To the Editor: Disability Employment Issues Deserve Attention

To the Editor: Disability Employment Issues Deserve Attention

By Linda Bailey.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, held each October, is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

Held annually, the effort is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Organizations of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate.

Holding a job and doing productive work is the most visible means by which people with disabilities can be full participants in our culture and society. Identity as a worker doing meaningful tasks is the basis of self-esteem and social acceptance.  It provides the individual with the opportunity to demonstrate that he or she is more like than unlike the rest of us. In short, having employment enables an individual to become part of the community, establish roots, to grow and to develop.

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month we celebrate the ways individuals with disabilities strengthen our workforce, our communities and our country. Hiring individuals with disabilities portrays a company as being pro-active and forward-thinking and positions a company for greater customer loyalty and increased public support based on ethical values.

A commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) helps aid in employee recruitment and retention and can increase the attractiveness of firms in the federal contracting world. Workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people with disabilities, are a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community.

In this spirit, we are recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October to raise awareness about disability issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities. We welcome your business or organization to be pro-active in hiring people with disabilities.

For more information on how you can be an active part in this campaign, please contact any of these organizations: Loudoun County Community Services Board; Loudoun County Disability Services Board; ECHO (Every Citizen Has Opportunities); Paxton Campus; or St. John’s Community Services.

Linda Bailey is a member of the Loudoun County Community Services Board.