Boston: A message from Commissioner McCosh: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Dear Disability Community Members,

The leaves are changing, the days are getting cooler and there are bags of candy everywhere you look in stores - it must be October! While hot summer days are nice, I must admit that I am enjoying watching the leaves change, houses getting decorated with pumpkins, and the excuse to drink warm apple cider.

October is also an important month within the disability community as it is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate the general public about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year marks the 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and is being celebrated nationally with a range of events and activities centered on the theme "Increasing Access and Opportunity."

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.

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"Ensuring that America's workplaces continue to include and accommodate people with disabilities will be an important part of our economic rebound," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. "Looking ahead, the Department will remain focused on the policies that led to a strong economy and record-low unemployment rates for persons with disabilities prior to the pandemic. A vigorous economic rebound and job growth will, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase access and opportunity for Americans with disabilities."

Reflecting this year's theme of increasing access and opportunity, my office is partnering with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) to hold a series of workshops for a cohort of MRC clients. These workshops will discuss what different City departments tackle and what employment within the City of Boston can look like. While this workshop is only for a selected cohort, these workshops will serve as a pilot program that will inform our work on employment moving forward.

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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 dol.gov/NDEAM.

As always, please feel free to reach out to us if you need assistance. You can dial 311 to reach City Hall or call us at 617-635-3682. Our email is disability@boston.gov and the latest updates are available at Boston.gov.

Until next week, please stay informed, stay safe, and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Commissioner Kristen McCoshstats


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