Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness month in October

In October, Goodwill NYNJ joins the nation in acknowledging the importance of employee with disabilities — a vital component of the U.S. labor force — during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s celebration marks 70 years since President Truman authorized Congress to officially recognize workers with disabilities.

This year’s theme, “My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am,” was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor. It underscores the fact that employees with disabilities bring a wide variety of skills to the table. They make up nearly 20 percent of America’s workforce, yet their unemployment rate is more than twice that of workers without disabilities. It is crucial that American employers continue to make efforts to hire workers of all backgrounds and abilities.

This year’s NDEAM theme comes from the Campaign for Disability Employment’s Who I Am” PSA, which features nine people with disabilities sharing the many ways they describe themselves, including their occupations. Check out the blog post NDEAM 2015: My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am by Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.

For 100 years, Goodwill NYNJ has worked tirelessly to support job seekers with disabilities and specialized circumstances through training, placement and employment services.

We partner with corporations and small businesses alike. Last April, we reported here how Freddy, a young man with autism was hired at Uniqlo. A JC Penney store in Queens hired five individuals with developmental disabilities last year. They first hired a woman and were so happy with her performance during one of the most stressful shopping days of the year, Black Friday, that they hired four more. Eleven months later, the same store has hired four more individuals with disabilities and has recommended the Goodwill NYNJ placement team to a sister store in Brooklyn!

And that’s all it takes. We educate employers and place the best candidates in the job of their choice. A job where we know they’ll thrive. Employers learn how individuals with disabilities can be productive and contribute to the bottom line and join the workforce like anybody else. They bring along their life experience.

For more information about how your donations help us support employees with disabilities in obtaining meaningful employment, visit our website.

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