October recognizes how people with disabilities strengthen the workforce and deserve absolute inclusion in the workplace.
The movement to raise awareness began in 1945 with National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week and transformed into National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by 1988. The Americans with Disabilities Act came into effect in 1990 under President George H. W. Bush.
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced “The Right Talent, Right Now” as the theme for 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month. According to the DOL, the 2019 theme emphasizes the essential role that people with disabilities play in America’s economic success, especially in an era when historically low unemployment and global competition are creating a high demand for skilled talent.
We asked our member organizations what they will be doing to acknowledge and celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month this year. Here is what they shared:
ABLE: Abilities Beyond Limitations & Expectations – An Allstate Employee Resource Group hosts: Why first impressions aren’t the only impressions: Disability and media with White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti
Thursday, Oct. 17 | 11 – 12 pm CT | Live in Northbrook, streaming across the company
Jason Benetti is a television sports play-by-play announcer who also has cerebral palsy. He currently does play-by-play locally in Chicago for Major League Baseball’s White Sox.
He also is a play-by-play announcer nationally for ESPN. In having a disability, Jason has encountered life from an angle in which many do not. Perception of Jason has led to his understanding that one trait does not define a person, and on October 17, he’ll be sharing his story and insights with Allstate employees.
On the agenda are the Beam Robot, a plant tour, robotic testing and product development labs, Product Web studio, Farmbot and Digital Mouse Trap.
These students with differing abilities will then receive career mentoring and resume coaching from Bayer’s Human Resource business lead.
This resume building workshop will prepare them for the college application process and eventually market themselves for prospective jobs. Leela Dasari, Procurement & Tammi Gavlik, HR will facilitate at Pittsburgh Robinson site, and Benjamin Taggart and Cindy Powell-Steffen from Radiology/ Medical Care will facilitate at Indianola site.
The employee-run ENABLE Diverse Abilities business resource group and Pennsylvania Inclusion and Diversity Council are sponsoring this event. Bayer has hosted a Disability Mentoring Day event for the past fifteen years and was one of the first businesses in the Pittsburgh area to be involved.
Over 120 employees will assemble and commission prosthetic hands from the organization Helping Hands and package them in bags lovingly decorated by themselves. The working prosthetic will be provided to people in third world countries to help maintain their independence and enable them to work.
The BRAVE business resource group serving military members and veterans, has collaborated on this event with ENABLE disabilities focused group, to promote understanding for the everyday challenges of people with disabilities and a sense of community. Facilitators will be Stephen Kadin, Compliance, Babette Simon, Finance, Brenda Cockrell, Crop Science and Cindy Powell-Steffen, Medical Care from these groups.
This year, Boston Scientific is taking NDEAM global.
First, 10 sites across 3 continents participated in a workplace accessibility audit modeled after Ireland’s Make Way Day campaign, which was dedicated to identifying obstacles that individuals with disabilities encounter on a daily basis within our sites.
The objective of this campaign was to develop the baseline for local accessibility improvement strategies with an overarching mission of reducing the need for one-off accommodation and establishing disability inclusion as a standard business practice.
Also, several sites hosted local speakers to raise awareness on the business case for hiring employees with disabilities, including hearing from the first blind engineer in Costa Rica.
And finally, Boston Scientific is kicking off a digital accessibility initiative. Leveraging Disability:In’s Accessible Technology Procurement Toolkit, global policy and controls will be developed to ensure a base level of accessibility across computer and web-based applications, conferencing audio/visual, training and website content.
Adaptive Kayaking Experience:
Boston Scientific employees in Minnesota volunteered to support the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s Adaptive Kayaking Experience, in which participants with cognitive and physical disabilities experience the fun of paddling on a lake through the use of specially-adapted kayaks.
UCC Disability Support Service Mentoring Program:
Boston Scientific’s LEAD (Leadership, Education and Allies for Disabilities) Employee Resource Group in Cork continues its successful University College Cork (UCC) Disability Support Service Mentoring Program, where Boston Scientific mentors are matched with Disability Support Service students from UCC. Mentors are provided with full mentoring training on-site, and this program has resulted in multiple BSC hires to date.
