October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month - Increasing Access and Opportunity

Photo of a business meeting. One employee has a disability.

This October marks the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is a significant year as we also just celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both milestones being celebrated with the theme "Increasing Access and Opportunity."

 

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month Increasing Access and Opportunity

This October marks the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is a significant year as we also just celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both milestones being celebrated with the theme "Increasing Access and Opportunity."

Approximately 25 percent of Californians have a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, only 50 percent of individuals with disabilities are employed across the nation. With national unemployment rates at an all-time high, it’s important, now more than ever, to increase access and opportunity so everyone in our communities has equal opportunity to live their lives!

Disability Rights California works to ensure people with disabilities can work in competitive integrated employment and make informed decisions about their jobs. DRC helps people with disabilities access education and training to prepare for employment, obtain services and supports needed to participate in meaningful careers, and remove barriers to work for our community.

“Work gives individuals a sense of purpose and self-worth. For many, it defines who we are and is a source of justifiable pride. Work helps improve individual and family finances, and it helps us connect socially. All individuals, regardless of disability, deserve the opportunity to be full members of their community where they can live, learn, work and play through all stages of life.”
- National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors

Get Involved on Social Media:

Share what #DisabilityEmployment means to you, how we as a community can continue conversations, and take action to increase access and opportunity for all individuals with disabilities especially during this time where economic recovery is so important.

Tag us in a social media post and use the hashtags #DisabilityEmployment #DisabilityInclusion #DisabilityRights #IncreaseAccess #IncreaseOpportunity:

Facebook: @DisabilityRightsCalifornia

Twitter: @DisabilityCA

 

History of Disability Employment Policy

Courtesy of: US Department of Labor

1990's

The Americans with Disabilities Act

Its employment provisions prohibit discrimination in job application procedures, hiring, advancement, termination, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The Telecommunications Act

Requires telecommunications manufacturers and service providers to ensure that equipment is designed, developed, and fabricated to be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

Section 508

Under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, agencies must provide members of the public, as well as employees with disabilities, access to information comparable to that afforded those without disabilities.

Olmstead Decision

The Supreme Court ruled that segregation of people with disabilities when integrated, community-based settings are an option, is a form of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

2000's

Ticket to Work Program

The voluntary program aims to increase the financial independence of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries ages 18 – 64 by providing improved options for receiving employment services and maintaining publicly funded healthcare

Assistive Technology Act

The Act requires states to provide direct aid to people with disabilities to ensure they have access to the technology they need at home and at work and authorized the development of alternative financing mechanisms.

21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act

Requiring federal agencies to modernize their websites and digital services, according to eight specific criteria, including accessibility for people with disabilities.

And more: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/ada30/timeline

Despite positive steps to create access and opportunity, there is much to be done but many ways to celebrate current policies and make your voice heard to encourage more!

Civil Rights Commission Pressures Congress to Repeal Outdated and Unjust Employment Laws

The United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) calls on Congress to repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a provision that permits employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage.

 

How to Get Involved

 To learn more read our self-advocacy resources: