Awareness for Employees with Disabilities
The Month of October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) . The goal of National Disability Employment Awareness month according to the U.S. Department of Labor is to educate employers and those within the community about issues in the workplace for those with disabilities as well as celebrate American workers with disabilities.
On their webpage, the Office of Disability Employment lists many ways that organizations can help participate. Here are the ways employers can participate according to the Office of Disability Employment.
- Review policies. It is important within your company to make sure your workplace has a strong commitment to maintaining an inclusive workplace culture.
- Establish an Employee Resource Group. Sometimes these groups are also known as Employee Networks or Affinity Groups, these groups give employees with disabilities the chance to receive support from others and connect with those who have similar backgrounds or interests.
- Create a display. Posting the ways that your company maintains an inclusive environment on a bulletin board or other display can show how committed the organization is year round to maintaining inclusivity.
- Train supervisors. Making sure supervisors understand and value having an inclusive workplace is important. Some of the ways supervisors can be trained include reviewing policies and the process to provide reasonable accommodation.
- Educate employees. It is important for companies to maintain their commitment to inclusion and by educating employees about disability inclusion, it is a way to maintain inclusion.
- Publish articles. Whether it is articles regarding how the company is dedicated to maintaining inclusion in the workplace, stories celebrating employees with disabilities or the process of how to get reasonable accomodations, publishing articles in newsletters or websites is something companies can do to support this month.
- Participating in Disability Mentoring Day. This day, which takes place on the third Wednesday of October aims to promote career development for those with disabilities by utilizing hands on programs, job shadowing and mentoring.
All of the above are positive ways organizations can take the step to recognize employees with disabilities and their achievements. Community Crossroads is currently serving many with disabilities who are both appreciated in their workplace as well as dedicated to their workplace.
One individual that we would like to recognize is 22 year old Samantha Baskin (pictured above). Samantha said a goal of her’s in the workplace is to try to make people’s lives better, especially since she feels she has been knocked down in her own life so many times. Samantha has health issues that have led to her needing several surgeries such as operations on her knee, hip, ankle and shoulder. She currently works at Canobie Lake Park and has been able to not only keep the job throughout the summer and fall, but feel appreciated in her workplace. She enjoys working at a place such as Canobie but feels that it can sometimes be difficult due to the high number of people who are there each day. One of her goals for the future is to return to school to receive a degree as a Health Associate. A self-proclaimed fighter, she stated, “if you have challenges, dream big, big start out with small stuff.” Samantha is currently involved with Community Crossroads in many ways as she helps at several fundraisers that we put on as well as being part of the Policy Partners program that focuses on legislation and advocacy in the state of New Hampshire.
Samantha is not the only person served with a disability who is currently thriving and feeling appreciated within the workplace. John Leone (pictured above furthest to the left in the red) is a 22 year old who works in the receiving department at Macy’s. Despite having a learning disability, John has found a strong suit in participating in hands-on work. Whether it is opening boxes, removing sensors from items or other hands on tasks, he is able to learn what tasks to complete and how to do it in a satisfactory fashion. John said he is evaluated each month based on his performance and has gone from 1’s and 2’s to 3’s and 4’s which is an improvement from where he started. He noted one thing he has learned from the job is that if someone needs help, to step in and help out.
Stories such as Samantha’s and John’s showcase the importance of inclusivity in the workplace and how valuable workers with disabilities truly are.
To learn more about National Disability Employment Awareness month, visit: https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/