Fairfield DD is proud to promote 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 the public about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is Empowering All.
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
"By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges," said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "Our nation's most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation."
Reflecting this year's theme, throughout the month, Fairfield DD will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate Fairfield County on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. These efforts include an advertising campaign, radio show appearances, speaking engagements and an aggressive presence on social media.
"Fairfield DD is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Superintendent John Pekar. "We are proud of the partnerships we’ve established with area businesses and the progress we’ve made in supporting employment exploration and placement.”
Locally, Fairfield DD works diligently to advance employment through Job Fusion, which provides job training and placement assistance. In addition, Fairfield DD also extends job training and internship exploration through Discover U, a training model located inside River Valley Mall. Even high school students are able to prepare for the workforce through the Project SEARCH program offered locally at Fairfield Medical Center through a partnership with Eastland/Fairfield Career & Technical School.
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/ndeam. For information on employment support offered through Fairfield DD, call 740-652-7220.