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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

To recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health joins provider organizations, community members, employers and individuals with disabilities – and their families – to celebrate the countless contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.  

Led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment, this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is "Inclusion Drives Innovation,” reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success.  

“Workplaces that welcome the talents of all people – including individuals with disabilities – are a critical part of building an inclusive community and a strong economy,” said Devereux President and CEO Robert Q. Kreider. “Providing adults with special needs the opportunity to become productive and socially-connected members of society – through meaningful employment – is a significant part of our mission.” 

About National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The history of NDEAM traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October "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 one month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  

The goal of NDEAM is to recognize the contributions of workers with disabilities and provide education related to the value of a workforce inclusive of skills and talents brought forward by individuals with disabilities. 

Limited employment opportunities

As one of the largest and most advanced behavioral healthcare organizations in the country, Devereux understands that the disability community is significantly impacted by unemployment in the United States.  

“When a company hires individuals with diverse abilities, it can strengthen an organization, increase competition, and drive innovation,” Kreider explained. “Unfortunately, opportunities for such work experiences are extremely limited.”  

According to the 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities was 10.5 percent, about twice that of those with no disabilities (4.6 percent). In addition, statistics show that just 17.9 percent of people with a disability – who desired employment – were employed. In contrast, the employment-population ratio for those without a disability – who desired employment – was 65.3 percent. 

Devereux’s vocational programs

Devereux is a national nonprofit partner for individuals, families, schools and communities, serving many of the most vulnerable members of our society in the areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, and child welfare. The organization operates a network of clinical, therapeutic, educational and employment programs that positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of children, adults – and their families – every year. 

Among its vast continuum of care, Devereux provides employment and transition services that support transitioning youth on the autism spectrum and transitioning youth / young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

“There is a wonderful, talented pool of workers just waiting for the right opportunity to be included – and to make a difference in the world,” added Kreider. “By celebrating the value individuals with disabilities can bring to the workplace, we can spread awareness and continue to encourage employers to increase their hiring of these capable, hard-working and dedicated employees.” 

How to get involved …

Employers, individuals and communities can learn more about intellectual and developmental disabilities – including autism spectrum disorder – and how to participate in NDEAM by visiting:  

To learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and our legacy of helping individuals, families and communities in need of hope and healing, click here.


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