Sunday, October 02, 2005

October: NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH

Until I have the Disability and Employment blog set up, we will continue to add information to this blog.

The following information was provided from the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) about the month of October: National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

In recognition of the importance of this intiative and of this month, Disabilitykey will initiate the Disability and Employment resources during the month of October.

PLEASE STAY TUNED!

"In 1945, Congress designated a week in October to recognize the skills and contributions of people with disabilities to the workforce. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month. National Disability Employment Awareness Month has become an important annual tradition. Throughout the years, this observance has grown into a celebration of our continued efforts to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao recently announced the official theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2005 — “Workers with Disabilities: Ready for Tomorrow's Jobs Today.” This theme will be used by the private sector; federal, state and local governments; and advocacy organizations around the country to plan events and programs that showcase the abilities and skills of job candidates who have disabilities.

As President George W. Bush has said, “Americans with disabilities are active and contributing members of our society, and they must have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to compete and obtain jobs in the 21st century workforce.” The President's New Freedom Initiative recognizes the tremendous contributions and potential of persons with disabilities who are, and who will continue to be, an important part of our nation's labor pool.

Under the leadership of Secretary Chao, the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is developing and influencing policies and practices that directly impact the participation of people with disabilities in the workforce. On October 19th we will host National Disability Mentoring Day, promoting career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through one-on-one job shadowing and hands-on career exploration. On October 27th, Secretary Chao will recognize the winners of The Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award to recognize the non-profits, small businesses, corporations and individuals that have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts in furthering the employment and workplace environment for people with disabilities, a goal of President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative.

We are continuing our work to ensure that workforce development professionals have the tools they need to better serve the career goals of people with disabilities. We have also developed DisabilityInfo.gov, an important online resource that offers help for employers looking for hard-working and dedicated employees. This continually updated Web site guides users to resources on employment programs and job accommodations for people with disabilities.

In 2001, the responsibility for leading the nationwide recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month was transferred to ODEP. While we dedicate this month to raising awareness about the contributions and potential of people with disabilities, our work continues in advancing their full participation in the workforce and their communities."

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