National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) was created in 1988. Each October, the U.S. Department of Labor announces a theme, which this year is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.” This theme highlights how employees with disabilities are a multifaceted group, and through recognizing the full breadth of their experiences, companies are truly inclusive. Ways companies can support NDEAM, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Labor, include:
- Download or order the official 2022 NDEAM poster and create a display (or Slack channel!) to encourage employees to engage with the company’s commitment to an inclusive work environment and learn about people’s experiences.
- Review policies to ensure they demonstrate a commitment to an inclusive workplace culture.
- Launch an employees with disabilities employee resource group (ERG) to offer opportunities for employees to connect, engage, and learn about people with similar and different backgrounds. Ensure allies of people with disabilities can also join.
- Host refresher trainings with managers and employees to review relevant policies and learn through informal educational events, such as lunch and learns.
- Create an easily accessible resource bank that can facilitate activities to learn, such as disability etiquette materials and the “I Can” public service announcement.
- Offer time for employees to participate in Disability Mentoring Day, which promotes career development for youth with disabilities. This event is held on the third Wednesday of October, but companies have the option to host their own events on any day of the month (or throughout the year!).
Below, see what some Diversity Best Practices members are doing to support NDEAM this year:
Freddie Mac has a business resource group (BRG) dedicated to abilities that will host several activities throughout the month, including:
- Diversity consultant Dr. Betty Lovelace for a virtual event, “Hidden in Plain View: Beyond the Mask.” In addition, employees will participate in a forum on the importance of housing for individuals with special needs.
- Margaux Joffe, award-winning producer and founder of Kaleidoscope Society for Women with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, will lead a discussion on “ADHD in the Workplace.”
Nasdaq’s Accessibility Network, dedicated to the company’s differently-abled employees, caregivers to people with disabilities, and their allies, will be hosting several events for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, including:
- A discussion session on the documentary “The Reason I Jump,” a movie that follows non-speaking children with autism around the world.
- A giving campaign in which Nasdaq employees will be encouraged to donate to charities dedicated to people with disabilities; Nasdaq will match these donations.
- An interview with Eric LeGrand, former Rutgers defensive tackle who was paralyzed from the neck down. He is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, ESPY winner, and community builder.
New York Life Insurance Company
New York Life’s ENABLE Employee Resource Group is hosting several exciting events to bring people together and to raise awareness throughout the company:
- A conversation about community and mental health with Charlten Henderson, a trained counselor and barber who was highlighted in New York Life’s Love Takes Action podcast. The discussion will cover how he created a place where community members feel comfortable sharing their personal challenges.
- During New York Life’s annual “Beyond Disability” panel, employees will share their personal stories while engaging in a conversation that highlights the differences—and similarities—of their experiences with disabilities.
- The company will host speaker Jill Griffin, who will discuss how her traumatic brain injury and her journey from silence to disclosure impacted her personally and professionally.
- New York Life’s Vice President of Benefits will provide a 2023 benefits review in preparation for open enrollment with consideration as to how the company’s workforce can promote health and wellness for people with disabilities.
- Throughout October, New York Life will hold a virtual walkathon and weekly “Cheers for Charity” events, where employees have the opportunity to catch up with colleagues in person and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, with the entry fee supporting Achilles International, a global organization that transforms the lives of people with disabilities through athletic programs and social connection.
Here is how Sodexo is celebrating this month with their employees:
- Encouraging team members to identify as a person with a disability, if applicable, through a Self-ID Campaign.
- Creating a SOAR’s Toolkit and related Inclusion Spotlights which aim to uplift employees’ voices through submissions of personal quotes and headshots.
- Creating a “Mental Health & Wellbeing” virtual course for employees.
- Sodexo’s JUST_IN_TIME Toolkit – Includes tips, checklists, and resources to help managers lead a disability-inclusive workforce. Examples include:
- Frontline Training: Disability Module
- Requests for Accommodation: Don’t let talent slip away because you are unsure how you can make a reasonable accommodation.
The company will also be encouraging employees to attend a variety of external offerings, including:
- Seramount: NDEAM Member Webinar – This program will feature stories that amplify and uplift the efforts of individuals and employee resource groups working to support people with disabilities both at their organizations and in the communities they serve.
- Disability Voice: World Mental Health Day Webinar – Celebrating World Mental Health Day and learning about mental health and trends in disabilities across the globe as part of this year’s theme: Shaping an Inclusive Future.
- Disability:IN: Disability Mentoring Day – In celebration of Disability Mentoring Day (DMD), this webinar will focus on stories and takeaways from disability mentoring programs. Participants will hear from NextGen Leader Alumni, DOBEs, and Disability:IN Partners as they share the meaningful impact mentoring can have on a young person or a business owner with a disability. Participants will learn from direct experience how corporate mentoring programs can positively affect both culture within the workplace and business overall.
- Global Best Buddies: ACCESS 360 – Best Buddies will host a panel discussion with a focus on ACCESS in the workforce. They will feature a 360-viewpoint covering personal experiences and firsthand knowledge around accessibility and accommodations in the workplace.
- Retaining Valued Employees with Disabilities: The Importance of Performance Coaching and Management – Participants will learn about effective strategies managers can use to support and empower their employees with disabilities when engaging in coaching and performance dialogues. All employees, including those with disabilities, benefit from regular feedback on their performance. Effective performance management provides the employee with opportunities to grow existing skills and develop new ones.
- “Intersectionality Through the Lens of Disability” with Alycia Anderson, a TEDx motivational speaker, disability advocate, corporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility consultant, and the founder & CEO of The Alycia Anderson Company, LLC. Alycia’s authenticity and charisma draws others to her and naturally connects them to inspire, mentor, champion, and support. A tennis player, cyclist, identical twin, and wheelchair user since birth, Alycia shares her journey globally to help communities and companies understand the true benefits inherent to building a diverse, inclusive, and accessible workplace and society.
Leo Salom, TD Bank President & CEO, is kicking off NDEAM and introducing keynote speaker Spencer West. The company will host its annual Disability Summit on November 17.
Learn more about Seramount’s Diversity Best Practices Membership.