DISCOVER@DJ OCTOBER DISABILITY AWARENESS EVENTS
Don’t forget to register for the National Disability Employment Awareness Events, taking place in Princeton, New York, London and via livestream. We kick off the month of events starting tomorrow with three fun and engaging sessions in Princeton – all with food and prizes! You can sign-up for all sessions or read more about the events at the
October Events Site and below.
What is Discover?
9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Princeton: Mansion Room
The Discover@DJ leadership team will kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month and share what Discover@DJ is about. Colleagues from various departments will share their personal stories. A light breakfast will be served along with an opportunity to test your knowledge and win prizes.
Lunch and Learn: Discover your Benefits
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Princeton: Co Lab Free Space
Building upon our August session, come and be reminded about the great benefits for emotional wellbeing and caregiving support available at Dow Jones. Complimentary lunch will be served. Come and win prizes.
Discover@DJ is coming to London
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. – LONDON, 7th floor auditorium
Join Paralympian, competitive rower and Dow Jones Technology Product Director Patricia Walsh to talk about “reduced expectations” and how they can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for people with disabilities in the workplace. Patricia will talk about her own experiences on how language and microaggressions can contribute to isolation. Walk-Ins welcome.
Keynote Speaker – George Scott, Licensed Family Therapist
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Princeton: Mansion Room and via Livestream
George Scott will speak on the topic of mental health and suicide prevention. He will discuss the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, as well as ways you can support someone in need.
Keynote Speaker – Frank Riccio, Veterans Yoga Project
11:00 – 12:00 p.m. – Princeton: Building 1 Auditorium
Hear about the Veterans Yoga Project featuring Frank Riccio. Frank will speak about how PTSD and anxiety can be dramatically and effectively alleviated via yoga, meditation and other self care.
Lunch time Yoga with Frank Riccio
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Princeton: Building 1 Auditorium
Frank Riccio is trained in Integral, Lyengar, Restorative and Yoga Therapy for Trauma Recovery. Come experience a relaxing and refreshing session. All are welcome! Please come in comfortable clothes and bring your yoga mat.
Workplace Design Team Experience and Discovery
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Princeton: Building 1 Auditorium
Global Real Estate, Facilities and Security team members, Jody Kulcsar and Chaz Repak, will discuss the considerations our Workplace Design team takes to accommodate employees with disabilities when designing our office spaces.
Keynote Speaker – Carol Glazer, President of the National Organization on Disability
9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – NYC 1211, Impact Room and via livestream
Carol Glazer, President of the National Organization on Disability, will address why focusing on disabilities in the workplace and in products is now a national business imperative.
Mindfulness for Well-Being at Work with Stephanie D’Angelo
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. – Princeton, Building 1 Auditorium
Using a variety of short, contemplative practices designed for use in a work setting, this interactive session will give participants new skills to help decompress and reduce stress.
Discover Vendor Fair
2:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Princeton Rotunda
Join us for a Discover Vendor Fair in Princeton. Vendors include: Dow Jones’s benefits partners Aetna, Wellthy and Grand Rounds, as well as local Princeton area organizations that support health and well being, such as: Easter Seals, TCNJ, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Inner Harmony @ Work and more!
MINDFULNESS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH
Meditation in New York
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 12:05 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – NYC 1211: Gym on Concourse level
Experience the enlightenment and health benefits of meditation. No need to change your attire.
Stretch & Go in Princeton
Tuesdays at 3:15 p.m. – Building 5 Rotunda
Join Mary Ellen from the DJ Health Club for a 15 minute stretch.
Our Abilities employee resource group (ERG) will host a series of events to recognize National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month.
The events and activities planned are arranged under the theme “Respect and Support.”
Here is a list of some of our planned events and activities:
Creating a StigmaFree Workplace
Freddie Mac has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for their StigmaFree campaign to end the stigma associated with mental illness. Through powerful words and actions, we can shift the social and systemic barriers for those living with mental health conditions. Together, we can encourage acceptance and understanding.
