October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate. Held annually in October, NDEAM raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities throughout our nation’s history.

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 what it is today.

NDEAM is led at the national level by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, and this year’s theme is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.” But the true spirit of NDEAM lies in the many creative events and activities that take place at the grassroots level across the nation each year. There is something everyone can do — including businesses both large and small.

For inspiration, see the “31 days of NDEAM” slideshow, which includes several ideas for how businesses can support NDEAM. Activities range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to more involved, such as conducting disability awareness training for employees. Regardless, all play an important role in educating that people with disabilities are EQUAL to the task — every day of every month.

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