October is National Disability Employment Month


The Pioneer Center recently announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Inclusion Works.”

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces 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.

“By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges,” said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Our nation’s most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation.”

Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, The Pioneer Center will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate the community on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. The marquee event for the month will be a Reverse Job Fair, hosted at the Christopher Conference Center on October 24, 12-5:30pm.

The Reverse Job Fair literally turns the tables on traditional job fairs. Prospective employees are the ones sitting behind the tables, selling themselves to employers who drop by at their convenience. Pioneer does the legwork for business’ who RSVP by Oct. 17, ensuring they will meet with candidates who meet the employers’ needs. To learn more about the Reverse Job Fair, or to RSVP, contact Art Nickles, Employment Connections Coordinator, at 740-773-8044.

“The Pioneer Center is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Patrick McFadden, Director of Communication for The Pioneer Center. “We want to spread the important message that we value the diverse perspectives, including those of individuals with developmental disabilities.”

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.rossdd.org/jobs

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