To help shine a spotlight on this topic, we will host a “Mental Health in the Workplace Panel Discussion” with representatives from senior leaders, HR and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Bright Horizon – Focus Topic
We’re hosting a discussion on housing and employment assistance for young adults with disabilities.
Learn & Serve: Credit Smart
We’re sharing the impact of Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart program, a financial literacy curriculum, in our communities. There will also be a community service component which will support Easter Seals.
We’re creating awareness of Freddie Mac resources and services to support mental health and well-being for our employees with an Abilities Fair.
Disability:IN Mentee Day
Disability:IN local area mentees and future rising leaders will join the Abilities ERG for a full day of mentorship, learning and leadership activities.
Various Inclusive Community Service Events and Walks
The Abilities ERG will participate in various community service events and walks throughout the month in collaboration with other employee resource groups and external organizations.
Fifth Third Bank
Through National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Fifth Third Bank will host and participate in a variety of events to celebrate the contributions of its employees who are differently abled.
The Cincinnati Individuals with Disabilities Business Resource Group will host its inaugural awareness fair at the Bank’s headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. Staff from 20 organizations that empower individuals with disabilities will discuss programs, services and volunteer opportunities with attendees. The fair also will give Business Resource Group members an opportunity to drive membership among employees who may not know about the group.
Fifth Third Bank sponsors the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival that took place Oct. 2-6. The festival was previously known as the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival, which was launched by Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled. LADD provides the dignity of adulthood through housing, health and wellness, day programs, employment and advocacy for people with disabilities. In 2013, LADD Inc. began to organize the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival as a biennial celebration of the lives, stories, and art of people who experience disabilities, expanding it to become the largest film festival in Greater Cincinnati. Members of the BRG volunteer throughout the week at the event’s activities.
The Eastern Michigan Individuals with Disabilities BRG will celebrate by attending the Superfest Disability Film Festival Showcase on Oct. 24. According to its website, for over 30 years, the Superfest annual film competition has celebrated cutting-edge cinema that portrays disability in all its diverse, complex and empowering facets. Superfest is proud to be the longest-running disability film festival in the world. What started in 1970 as a small showcase in Los Angeles has grown into a sold-out
international event, a two-day juried festival in San Francisco and Berkeley with filmmakers from all over the world.
In Florida, Bank employees will celebrate the month by participating in The Autism Speaks Walk in Ft. Myers. The Autism Speaks Walk is the world’s largest autism fundraising event dedicated to improving the lives of people with autism. Powered by the love of people with autism and the parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, relatives and providers who support them, the funds raised help ensure people of all abilities have access to the tools needed to lead their best lives.
The employees also will participate in a day of caring at the Loveland Center, which services adults with disabilities, in Venice, Florida. The employees will be participating in a service project at the center.
The Loveland Center’s mission is to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest. Through each of Loveland’s programs,
individuals are educated and supported to live as independently as they can, as well as inspired and encouraged to become active members of their communities.
Individuals, regardless of their abilities, can discover untapped potential, build self-confidence and further develop skills
that will last a lifetime. Florida employees also will participate in a service project at Special Equestrians, Inc., in Ft. Myers. Special Equestrians is a PATH International Premier Accredited Center offering therapeutic horseback riding classes and equine assisted activities. The organization serves children and adults with disabilities in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties of Southwest Florida.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson will have a global activation of World Mental Health Day spearheaded by our disabilities ERG, Alliance for Diverse Abilities (ADA) to raise awareness and break down the stigma associated with mental health that silences so many.
Johnson & Johnson’s ADA ERG has created a World Mental Health Day Toolkit to enable the global activation while maintaining a consistent message. We have over 66 sites globally participating. Some of the planned activities include:
We also have many events/activities focused on awareness around the other disabilities including:
October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and this year’s theme is The Right Talent, Right Now, which underscores the essential role that workers with disabilities play in America’s economic success.
While our commitment and passion to promoting inclusion for people of all abilities is ongoing, we’re excited to recognize NDEAM by sharing content that brings awareness to disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of workers with disabilities.
Additionally, this extends to our caregiver workforce. In July, possABILITY launched the JLL Caregiver Network, which provides resources, stories and connections for employees caring for a child or adult with a disability.
