October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month


Focus is on increasing employment opportunities for workers with disabilities

(DENVER) – Governor John Hickenlooper has issued a proclamation declaring October as Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to recognize the value that people with disabilities bring to Colorado’s workforce and to promote the hiring of individuals with disabilities.

In October, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and its Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) will honor the achievements of several workers with disabilities as well as celebrate businesses and advocates who are committed to increasing the employment opportunities of individuals with disabilities. Nominations for the Shining Stars of VR awards are being accepted through October 13 at the Department’s website. At that site, click on “Nominate a Shining Star of Voc Rehab.”

“We have seen progress in hiring and in making our workplaces more accessible to those with disabilities, but we still have work to do,” says CDLE Executive Director Ellen Golombek. “Disability Employment Awareness Month is a time to rededicate ourselves to addressing the injustices that still linger and to remove the barriers that remain.”

While the annual average unemployment rate in 2016 for people with no disability was 4.3 percent, the unemployment rate for people with a disability stood at 11.6 percent. Throughout October, CDLE and DVR will be highlighting the numerous benefits of hiring workers with disabilities as well as recognizing the important contributions of workers with disabilities.

“It’s good for business,” Golombek stresses. “This month is a time to dedicate ourselves to inclusivity in our workforce and renew our commitment to putting the American dream within everyone’s reach.”

About National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Month is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for 2017 is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

NDEAM’s roots go 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.” Upon its establishment in 2001, ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.

The Lamar Workforce Center is at 402 East Olive Street in Lamar.  The phone number is 336-2256.

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