Since 1988, our nation celebrates Employment Awareness throughout the month of October. The goal of this celebration is to encourage an inclusive community inviting of all that is unique about each of its members. The particular talents and abilities of each community members creates a vibrant and successful workforce. This year the U.S. Department of Labor proclaimed “Increasing Access and Opportunity” as the theme of October’s celebrations. Encouraged is a continued atmosphere of inclusion and proper accommodations for members of the workforce with diverse abilities.
AIM Services’ mission is to support the “power of potential” in people of diverse abilities. It is an organization centered upon the important theme of inclusion. The Employment Services Program, distinct in its immersion in the communities it supports, assists people throughout their employment journey. Beginning as early as age 14, this program aids participants in building the skills necessary for successful employment. Furthermore, the program supports people as they improve skills, explore fields of interest, obtain and maintain competitive employment, and ultimately achieve self-employment. Definitive of this program is the relationships built with community businesses. Locally, over 50 businesses work with individuals receiving employment support. The positive collaboration with these businesses is a wonderful example of AIM Services’ effective integration of the Department of Labor’s “Increasing Access and Opportunity” initiative.
In honor of the 75th Anniversary of NDEAM, AIM Services offers the following information regarding this historic national celebration:
- The first employment celebration occurred in 1945. Announced by Congress is a week-long celebration called “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week”. It is not until 1988 that Congress changes this celebration to “National Disability Awareness Month”. Here is President Harry S. Truman’s official proclamation, released on September 22, 1945.
- The Office of Disability Employment Policy funds The Campaign for Disability Employment, called “What can YOU do?”. This is an “…outreach effort to promote hiring, retention, and advancement of people with disabilities”. This campaign focuses on what people of diverse abilities CAN do in an environment that is inclusive of their needs. Challenged are misconceptions of disability employment and encourages employers to recognize the skills, talents, and contributions of people of diverse abilities. This involves a focus on what they add to the workforce and, thus, the economy.
- In April of 2018, federal agencies created the “Multi-Agency Task Force on Increasing Employment Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities”. This Task Force focuses upon addressing the chronic unemployment rate of Americans with disabilities and work towards the complete integration of people with disabilities into the American workforce. The Department of Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, Veteran Affairs, Commerce, Transportation, Social Security Administration, Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the National Council of Disability, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission all commit themselves to increasing opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain competitive, integrated employment.
- The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a free resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public-and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures. An abundance of information and resources on the employment of people with disabilities is available. The Department of Labor also offers a four-step reference guide for recruitment, hiring, and retaining employees with disabilities for employers, called Building an Inclusive Workforce. In addition, the Department of Labor offers information on people with disabilities and fulfilling business goals. With this, there are numerous resources to assist employers in their efforts towards inclusion.
- AIM Services hosts the 8th Annual Wine Tasting Event, Vin Le Soir, on November 4, 2020. Among various planned performances and speeches, several people who receive services through the Employment Services Program will share their stories. Highlighted is the positive outcomes of the inclusive environments created by local businesses, as well as the exceptional support services available at AIM Services. Although AIM Services assists in the provision of employment programs, the remarkable spirit, drive, and talents of those involved, are all their own.