This month, keep an eye out for stories from possABILITY members, external promotion of our Best Buddies partnership and Disability Equality Index recognition, and a forthcoming invitation to join a WebEx featuring insights from one of our top clients, Microsoft, on their disability inclusion programming.
L’Oréal USA is definitely recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month. We have done—or are doing—the following this month:
Microsoft is recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month by sharing several videos and blog posts about their vision that accessibility and inclusion are essential for empowering everyone, everywhere.
In addition, Microsoft is teaming up with Disability:IN Washington to host the DisAbility Employment Symposium.
Other ways Microsoft is celebrating NDEAM:
Education: Learn how to create an inclusive digital experience for people with disabilities — Check out our Accessibility at a Glance Series.
Accessibility Tools: Are you using Accessibility Checker? If not, you should be! It’s right next to spellcheck in every part of Office 365. To learn more, check out this video to see how easy it is!
MIT Lincoln Lab
The LED Committee is planning to send weekly emails with information about NDEAM to our listserv.
We are kicking off an 8-week immersive American Sign Language class that will run this fall, and we are hosting our annual luncheon on October 30. The luncheon will include allergy and lifestyle-sensitive food and will feature a speaker, a TED Talk viewing, and discussion.
American Sign Language (ASL) Class: October 30 to December 12
Come learn the basics of American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture in this 6-week class. Students will be immersed in ASL from the moment they enter the room: no voice is allowed during the class. This will aide students’ learning process as ASL is a unique language with its own grammar and syntax. During this class, students will learn how to use body language, facial expressions, and hand shapes to communicate. Students will start with basic greetings and conversation and will move on to vocabulary relevant to technical settings.
Instructor Bio: Carol Zurek is a second-generation Deaf woman. Her parents were both Deaf, so she was raised in a Deaf household using ASL as her first and primary language. She has worked at the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities for more than 25 years. She provided direct services before moving into the position of Statewide Coordinator for Deaf Services. She has also provided ASL classes and taught Deaf Culture 101 for more than 30 years in many venues, including universities, agencies, adult education, and hospitals.
Northern Trust has two large chapters of the Disability Business Resource Council (DBRC) in both Chicago and Tempe. Both chapters will be hosting several events related to disability awareness. Our programming is centered on raising disability awareness and inclusion.
On October 2nd, Northern Trust hosted a Disability:IN Chicagoland event, “Maximizing the Disability Inclusion Advantage”. This event welcomed local business leaders who learned how companies across the country are realizing a competitive advantage from disability inclusion.
Connie Lindsey, EVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Laura Wilhelm, Executive Director, Disability:IN Chicagoland provided opening comments.
Scott Hoesman, CEO, Inquest Consulting, and Disability:IN Affiliate Liaison, moderated a panel discussion with Chad Jerdee, Persons with Disabilities Sponsor, former General Counsel, and Lead for Responsible Business, Sustainability and Citizenship, Accenture; Mac MacLellan, President – Central Region, Wealth Management, Northern Trust; and Jill Houghton, CEO Disability:IN.
The DBRC is featuring Alzheimer Awareness with an afternoon event on October 16 featuring guest speaker Ruth Drew, Director of Information and Support Services for the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Help Line.
This event will focus on gaining a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and learning how to best serve and connect with loved ones, family and clients who have Alzheimer’s.
Ruth is a knowledgeable, engaging speaker, frequently presenting at financial services conferences and major television news networks.
We will also have a Northern Trust team participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk in Chicago on October 26, all partners and friends are welcome to join.
We will wrap up the month with a panel event featuring guest speakers Tasheana Banks, author of the book “Cracked Foundation Eruption of Life” and Lashon Gurrola, RN, BSN-Ambulatory Transitional Care Nurse at Rush University Medical Center leading a discussion on managing chronic illness, stress and pain.
The DBRC has a number of initiatives to commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness month. We will kick-off on October 9th with a collaborative Lunch and Learn event with the Military Appreciation and Assistance Council focusing on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We will host the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, who will be onsite to provide an overview of PTSD, resources to help those suffering, and guidance on how to support those who are suffering.
