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National Disability Employment Awareness: Fostering inclusive, welcoming workplaces

“Everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve meaningful employment and succeed in the workplace.”
– Devereux Vice President of Operations – Adult Services Stephen Bruce, M.Ed., BCBA

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is celebrating the significant contributions of employees with disabilities, and highlighting the importance of creating a workplace culture that is positive, supportive and equitable for all.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21.3% of individuals with disabilities were employed in 2022, up from 19.1% in 2021. In contrast, the employment-population ratio for those without a disability was 65.4%, up from 63.7% in 2021.

“People with disabilities possess many valuable qualities that employers seek, including adaptability, reliability, determination and resilience,” said Bruce. “These individuals have been solving problems their entire lives. Not only are they creative and innovative, but they also bring a strong sense of loyalty to the workplace. Finding the right talent can be challenging, but workers with disabilities possess skills and experiences that can benefit any employer – they just need to be given a chance.”

2023 NDEAM campaign

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment by federal agencies, federal contractors and recipients of federal funds, and in the delivery of federally funded programs and activities.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Labor holds a national NDEAM campaign. This year’s theme – “Advancing Access and Equity” – honors the anniversary of the landmark legislation, and promotes the importance of advancing disability employment. Learn more about this year’s NDEAM theme in this news release.

Hiring people with disabilities

To develop and influence disability employment-related policies and practices, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) sponsors several policy development and technical assistance resources, including the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN).

EARN helps employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities. Learn more about EARN.

Devereux’s employment programs

Devereux offers a variety of employment services and supports for youth and adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences. Programs (which vary by center) include:

  • Pre-employment training: Focuses on skill-building, including personal identification, personal hygiene, clothing care, telling time and housekeeping.
  • Community-supported employment: Job assessments are conducted to identify strengths, needs and preferences. Employment specialists work with individuals on resume building, interview skills and social interactions. Job coaches help individuals maintain employment.
  • Pre-employment day programs: Individuals acquire the skills needed to work in an employment program, competitive employment or volunteer positions in the community.

“Our programs and services are designed around each individual’s preferences, interests, strengths and needs,” Bruce noted. “We want to help those we serve build confidence and develop the skills needed to secure and maintain employment. For people with disabilities, employment means greater economic self-sufficiency, and an opportunity for them to use their talents and actively participate in their community.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s employment and transition services.


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