September’s Fundraiser of the Month was the Spreading Smiles Campaign for Newton Athletes Unlimited
Without complaints, we have been blinded by the color pink due to the NFL trying to spread awareness for Breast Cancer. Now I do not want to take any light away from a cause like spreading awareness for Breast Cancer, but I do want to shift some light to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Unfortunately, most people have only heard about Breast Cancer Awareness Month because of the NFL’s enormous market. While Breast Cancer is still a problem that needs to be solved, employing those with disabilities is also a problem in America.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates back to 1945, when Congress officially made the first week of October every year, “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week”. The word “Physically” was removed in 1962 to acknowledge those with all sorts of disabilities. In 1988, a week was not enough, and Congress made the whole month of October “National Disability Employment Awareness Month”. Since 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy has been responsible for NDEAM and now I am here to help spread more awareness.
- The unemployment rate for America: 5.9 % (2014)
- The unemployment rate for persons with a disability: 13.4 % (2012)
- The unemployment rate for persons with no disability: 7.9 % (2012)
- Unemployed persons are those who did not have a job, were available for work, and were actively looking for a job in the 4 weeks before the survey
- According to the director of United Rehabilitation Services, 80% of people with disabilities from ages 16-64, are unemployed.
- According to the Job Accommodation Network, 58% of employers said accommodations needed by employees and job applicants with disabilities cost absolutely nothing
This year’s theme is, “Expect. Employ. Empower.” Legislation such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Rehabilitation Act will help increase expectation and employment and that will empower us.
The world is not perfect and has a lot of other problems besides employing the disabled. But this problem does not have a very complex solution. If awareness is spread to the necessary employers every year, more disabled will be employed every year. Once this small scale problem is solved, America is already a better country.
Spreading awareness for NDEAM has been apart of our culture since 1945. It is clearly something that needs the help of our entire country. Now I think the NFL is doing a superb job of spreading awareness for breast cancer. So how about us ordinary people take care of spreading awareness for National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month.
I leave you with a video of a hard working man with down syndrome. He works for Massachusetts General Hospital as well as the Boston Red Sox. Here he is giving a speech spreading awareness for Down Syndrome.