Dickinson Center, Inc. Observes National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The 2016 NDEAM theme – #InclusionWorks–appears in large white letters on a blue background in the center of the poster. Above the theme in yellow are the words National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Surrounding the theme are three images of people with disabilities working in inclusive workplaces plus three colored boxes with the following messages: Inclusion Works for Business, Inclusion Works for Opportunity and Inclusion Works for Innovation. There is a red box in the lower left corner that includes DOL’s logo with the following words in white underneath: OFFICE OF DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT POLICY, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and the URL to ODEP’s website dol.gov/odep.

During the month of October, Dickinson Center, Inc. observes National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each annually. 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 a diverse list of disabilities. This year's theme is "InclusionWorks."

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."

Dickinson Center, Inc. provides Employment Support Services for Elk, Cameron, McKean and Potter counties, along with housing a licensed vocational facility at its main office in Ridgway.  

Employment Support Services 
Employment Support Services (ESS) strives to find jobs for people with disabilities that is best suited to the individual’s strengths.  Individuals are provided assistance through the entire job search process, from constructing resumes, practicing interview skills, and applying for jobs.  The support continues after being hired until the employee, employer, and employment specialist are all confident that the job can be performed independently.  

Elkwood Arts
Elkwood Arts is a licensed vocational facility providing sheltered employment and training to disabled adults at different levels of intellectual disability, producing quality, hand made furniture and wood products.  It has given people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to maximize their independence, integrate into the community, and above all – a chance to work.

Individuals with disabilities have many strengths and abilities that are beneficial to the community and employers in the work force.  Employers benefit by having dedicated hardworking, motivated employees.  Employees benefit by achieving their goal toward self-sustainability and independence.

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.dol.gov/ndeam.