Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), held every October, is a time to celebrate the contributions of employees with disabilities. This year, the 2015 NDEAM theme “Who I Am” portrays nine individuals with disabilities describing their various life roles, including employment.

Many employers hiring RIT students have a strong history of hiring candidates with disabilities, and often seek out candidates with disabilities when making new hires. In addition to hiring qualified candidates with disabilities, here are suggestions on how you and your company can show your support for disability employment.

Find candidates with disabilities through Workforce Recruitment Program. ODEP maintains a database of pre-screen college students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking full-time and co-op opportunities.

Train managers. Training plays a crucial role in building inclusive workspaces. In addition to providing education on disability etiquette and reasonable accommodation policies, specific training is available through NTID’s Center on Employment on working with Deaf/Hard of hearing employees in their “Working Together” workshop. RIT Career Services also offers training on working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Make application accessible. Your online application systems may be the candidates’ first impression of your company’s commitment to inclusion. Make sure it accessible by following DOL's tips. 

Highlight employees with disabilities. Be sure that your website, promotional pieces, and online employee profiles highlight your employees with disabilities in a positive, non-stigmatizing way.

Reach out to your community.  If your company participates in community service events such as Day of Caring, consider giving your support to a disability advocacy organization.

Connect with Deaf/Hard of hearing candidates at the Center on Employment at NTID.

Post with care. Many potential job candidates will connect with you on social media, so check that your posts are accessible to people with disabilities. Provide close captioning for videos, avoid abbreviations and spell out acronyms in posts, and provide links to pages with captions or transcripts of your video and audio content whenever possible.

For more information about hiring students with disabilities, contact Janine Rowe, Assistant Director, Disability Services, Rochester Institute of Technology Office of Career Services, at

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