MOUNT VERNON — October 2022 marks the 77th anniversary of National Disability Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October.

The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

This year’s theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.”

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.

“Our national recovery from the pandemic cannot be completed without the inclusion of all Americans, in particular people with disabilities,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Their contributions have historically been vital to our nation’s success and are more important today than ever.

“We must build an economy that fully includes the talent and drive of those with disabilities.”

Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, New Hope Industries will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate the community on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture.

New Hope Industries provides employment services in Knox, Licking, Coshocton and Richland Counties. Over the past year the Community Employment Services department of New Hope Industries served 113 individuals, with 84 of those individuals currently employed in the community.

New Hope Industries Community Employment Services Manager, Angela Sichel states, “We are committed to providing quality employment services to all individuals with disabilities. We strive to provide supports in all areas of the job seeking process and assist individuals in achieving success in their chosen fields of work.”

New Hope Industries employment services include job development, job coaching, job retention and career planning.  New Hope Industries works together with community partners to train and hire employees. New Hope Industries provides employment training in community settings and helps job seekers find employment which matches their knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

“New Hope Industries empowers individuals to achieve success by providing meaningful services and supports,” said New Hope Industries CEO, Angie Wise. “People with disabilities deserve a job and the ability to participate in everyday life just like everyone else.  

“Employing people with disabilities supports an inclusive work environment that is rewarding to everyone. Work provides people with purpose. Everyone has unique characteristics, talents and abilities that should be celebrated. Everyone deserves an opportunity to work.”

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