Did you know forty-seven clinical studies validate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation programs to diminish anxiety and stress? On October 10th, we will be bringing in The Mindfulness Studio, a mobile RV that provides free, onsite relaxation classes for our partners.
They will be offering four, twenty-minute guided relaxation/meditation classes throughout our lunch hour.
We will be collaborating with Asian Leadership Council and LIFE Council for this initiative. As of today, almost all of our spots have been filled!
Lastly, we are looking to collaborate with Working Families Business Resource Council to host a Gathering Grounds event focusing on the role of a caretaker.
This event will be an informal, comfortable opportunity for caretakers to discuss their current struggles, their triumphs, and provide each other support over coffee and breakfast. The date for this event is to be determined, however we are looking towards the end of October.
To celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Qualcomm has invited Paralympian and advocate, Lacey Henderson, to speak to employees about her experience competing in the 2016 Paralympics and training for the 2020 games in Tokyo.
Lacey will share how she has learned to overcome adversity after she was diagnosed with a rare cancer at the age of 9, which resulted in the amputation of her right leg above the knee.
She will give a presentation with pictures and video and engage in a Q&A with the leader of our “University to Qualcomm” chair and then stay for a lunch with employees. She will kick off her day meeting with other affinity group board members.
Qualcomm Legal and Global Inclusion and Diversity teams are co-hosting a “Celebrating YOU: Empowering Your Own Uniqueness” summit for employees, which will feature renowned local San Diego speakers to discuss important topics such as mental health for veterans, a journey to better health, as well as navigating work, insurance and finances.
Qualcomm has invited local organizations as well to have a booth at the event showcasing information and programs available. Lunch and swag will be available for employees.
Sodexo recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month in partnership with SOAR (Sodexo Organization of disAbility Resources), Employee Business Resource Group.
They will celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10th with the launch of a fifteen-minute virtual course that raise awareness, destigmatizes mental illness, and fosters an inclusive and supportive environment.
For the second consecutive year, Sodexo is embarking on a campaign that promotes the importance of self-identification, utilizing brief employee and manager video testimonials. And at the end of October, SOAR will host a “State of the Union” address at which time they will celebrate recent accomplishments and share plans for the year ahead.
Sodexo is consistently recognized for their support of people with disabilities in the workplace and the communities in which they serve.
For the fifth consecutive year, Sodexo was named “Disability Equality Index (DEI) Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion,” Disability:IN; this past year they were honored as the “Top Corporation for Disability-Owned Businesses,” Disability:IN; “Employer of the Year,” Bridges from School to Work | Marriott Foundation; and “Best of the Best Top Disability-Friendly Company,” DIVERSEability Magazine.
View brief videos from the “Count Me In! Fostering a Disability Friendly Workplace” series:
Mark Anthony Reed, Dishwasher at Liberty University recently celebrated his 23rd anniversary! His supervisor, Ann, praises Mark as an excellent employee who is able to outperform team members who can see.Mark loves coming to work and getting the job done. He plans to retire from Sodexo since it’s a great place to work.
Grace Espino, Sodexo Retail Manager at Shedd Aquarium, shares how team member Brendan is a hard worker who is efficient and has excellent attention to detail. As a supervisor, Grace learned how beneficial it is to be patient, to give specific direction, and to work alongside employees.
Laura Monto, Sodexo General Manager at the National Geographic Society, is committed to creating a supportive environment that makes everyone more productive as employees work together to learn tasks little by little. For Laura, hiring people with disabilities is an enlightened reflection of humanity. https://play.buto.tv/QzsNP
Shantel M. Saunders, Human Resources Manager at Georgia Institute of Technology, changed the way she views talent based on her experience in hiring people with disabilities. She and her management team look for strengths and identifying areas where employees will thrive and be most successful.
Please see below for a listing of Voya’s activities.
In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Wells Fargo and the company’s Diverse Abilities Team Member Network (DATMN) of more than 7300 members are announcing the call for applications for a scholarship program for people with disabilities on Oct. 16, sharing a new Wells Fargo’s Commitment to People with Disabilities Video, and hosting a number of virtual and onsite team member events across the country. Events include: