DOL to Profile Workers with Disabilities throughout October

Throughout the month of October, which is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy has announced that it will profile on its Web site individuals who have personally benefited from agency-sponsored programs aimed at eliminating the chronic underemployment of people with disabilities, as well as employers and organizations that have successfully implemented strategies to hire, support, empower, and otherwise value employees with disabilities.

This year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme is "Workers with Disabilities: Talent for a Winning Team." ODEP says the special Web feature--to be posted at www.dol.gov/odep--is intended to dispel misconceptions about workers with disabilities by showcasing real faces and success stories. Each installment will include the story and photograph of a person whose life has been changed, or an employer or organization that has influenced positive change. The entire montage will include people and efforts from across the nation.

"Behind the banner of this awareness month are real people with talent, and others looking for talented employees, who are making a difference in their workplaces year-round," said Karen M. Czarnecki, acting assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "Our hope is that additional employers, job seekers and service organizations that view these few examples will be inspired to replicate best practices in their communities."

In 1945, Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October as "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1964, the word "physically" was omitted to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of people with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and adopted the current name.

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