Health, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during October. WrightChoice, Inc. is also partnering with Wright State University’s Office of Disability Services to host the annual Employability Career and Internship Fair on October 29th.

“WrightChoice is proud to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” Wright said. “We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities.”

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, and following the hashtag #NDEAM on social media.