U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today issued the following statement in support of President Obama's proclamation of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month:
“President Obama and I recognize the critical role that education plays in empowering the next generation of Americans with disabilities. Through education, we can help people with disabilities build a strong foundation of knowledge and marketable skills with expectations for employment and the ability to give back to others in their communities. Stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act represents an unprecedented investment in students with disabilities and demonstrates the administration's commitment to helping all Americans achieve success in school and work. We are proud of the many projects underway at the Department of Education to assist children and adults with disabilities in acquiring the tools they need to achieve their dreams,” Secretary Duncan said.
To celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is highlighting projects and initiatives funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitative Research (NIDRR) that improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, including transition-aged youth.
All month, OSERS will feature innovative, employment-based projects and individual success stories on http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/deam-2009/index.html.
In addition, the office will join the Department of Labor, Social Security Administration and other federal agencies for a celebration sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities Oct. 12-13 in Duluth, Minn., highlighting the importance of exposing youth with disabilities to work-based learning and job shadowing opportunities. OSERS staff will be gathering input in coming weeks from parents, educators, students with disabilities and others to inform work on upcoming legislative reauthorizations and issues of importance to students with disabilities.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates to 1945 when Congress passed Public Law 176, designating the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The name of the month was changed by Congress in 1988.