The start of October brings cooler temperatures here in New England, along with Patriots games, Halloween costume planning, and pumpkin carving. But many people are not aware that October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
On August 11th, 1945, in the aftermath of World War II, President Harry S. Truman approved a Congressional resolution declaring the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In the years that followed, the resolution evolved to include people with all disabilities, not just physical, and it was extended to the full month of October. These changes have brought the traditional framework into a more inclusive and modern vision. Now, October serves as a time to reflect on how far the country has come in terms of inclusivity in the workplace, while also recognizing how far we still have to go.
Despite progress over the years, the unfortunate reality is that people with disabilities remain categorically underemployed. In 2017, only 18.7% of persons with a disability in the United States were employed, compared to 65.7% of those without a disability. It’s no secret that unemployment is one of the most crucial barriers to independence for people of all ability, and this statistic stresses the need for attention on the subject. Harnessing the skills of people with disabilities is a major step in improving life for everyone, and leads to a more productive workforce across the country.
This year, the theme of NDEAM is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.” The goal is to highlight the fact that everyone can be an active and participating member of the workforce. Triangle, Inc. whole-heartedly embraces that vision through our various employment programs in the community.
In honor of NDEAM, we will be profiling several of our employment partners on our blog this month: Cape Cod Polish, Malden Housing Authority, and the Department of Public Works. We recognize that building strong relationships with our partners is key to achieving our mission of assisting people with disabilities to achieve their highest potential, especially as our focus has shifted to community-based services and programs in recent years. We are proud to work closely with each site to develop a unique partnership in order to best serve our participants. As a result, Triangle, together with our many partners, has been able to help participants secure or advance more than 400 careers in fiscal year 2018.
Check back here throughout the month to learn more about our employment partners, and to see how we are celebrating National Disability Awareness Month here at Triangle!