Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Updated: October 13, 2022
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and this year’s theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.” Emphasizing the idea that “a strong workforce is the sum of many parts,” this month is dedicated to commemorating the important role that people with disabilities play in the workforce, as well as promoting inclusive hiring policies and practices.
In this blog, let’s dive into the history and significance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), how 3Play Media is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion externally and internally, and how you can appreciate the meaning behind the month.
The origins of NDEAM
The observance of NDEAM can be traced back to 1945, when the U.S. Congress named the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” Since then, the commemoration has evolved to include all members of the disability community, but the focus has steadily remained on equitable employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Modern day, NDEAM is led by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), which published its Equity Action Plan earlier this year. Supported by President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, the plan outlines 5 particular areas of focus:
- Enforcement of wage and hour laws
- Administration and improvement of unemployment insurance
- Broadened access for those with limited English proficiency
- Expansion of sector-based training and strategy
- Diversification of the workforce with new apprenticeship pathways
Fostering a culture of inclusion
At 3Play Media, inclusivity is at the core of what we do. 3Play was founded with the goal of creating a more accessible Internet, and we believe that the benefits of this effort are universal. Accessibility is about creating content that is inclusive of all people – with and without disabilities – to provide an equitable, barrier-free online experience.
We’re proud to be listed in The Valuable 500’s Directory, a resource that compiles digital, physical, and cognitive accessibility expertise from leading organizations across the globe. “Create by disabled people for disabled people,” this directory connects users with experts who can help them push policy into progress with tangible impacts. As one of 77 organizations selected by an independent review panel, this appointment demonstrates 3Play’s ongoing support of and commitment to disability inclusion.
Not only do we promote an external message of inclusion with the services and resources we provide, but we also foster an internal environment of diversity, belonging, and inclusion. We believe that bringing your true self to the office (and being welcomed for it) should be a given.
Jena Wallace, Content Marketing Specialist at 3Play Media, offers a personal perspective on the company’s culture of inclusion. After spending most of her career hiding the fact that she is hard of hearing due to a brain tumor, she was taken aback by how supportive her team and the company were when she chose to share her story.
“I was drawn to media accessibility because of my own disability,” says Wallace. “But… I feared how others finding out might affect my job as a captioner; having people find out that a hard of hearing person was discerning dialogue and sound for a living.” When 3Play Media acquired Captionmax, Wallace braced herself to do it all over again – and was pleasantly surprised to gain a whole new support system.
“It’s inspiring to be a 3Player, and to be a part of a culture where I can truly be myself and not have to mask my disability,” Wallace confides.
As a reflection of this internal commitment, 3Play Media has been awarded
twice as a Top Diversity Employer by Diversity Jobs, a recruiting solution that connects job seekers with employers who are intentionally seeking a diverse workforce. It’s critically important to us to stay active and involved in this community, and we host semi-regular trainings to ensure our employees are well-versed in an intersectional variety of DEI-related topics beyond disability advocacy alone.
Among these, Neurodiversity 101 and Safe Zone training were the most well-attended, each providing real-time learning opportunities with experienced trainers, and take-home resources on topics like neurodiversity and gender identity, respectively. By creating spaces like these – dedicated to the vulnerability in educating oneself – we foster an environment that is inclusive by nature.
Improving the approach to accessibility
Wondering what you can do to commemorate NDEAM? Before taking action, the best place to start is education.
To learn more about how employers can effectively and conscientiously implement diverse hiring initiatives, we sat down with Charlotte Dales, co-founder and CEO of the workplace inclusion platform Inclusively, in the latest episode of Allied podcast.
Dales explained that Inclusively “makes it easy to accommodate candidates at scale… by normalizing the ability for candidates to request accommodations ahead of an interview, or ahead of even [application].” 3Play is proud to work with Inclusively because of the platform’s ability to subvert the traditional job-seeking process, where candidates are told they shouldn’t disclose anything until after securing an offer – which ultimately creates a worse experience for prospective employee and employer alike.
No matter which side you’re on, the value of using directories provided by organizations like The Valuable 500, Diversity Jobs, and Inclusively is immeasurable. Platforms, services, and organizations like these allow disabled job-seekers to connect with companies where they can feel comfortable being their authentic, accommodated selves. And vice versa, prospective employers are given access to an otherwise underserved community of eligible job candidates.
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