This October, the nation, as well as Metropolitan State University, is celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month. The campaign is meant to honor the various skills and talents that employees with disabilities bring to employers. The month's theme for 2016 is "#InclusionWorks," which is meant to inspire individuals and groups to create images and discussions regarding the many ways inclusion works.
"By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges," said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "Our nation's most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity and it works for innovation."
Held annually, the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 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. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.
This year, Metropolitan State's Center for Accessibility Resources (CAR), formerly known as Disability Services, is celebrating NDEAM by hosting a number of events on campus. CAR's goal for creating these events is to build awareness about an untapped part of the workforce while reducing stereotypes surrounding individuals with disabilities.
Kristin Jorenby, CAR director, says, "There is a stigma surrounding the word disability." She further explains that when people hear the word, they often only think about disabilities they can see, such as those in a wheelchair, and not hidden disabilities, such as chronic pain. In fact, the definition of the word disability changes in different cultures. This is why there has been a push, nationally, to begin to move away from names like "disability services."
It has been about three months since Metropolitan State's Disability Services decided to change their name to CAR. The center decided on the new name after polling faculty and students and analyzing the top six words chosen between to two groups. The change has resulted in a positive response from faculty, as well as an increase in students visiting CAR.
For more information about the university's NDEAM events, check out the Metropolitan State website event section. For more information about accessibility resources, contact CAR.