As I sit in my dining room with my Seeing Eye dog napping at my feet, I’m reminded how October has many observed days regarding matters which hit home for me along with most of my coworkers at WeCo. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). It is also Blindness Awareness Month which includes World Sight Day, White Cane Safety Day, and many similar days.
There are many studies and estimates pertaining to those living with a Disability, some of which include:
• 1 in every 5 Americans lives with a disability, or anywhere from 39 to 56 million people. (US Department of Labor, 2014.)
• The Unemployment rate for People Living with a Disability is 12.5% compared to 5.9% for those who don’t live with a disability. (US Department of Labor, 2014.)
• The number of adults living with vision loss in the United States is about 20.6 million. (American Foundation for the Blind, 2014.)
• Of these 20.6 million adults, 70% are unemployed. (American Foundation for the Blind.)
These numbers are alarming, especially for those of us living these realities each day. At WeCo, most of the staff, Certified Test Consultants (CTC), and advisory board members live with a disability, including vision loss of varying degrees. Unfortunately, most of society sees our disability and overlooks what we can bring to the classroom, community, and workforce. The theme of this year’s Disability Employment Awareness Month is “My Disability is One Part of Who I am,” and we can identify completely. This month, our bloggers from our staff and CTC team will share
• their experiences with job searching as a person with a disability,
• successfully doing their job despite their disability,
• hiring staff with disabilities and making reasonable accommodations,
• explaining how screen readers and magnification software works, and
• developing for users living with sight related disabilities.
Be sure to keep up with this month’s blog series on National Disability Employment and Blindness Awareness . We hope these posts will shed light on the challenges we face, as well as how we succeed and how you can help this trend to continue.
Come visit our community on LinkedIn: Disability Employment Connection (DEC)!
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