NDEAM’s roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “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.” Upon its establishment in 2001, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.
Each year, ODEP creates a theme to promote full inclusion in the workplace and designs a poster featuring the current year’s selection. For 2014, the theme is “Expect. Employ. Empower.” The theme was the outcome of a collaborative process including a national online dialogue in which the public were invited to submit ideas.
Texas uses the national ODEP theme to design its own NDEAM Poster each year. The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities hosts an art competition, open to any Texas artist with a disability. The winner of the competition, selected by a team of judges which includes people with disabilities, artists, and professionals in the field of disabilities, donates the winning art piece to the Governor’s Office. The Texas NDEAM poster design is donated by Jane Thomas of Apple Specialty Advertising. The posters are distributed free of charge throughout the state and nationally. The 2014 Texas NDEAM poster features art by Grant Manier of Spring, Texas; information on how to request a copy of the poster is available on the GCPD website at http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/ndeam/ndeam_poster/.
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/index-2014.htm
Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities NDEAM Poster: http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/ndeam/ndeam_poster/
82nd Legislative Session, HB 3616
During the 82nd Legislative Session, HB 3616 was passed which designates October as Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month. The bill will encourage public schools and state agencies to celebrate the accomplishments of people with disabilities. During this time, various schools and agencies will have an opportunity to highlight the achievements of Texans with disabilities who made significant contributions to the state. It will also be an opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary Americans who led the way in the disability rights movement. The bill seeks to increase public awareness of the many achievements of people with disabilities; encourage public understanding of the disability rights movement; and reaffirm the local, state, and federal commitment to providing equality and inclusion for people with disabilities. The bill requires that the Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month be regularly observed by appropriate celebration and activities in public schools and other places to promote respect for and better treatment of people with disabilities in this state.
In celebration of Texas Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month, the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities will post a daily bulletin regarding disability history. October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as well, highlighting the important contributions, gifts and talents Texas employees with disabilities bring to the Texas workforce.