WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that, in recognition of the vital role people with disabilities play in making the nation’s workforce diverse and inclusive, “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation” has been chosen as the theme for October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2022.
Led by its Office of Disability Employment Policy, the department’s annual observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month acknowledges the contributions to the nation’s economy made by workers with disabilities, current and past. The commemoration also showcases supportive and inclusive policies and practices benefiting workers and employers.
“A strong workforce is the sum of many parts, and disability has always been a key part of the equation,” said Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams. “People with disabilities make up a wonderfully multifaceted group. By recognizing the full complexion of our community, we can ensure our efforts to achieve disability inclusion are, in fact, truly inclusive.”
The Biden-Harris administration has taken a whole-of-government approach to identify and eliminate barriers to helping historically underserved communities, including people with disabilities. On his first day in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” and directed all federal departments and agencies to examine their policies and programs.
In April 2022, the department published its Equity Action Plan to support marginalized, vulnerable and underserved communities, and outline its efforts to advance equity across the department.
The federal effort to recognize people with disabilities began in 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October to be “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The word “physically” was dropped in 1962 to include individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week and christened the month of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.