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Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Disability employment 2022 posterOctober 2022 marks the 76th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation”. Federal Disability Awareness recognition began in 1945 when Congress enacted a law designating the first week of October National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1988 Congress declared the month of October National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

Why do we need a month of awareness for disability employment? Unemployment rates for people with disabilities are more than twice the number as for people without disabilities. In August 2022, only 37.6% of people with disabilities were employed, compared to 77.5% of people without disabilities. People with disabilities are valuable employees who bring unique skills and perspectives to their jobs. Employers are required to provide accommodations to make jobs accessible to people with disabilities, but they do not have to be experts to provide accommodations, they can use resources such as the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), which offers free guidance and resources on job accommodations and disability employment issues.

At the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, we must recognize that people with disabilities can do many types of work, including farming, check out Ohio AgrAbility for more information on farming with a disability in Ohio. The National AgrAbility Project’s online Toolbox: Assistive Technology Database is a resource for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers with disabilities. Disability employment awareness cannot be limited to one month – every day, every employer should practice inclusive hiring, and recognize the importance of including individuals with disabilities in all of their diversity efforts.

For more information and resources on making work, professional development, conferences, and education accessible to people with disabilities, please visit OSU ADA Coordinator’s Office, OSU Student Life Disability Services, CFAES Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Ohio AgrAbility. Laura Akgerman is a member of the CFAES Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and the Disability Services Coordinator for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Ohio AgrAbility, and OSU Extension. She can be reached at Akgerman.4@osu, or 614-292-0622.