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National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Ideas for Associations and Unions
The theme of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is "Because We are Equal to the Task." This is the voice of America's workers with disabilities reflecting they have the education, training, experience, abilities and determination to be successful in the workplace.
Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Seretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, in her official blog of the U.S. Department of Labor states:
"October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time each year when we as a nation celebrate the contributions of America's workers with disabilities and assess our progress toward building a workforce that welcomes the skills and talents of all qualified individuals."
Our nation has been making progress througout the years in fostering a disability inclusive workplace as indicated in the National Disability Employment Awareness Month Timeline and National Disability Employment Month Facts and Figures presented by DiversityInc.
In an effort to raise the awareness on disability employment, the National Disability Employment Awareness Month presents ideas for associations and unions to work with their members. The information is as follows:
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Ideas for Associations and Unions
Associations and unions have an important role to play in promoting National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The ideas below are just a few ways they can contribute.
- Feature NDEAM in your magazine or newsletter — NDEAM offers timely and fresh content for magazines or newsletters. Articles can inform members about NDEAM and its purpose, as well as specific ideas for how members can implement relevant activities within their organization. For content ideas, see Ideas for Employers and Employees or simply use one of the NDEAM "drop-in" articles below that can be quickly tailored by inserting your organization's name where prompted.
- Feature NDEAM in social media activities — Likewise, NDEAM provides an interesting hook for social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. For the latter, organizations are encouraged to include the hashtag #NDEAM. Sample postings and tweets are available to assist in incorporating NDEAM into social media activities.
- Post an NDEAM Web link — An NDEAM link on your Home page informs members and other visitors about information of interest to them while also helping to keep your website dynamic and up to date. To create a link, use the NDEAM poster thumbnail image or a simple text headline and link it to an article on your website or directly to the list of ideas for employers and employees.
- Send a "President's Message" about NDEAM — Association or union leaders can take advantage of NDEAM to send a special e-mail to members encouraging them to participate and providing information about how they can do so. Alternatively (or in addition), NDEAM could be incorporated into speeches or the President's column in your organization's monthly publication.
- Hold an NDEAM "brown-bag lunch," webcast or teleconference — For local organizations, such as chambers of commerce, NDEAM presents an opportune time to sponsor a brown-bag lunch or other informal seminar on the topic of disability employment. For national organizations, webcasts or teleconferences may be more appropriate. Sources for speakers for such events include various national and state disability-related organizations.
- Develop a disability employment webpage — NDEAM is a great time to unveil a dedicated disability employment webpage for members listing tools and resources to help them understand related issues and implement steps to foster a disability inclusive workplace. Two examples of resources to include are the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN). For additional ideas on things to include on such a page, visit the ODEP website.
- Distribute NDEAM posters — In today's world of electronic communication, sending something useful and tangible to members can make an impact and reinforce the value of association membership. Associations can use the occasion of NDEAM to send their members a poster to hang in employee break areas or other locations that employees frequent to promote a positive, inclusive message. Likewise, unions can send posters to their locals.
Of course, as employers themselves, associations and unions are also encouraged to recognize NDEAM among their staff. For ideas on how to do so, see ideas for employers and employees.
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