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50 Years of Empowerment: Celebrating the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and NDEAM 2023  

50 Years of Empowerment: Celebrating the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and NDEAM 2023  

This year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) holds a special significance as we celebrate not only NDEAM but also the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Join us as we celebrate 50 years of progress and empowerment in supporting and advocating disability rights and fostering inclusive workplaces.

In this post, we’ll look at the progress of disability inclusion over the past five decades. Join us as we reflect on how disability diversity has improved lives and how you can further support disability inclusion.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Igniting the Journey 

The Rehabilitation Act began 50 years ago when individuals from the US fought for civil rights and sought equal treatment for people of different ethnic backgrounds and races. This sparked the connection between the similarities of oppression between racial minorities and people with disabilities.

The United States of America witnessed a transformation in pursuing disability equality and inclusivity through the Rehabilitation Act. It was enacted on the 26th of September 1973 to eliminate discrimination of disability under programs funded by the federal government. This act created vocational rehabilitation services to help connect people with disabilities to services needed to find employment and prohibited discrimination based on disability.

The Rehabilitation Act is just one of the many legislations geared toward disability. Besides this act, other statutory laws and regulations were enacted to further advocate for people with disabilities, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).¹

Celebrating Inclusivity Through the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 

NDEAM 2023 observes and celebrates employees with disabilities in the US every October, acknowledging the contributions of employees with disabilities through advocating for employees with disabilities and exercising inclusive practices.

NDEAM’s roots go back to 1945 when Congress enacted Public Law 176, inaugurating every October’s first week as the “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week,” and was renamed “National Employ the Handicapped Week” in 1962 to be more inclusive of people with all types of disabilities.² Two decades later, Congress expanded it to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

The NDEAM serves as a reminder that inclusivity should be practiced and observed indefinitely. Through NDEAM, we celebrate the contribution of American workers and organizations who employ a diversified workforce, fostering positivity and inclusion.

5 Unique Ways of Celebrating NDEAM 2023 

There are a lot of ways to celebrate and observe the NDEAM. Here are some National Disability Employment Awareness Month ideas you can try this year.

1. Start an Employee Resource Group (ERG)

A great way to show participation in this year’s NDEAM is by giving employees with disabilities access to peer resources.

If you don’t have one, you can start an Employee Resource Group (ERG) that can be a resource group for people with disabilities, a support group, and a place to advocate within your organization for inclusion and accessibility.

If you already have a disability ERG, ask them for help planning events throughout the month. There’s a high chance they’re knowledgeable about disability-related issues and can help bring awareness and change from your awareness events.

2. Post and Publish Blogs and Articles

Many of us are on social media, so why not use it to celebrate inclusivity? Writing about NDEAM on social media accounts can spark interest and motivate readers. It also helps spread awareness, bringing more people to be more inclusive in their own lives. Some hashtags to use right now include:

  • #disability
  • #inclusion
  • #disabilityawareness
  • #invisabledisability
  • #disabilitycommunity
  • #NDEAM
  • #NDEAM2023

You can even start a trend by including an NDEAM hashtag or posting creative photos with your team.

3. Host Workshops About Disability Inclusion

One of the best and most informative ways of celebrating NDEAM is by holding interactive events to educate about disability inclusion. You can invite guest speakers on-site or have someone hold a meeting via Zoom to talk about topics like the history of disability, the progress of different legislations, firsthand experiences with a condition, and Q&A at the end.

Related Article: Set the Right Foundations: What is Belonging in the Workplace? 

4. Participate in Disability Mentoring Day

One of the best ways to indulge in the observance of NDEAM is by participating in the disability mentoring day. Disability Mentoring Day is a large-scale program that promotes career development for job seekers and students through internship, mentorship, and career exploration.³

Held every third Wednesday of October, you can show support and form connections among peers and like-minded people, building relationships and learning more about people with disabilities.

5. Hire Someone With a Disability

Hiring people with disabilities promotes inclusive company practices, accessibility, and a diverse working environment . Celebrate the limitless creativity and talent of people with disabilities by adding them to your team.

Read More: Everything You Know About Disability Inclusion is WRONG 

HONORING 50 YEARS OF EMPOWERMENT WITH PEAK PERFORMERS

Peak Performers celebrates this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month with you, and we want you to know that we support people with disabilities. We value diversity and inclusivity; it’s why we do what we do.

Since 1994, we’ve been matching skilled people with disabilities and organizations who are looking to fill vacant positions. Whether you’re an organization looking for talented individuals or an applicant seeking the right company to work with, we’re here to help.

Contact us today to get started

References 

1.“What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?” ADA National Network, https://adata.org/learn-about-ada. 29 Aug. 2023.

2.“National Disability Employment Awareness Month: A Commemorative Observances Legal Research Guide.” Library of Congress. 20 Sep. 2023. guides.loc.gov/national-disability-employment-awareness-month.

3. “Disability Mentoring Day.” Kansas Office of the Governor. kcdcinfo.ks.gov/disability-mentoring-day. 20 Sep. 2023.

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