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MPAS Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Image of woman making copies at work

(LANSING)— Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) today announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate  individuals about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

People with disabilities are drastically underrepresented in the workforce despite having marketable skills and the desire to work. Over 80 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed in the state of Michigan –higher than the still dismal 72 percent nationwide unemployment average of people with disabilities.

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces 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.

"When I was growing up, many people doubted what I could do just because I was blind. But because I had people in my life who instilled in me an expectation of work and showed me opportunities to be successful, I completed college and became known for what I can do," said Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy and head of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, when announcing this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, which is "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task." 

"MPAS is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Elmer L. Cerano, Executive Director of MPAS. "We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities."

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting the ODEP website.


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Announcement Details

Posted on:
October 02, 2013