October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a time to recognize the contributions those with disabilities make in our workplaces. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a time to call awareness to those working with disabilities, and how our spaces are not yet fully (if at all) inclusive to many kinds of disabilities. The designation has its roots in 1945, when Congress named the first week of October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week” (National Disability Rights Network). In the 70+ years since, NDEAM has shifted and expanded, growing to a whole month in time and to include all those with disabilities.
The 2021 NDEAM theme is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” a theme highlighting the struggles those with disabilities have had during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with both employment and community.
Perhaps these weeks can be a time to think about what we can actively do to make our spaces more inclusive and accessible, and, in light of the pandemic, what efforts can be made to make the workplace a little safer for employees with disabilities who are still unable to feel comfortable on campus.
For more information on NDEAM see:
- US Department of Labor
- The Campaign for Disability Employment
- The Proclamation of NDEAM
- The US Census Bureau
For content within the field:
- The World Through My Eyes: I’m an Atmospheric Scientists with a Cognitive and/or Learning Disability
- This 2018 Forbes article from Marshall Sheperd
- This piece of Creating Spaces for Geoscientists with Disabilities to Thrive
- These spotlights from The Royal Society