October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a designation that Congress first declared in 1988 to raise awareness for the employment needs and contributions of individuals with disabilities. Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, spoke at the 39th Annual Secretary of Defense Disability Awards earlier this month, and noted that the Pentagon must do its part to harness the talents of those with disabilities to bridge the employment game. "That means eliminating barriers to recruitment across the force,” Esper said. “We must give everyone the opportunity to succeed and support them as they advance their careers.”
This is an important message for all employers, including those in the federal government, state governments, local governments and the private sector. Hiring people with disabilities bring skills that are critical to accomplishing certain tasks, while adding an important layer of diversity that helps lead to further innovation. “People are our most important resource,” Esper said. “That remains as true as ever. The diversity and talents across the department is what drives ingenuity.”
As the Department of Labor explains, National Disability Employment Awareness Month was created to celebrate the workplace achievements of those with disabilities along with raising awareness about disability employment issues.
The need to hire people with disabilities is important for government organizations at all levels. Some potential benefits include:
- Increased hiring pool.
- Positively impacts the retention of existing employees.
- Reduced cost of employee benefits available.
- Increased diversity.
- Response to an aging workforce.
- Increased work ethic/dedication.
- Enhanced staff morale.
- New look at creativity and problem solving.
Hiring people with disabilities offers a world of benefits. How has your organization embraced people with disabilities and how are you celebrating them during National Disability Employment Awareness Month?
For those interested in learning more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.