Disability Employment Awareness Month


Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Percentage of US Adults with a Disability

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Disability is something many Americans, especially younger people, think can affect only the lives of other people. Tragically, thousands of young people are seriously injured or killed, often as the result of traumatic events. Many serious medical conditions, such as cancer or mental illness, can affect the young as well as the elderly. The sobering fact for 20-year-olds is that more than 1 in 4 of them will become disabled before reaching retirement age.

Copy source: Social Security Administration

Disabled and Awesome

Senator Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who was among the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2014. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms.

Copy source: Tammy Duckworth, Senator

Daniel Inouye was born and raised in Hawaii. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat team, made up of soldiers of Japanese ancestry. After losing his right arm in battle in 1945, he was honorably discharged in 1947, earning a Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart, among other awards. He became Hawaii’s first congressman when it became a state in 1959. In 1962, he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served for almost 50 years.

Copy source: Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI)

Jim Langevin was the first quadriplegic to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. At 16, he was injured while in the Boy Scout Explorer program working with a local police department. He was hit by a bullet and paralyzed when a gun accidentally discharged. Inspired by the community support he received, he decided to enter public service. In 2000, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Copy source: Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI)

Percentage of US Veterans with a Service-Related Disability

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Disabled and Workers

35.6% of people with a disability work.

Data source: Office of Disability Employment Statistics

Reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.

Copy source: Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI)

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. Modeled on the Civil Rights Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA stems from collective efforts by advocates in the preceding decades and is the most comprehensive disability rights legislation in history.

Copy source: Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI)

In 2010, on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13548 – Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities. This directive calls on federal departments and agencies to increase the recruitment, hiring and retention of people with disabilities.

Copy source: Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI)

“As a nation, we must continue to promote inclusion in the workplace and tear down the barriers that remain—in hearts, in minds, and in policies—to the security and prosperity that stable jobs provide and that all our people deserve. And we must actively foster a culture in which individuals are supported and accepted for who they are and in which it is okay to disclose one’s disability without fear of discrimination.”

Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation—
National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2015


Featured Works

Bruyère, Susanne M. Disability and Employer Practices: Research across the Disciplines. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 2016. 

Colker, Ruth. The Disability Pendulum: The First Decade of the Americans With Disabilities Act. New York: NYU Press, 2005. 

DeSouza, Eros, Carmen A. Paludi, and Michele Antoinette Paludi. Praeger Handbook on Understanding and Preventing Workplace Discrimination. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010. 

Fleisher, Doris Zames, and Frieda Zames. The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2011.

Flynn, Eilionóir, and Peter Blanck. Routledge Handbook of Disability Law and Human Rights. London: Routledge, 2016.

Geisen, Thomas, and Henry George Harder. Disability Management and Workplace Integration International Research Findings. Farnham, UK: Gower, 2011.

Gill, Michael, Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, and Mark Sherry. Disability, Human Rights and the Limits of Humanitarianism. Farnham, UK: Taylor & Francis, 2014. 

Griffin, Cary. Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities. Baltimore, MD: Paul HBrookes Publishing Co, 2014.

Harris, Jennifer. Disability, Policy and Professional Practice. London: SAGE, 2011.

Lindsay, Colin, Bent Greve, and Ignazio Cabras. New Perspectives on Health, Disability, Welfare and the Labour Market. Newark, NJ: Wiley, 2015.

Mitra, Sophie. Disability, Health and Human Development. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US, 2018.

Noon, Mike, and Emmanuel Ogbonna. Equality. Diversity and Disadvantage in Employment. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2001.

O’Reilly, Arthur. Right to Decent Work of Persons with Disabilities. Rev. ed. Washington, DC: International Labour Office, 2007.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Transforming Disability into Ability: Policies to Promote Work and Income Security for Disabled People. Paris, France: OECD, 2003.

Racino, Julie Ann. Public Administration and Disability: Community Services Administration in the US. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015.

Rimmerman, Arie. Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities: National and International Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.