America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and everyone is encouraged to participate. 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.
Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.
For specific ideas about how you can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit www.dol.gov/NDEAM. Suggestions range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month.
- NDEAM 2021 Announcement
- Governor Inslee's NDEAM Proclamation
- DSB in the Community/Events
- National Disability Employment Awareness Month History
- White Cane Safety Awareness Day, October 15
- The DSB Buzz Youth NDEAM Blog
NDEAM 2021 Announcement
Department of Services for the Blind Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Local events will support nationwide campaign throughout October
(Seattle Washington) - October 1, 2021 - Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) today announced its participation in 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 "America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion."
“Our national recovery from the pandemic cannot be completed without the inclusion of all Americans, in particular people with disabilities,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Their contributions have historically been vital to our nation’s success and are more important today than ever. We must build an economy that fully includes the talent and drive of those with disabilities.”
Reflecting this year's theme, throughout the month, DSB will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate the community on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. These efforts include speaking at events in the community and hosting the Discovering Hidden Talent & Work-Ready Candidates webinar for business leaders.
"DSB is proud to be a part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month this – and every – year," said Lisa Wheeler, DSB’s Assistant Director Vocational Rehabilitation & Workforce. "Our agency provides the needed services for people with visual disabilities, so they may gain quality employment in the workplace. We strive to support employees and businesses with their accessibility challenges so there is no barrier in creating job opportunities for everyone."
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.
Governor Inslee's National Disability Employment Awareness Month Proclamation
On September 24, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee officially proclaimed October 2021 to be National Disability Employment Awareness Month in the State of Washington and encouraged all Washingtonians to recognize "the value and talent that people with disabilities add to our workplaces and communities."
WHEREAS, October 2021 marks the 76th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM); and
WHEREAS, the theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy; and
WHEREAS, Washington law calls upon employers, both public and private, to be aware of and utilize the employment skills of our disabled citizens by recognizing their worth as individuals and their productive capacities; and
WHEREAS, the State of Washington, through the Department of Services for the Blind, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and other public agencies, and with the cooperative assistance of numerous civic and non-profit groups, can look forward to a continued expansion of employment opportunities for the greater acceptance of disabled persons in the competitive labor market.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Jay Inslee, Governor of the State of Washington do hereby proclaim October 2021 as
NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH
in Washington, and I encourage all people in our state to join me in recognizing the value and talent that people with disabilities add to our workplaces and communities.
Signed this 24th day of September, 2021
Governor Jay Inslee
Additional State of Washington Resources
Learn more how DSB helps employees and employers overcome workplace challenges for people who are blind or visually impaired at these events.
IPMA PD Event – Accessibility Matters
October 12, 2021
The IPMA is pleased to invite you to our next Professional Development Event: Accessibility Matters. This seminar will cover the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of accessibility. It will cover American with Disabilities Act requirements, building transition plans, Adaptive technologies for use by employees or customers with disabilities, user-centric design, and much, much more. Learn why accessibility matters, and how to create an inclusive work environment. Expect to receive practical information, guidance, and virtual experience with adaptive technologies. Virtual event! Link information will be sent out after registration. Automatic captioning will be provided by Zoom. To request ASL interpretation, please contact IPMA by email by October 7.
Discovering Hidden Talent & Work-Ready Candidates webinar
October 20, 2021
SB is hosting an interactive webinar to help businesses and hiring employers find qualified employees; increase diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in the workplace; and tap into a talent pool of qualified, work-ready employees. DSB is proud to offer resources and guidance regarding disability and employment related questions, and to partner with our local community businesses in creating an inclusive workforce.
DSB at Washington Council of the Blind Annual Convention
October 29 - 30, 2021
The WCB Convention is the opportunity for many of the organizations’ over 400 members to learn about the plans of leaders in the blind and low vision community - including American Council of the Blind, Department of Services for the Blind, Washington State School for the Blind and Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The broad scope of topics offers something for everyone! The general convention schedule and session descriptions can be found on the WCB website: https://wcbinfo.org/
DSB will also host a Youth Track - The Science of Sound - Students will hear from a variety of panelists who are blind and low vision and work with sound in their careers as sound engineers, music producers, voice over artists, and in the fields of broadcasting and media!
DSB at National Federation of the Blind of Washington Convention
November 5 - 7, 2021
The National Federation of the Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people’s lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. The Annual NFBW Convention will also feature the Big Report of updates on state and national issues, resolutions, breakout sessions, an Exhibitor Spotlight, and much more!
DSB is proud to partner with the National Federation of the Blind of Washington (NFBW) to offer special youth driven content at NFBW’s Annual 2021 Virtual Convention.
The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) is joining in the commemoration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and White Cane Safety Day. Everyone is cordially invited to join DSB at events around the state throughout the month of October.
It is the goal of nearly everyone in the world to be employed, to be successful, and make enough money to sustain a way of life. All of this hinges on the ability to get a job. But only 33.1 percent of people aged 16-64 who have disabilities are active in the work force.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is trying to combat this low percentage. It has its roots in 1945, when Congress passed a proclamation stating that the first week of October would be classified as “Nationally Employ the Physically Handicapped” week in support of returning veterans. In 1962 the week was opened up to all disabled Americans when the word “physical” was removed. In 1988, the week was expanded to a month, and it was renamed with the title we know today.
The Office of Disability Employment Policy took over the organization of the month in 2001. The month of October is now host to a myriad of events and celebrations, including White Cane Safety Awareness Day and World Sight Day. In many places it is also the setting for events promoting, and celebrating, different forms of disabilities. Many states have laws regarding the third week of October as a week for acknowledging the role those with disabilities have had in our history and the world today, as well as to bring light to how those with disabilities were treated in the past.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a statement that those with disabilities can – and do – accomplish great and helpful things, and that everyone should have equal access and opportunity to be a successful, integral part of society.
White Cane History
The long white cane is a tool for many blind people. It seems to have always been there, ready to help the independent traveler discover their surroundings. But it has only become powerful, and prevalent, in the past fifty years, despite being used sporadically throughout history. The symbolism of the cane has grown so powerful in fact that it has its own day to promote and reinforce how amazing it is, and all it does in the lives of millions.
White Cane Safety Day was created to promote independence using a cane, and to alert and remind sighted drivers of the correct traffic procedures when sharing the road with blind people. Though laws concerning the white cane were put in place in 1930, the enforcement of many early law were often debated. Because of this, many were ineffective. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) saw this need and acted on it.
During their 1963 convention the NFB asked the states to recognize the fifteenth of October as White Cane Safety Day and a recognition of blind independence. The request was granted by Congress in October 1964. One condition requested in the creation of the observance was that it would always come with a presidential proclamation, stating the day’s significance. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first president to make this proclamation.
Because of this great leap forward, new laws regarding blind travelers have been put in place throughout the United States, many based on model law written by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek. It is because of these laws that the white cane has the empowering qualities that it does, and blind citizens of America have and ability to move as freely and safely as sighted travelers.
For more information, visit the National Federation of the Blind website.
Washington White Cane Law
- Washington Driver Guide
- Revised Code of Washington 70.84.040 - Precautions for drivers of motor vehicles approaching a wheelchair user or pedestrian who is using a white cane, dog guide, or service animal.