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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Disability employment awareness month poster.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), originally enacted by Congress in 1945, is recognized in October.

NDEAM is intended to promote respect for people with physical and developmental disabilities and increase awareness of the daily obstacles they face at the workplace. NDEAM strengthens the CDCR and California Correctional Health Care Services’ (CCHCS) commitment to provide opportunity and growth for individuals with disabilities, as they are an asset to our workforce and community. 

The observance gives us an opportunity to recognize the valuable contributions employees with disabilities make in our Department. This year also marks the 76th Anniversary of NDEAM and the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law in 1990.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of one’s disability and is designed to help individuals with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to those without disabilities.  Disabilities come in various forms including, but not limited to, vision, movement, thinking, memory, learning, communication, hearing, and emotional health.

Disabilities such as Spina Bifida, Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, Severe Depression, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, loss of hearing, and loss of limb are some of the examples of types of disabilities employees live with every day.

Historically, CDCR and CCHCS have joined with other agencies to participate in community awareness events. Our world has changed and many in-person events are currently on hold or suspended. There is no onsite event to recognize NDEAM this year, but that doesn’t mean the value and importance of our workforce with disabilities has diminished.

CDCR and CCHCS encourage the hiring and promotion of our peers with disabilities, and the CDCR/CCHCS Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) is proud to be here for all our employees and serving as a resource for disability rights and information. DAC strongly encourages you to expand your knowledge and awareness of disabilities and embrace the qualities of those who live with disabilities both in and out of the workplace.

DAC is always welcoming new members, so we encourage you talk with your manager about the possibility of you joining our committee. In this time of our lives when inclusion and equality is absolutely crucial, it is very important that we recognize and celebrate the diversity of our Department and the strong and unique contributions our disabled workforce brings to the table.  It is an honor to work with an organization that recognizes and accepts all walks of life.  

DAC challenges you to expand your perception of what disability means, and encourages you to recognize your peers with disabilities and to understand what they must do to accomplish all that they do.

Download the poster here.

For more information or questions about the CDCD/CCHCS DAC please email the Disability Advisory Committee at DAC@cdcr.ca.gov