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National Disability Employment Awareness Month
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Col. Lester A. Weilacher, 66th Air Base Group commander, prepares to sign a proclamation designating October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month here as (left to right) Sheila Cunniff, Marie Swain, Capt. Aaron Sexton and Thomas Fredericks, 66th Air Base Group deputy director, look on Sept. 16. Among the events planned throughout the month, a panel discussion with local disabled employees, a disability awareness information fair with exhibits and a working dog demonstration at the Youth Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)
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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Posted 9/19/2013   Updated 9/19/2013 Email story   Print story

    

9/19/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- The base recently announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of NDEAM is to educate people about disability employment issues and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year as "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.

"When I was growing up, many people doubted what I could do just because I was blind. But because I had people in my life who instilled in me an expectation of work and showed me opportunities to be successful, I completed college and became known for what I can do," said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy when announcing this year's NDEAM theme, "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task."

Reflecting this year's theme, throughout the month the base will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate the Hanscom community on disability employment issues and the role they play in fostering a disability-friendly work culture. These efforts include a Disability Panel Discussion featuring disabled employees from Hanscom AFB and the local community, disability awareness informational exhibits and a working dog presentation at the Youth Center.

"The Hanscom NDEAM Committee, in partnership with the AFCEA Lexington-Concord Diversity, is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said. Capt. Aaron Sexton. "We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with 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 the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep/.



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