04 October 2013
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
by Sheniqua Bush, Fort Detrick Individuals with Disability Program Manager
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Held each October, this national campaign raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of American workers with disabilities. The theme for 2013 is “Because We Are Equal to the Task.”

Fort Detrick is recognizing this year’s observance Oct. 16, at the Community Activity Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The entire Fort Detrick community is welcome to attend. The post also will host a variety of activities to educate the Fort Detrick community on disability employment issues and the role they play in fostering a disability-friendly work culture throughout the month.

For many with disabilities, employment opportunities often require accommodations that provide a safe and productive workplace. Employers know accommodations must be made for people with physical disabilities, but may not know how to accommodate people with disabilities that cannot be physically seen. It is the responsibility of disabled individuals to be aware of their needs and communicate them to employers. Do not be afraid to ask if it will help you perform your job better.

Anyone with a disability can request an accommodation at any time during the application process or while employed. To request an accommodation simply inform your employer of the need. There are no mandatory key words to use when making the request, and neither the American with Disabilities Act nor the phrase “reasonable accommodation” has to be mentioned.

All requests sent directly to a manager or supervisor by an employee must be forwarded to a disability program manager within two business days. When an employee makes a request for reasonable accommodation that involves job performance, the Disability Program Manager will work with the employee’s supervisor to ensure that an appropriate accommodation is provided that meets the needs of the individual and enables that person to perform the essential functions of the position.

NDEAM’s roots go 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.”

Posted by PAO

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