“Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities” is this year’s theme,
and posters are popping up throughout ITD.

Observance focuses on contributions of people with disabilities

Employers are learning that competing in today’s global market requires a highly skilled talent pool from which to draw.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and serves as an annual reminder that people with disabilities have valuable skills and talents to contribute as part of the nation’s workforce.

The message to employers this year is “Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities.” The 2011 theme honors the contributions of workers with disabilities and reminds everyone that these workers form a talent pool that can help employers compete in today’s global economy.

“Return on investment means hiring the right talent,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

“Workers with disabilities represent all skill sets and are ready to get the job done,” she said. “This year’s theme focuses on improving employment opportunities that lead to good jobs and a secure economic future for people with disabilities and the nation as a whole.”

“Providing all people, including those with disabilities, the same workplace opportunities makes good business sense,” said ITD Chief Human Resource Officer Mary Harker. “The focus should always be on qualifications and skills. It is also the right thing to do.”

“People with disabilities are an integral part of ITD’s workforce, and access to fair employment for everyone is a priority for ITD,” Harker said. “This is a commitment ITD maintains every day, not just one month each year.

Public Law 176, enacted by Congress in 1945, designated the first week in October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” President Harry S. Truman designated the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities to carry out the observance.

In 1962, the word “physically” was removed from the week’s name to acknowledge the employment needs of all Americans with disabilities. Congress expanded the week to a month in 1988 and changed its name to “National Disability Awareness Month,” which eventually evolved to its current name. The Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy took over responsibility for National Disability Employment Awareness Month in 2001.


Published 9-30-2011