The New England Center for Children is participating in National Disability Employment Awareness (NDEA) 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 “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.”

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.

“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.”

Throughout the month, NECC will be engaging in a social media campaign to educate the public about NECC’s vocational training for children with autism and how employers can become an employer partner with NECC’s program.

“We want to spread the important message that individuals with disabilities, including autism, can work, want to work, and are valuable employees,” said Julie Weiss, NECC Director of Vocational Services. “We are proud to participate in NDEA month.”

NECC currently has 30 employer partners and 140 students over the age of 14 engaged in vocational training at NECC. NECC invites employers in Massachusetts to participate in NECC’s Vocational Services program. Please contact Julie Weiss, Director of Vocational Services, (508) 481-1015 x3193, jweiss@necc.org.

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/ndeam.