Although commemorated in October, National Disability Employment Month (NDEAM) activities can occur year round. NDEAM can serve to launch efforts to “highlight the importance of including disability in all of your organization’s diversity endeavors.” This can benefit employers within the workplace and in the wider community. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor offers “Ten Ways to Foster the NDEAM Spirit Year-Round.” Some of these suggestions follow below.
– Elicit ideas from your organization’s “Disability Employee Resource Group (ERG):” If there is a disability-related ERG, engage members to brainstorm activities, topics, and speakers to feature in efforts to build awareness. The group can also help to refer qualified job candidates to the organization.
– Hold a “Lunch and Learn” series related to disability issues: Regular learning sessions for employees, featuring internal and external speakers, can “maintain NDEAM momentum and educate staff members in an informal setting.” A wide range of topics can be covered, such as “Communicating with Job Seekers with Disabilities,” “Managing Diabetes at Work,” and “Creating Accessible PDF Documents.”
– Promote and provide volunteer opportunities among employees: Volunteerism can benefit employers by strengthening “team engagement,” developing leaders, and more. Employers can sponsor volunteer opportunities at local organizations that prepare people with disabilities for career development and job placement. These activities also can potentially help to recruit talented candidates with disabilities as well. For more details and the complete list of ideas, visit the ODEP webpage Year-Round Employer Strategies for Advancing Disability Inclusion.