News>A strong workforce is an inclusive workforce: what can you do for National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2012
Col. William Knight, 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews commander, teams with Maryland Lt. Gov., the Honorable Anthony Brown, and staff from the AbilityOne Base Supply Center to cut the traditional grand-openin ribbon signifying the store's official opening. The Andrews AbilityOne Base Supply Center opened its doors during a grand opeining ceremony here on Aug. 7, 2012. The grand opening featured dignitaries, guest speakers, musical performances and refreshments. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Keyonna Fennell)
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness 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. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?" (Courtesy graphic)
by Staff Sgt. Torey Griffith
11th Wing Public Affairs
10/10/2012 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Throughout the month, Team Andrews will participate 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 "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"
A strong and inclusive team helps keep Andrews running at the newly-opened AbilityOne Base Supply Center, Operated by Blind Industries and Service of Maryland. Located in Building 3066 on East Perimeter Road here, the supply center employs legally-blind associates who sell office and cleaning supplies, furniture, tools and uniforms as well as various other items that are essential to the installation's military and civilian personnel.
Utilizing the latest in non-visual technology, hand-held scanners and screen reading computer software help the employees take an active role in reducing the 70 percent unemployment rate for blind or visually impaired U.S. citizens. Additionally, there are more than 25 visually-impaired associates employed at BISM Base Supply Centers nationwide.
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, the Office of Disability Employment Policy assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.
Although led by ODEP, NDEAM's true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers, schools and organizations of all sizes and in all communities are encouraged to participate in NDEAM, and ODEP offers several resources to help them do so.
Activities range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive America, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities -- every day of every month.