Moody celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- October is widely known for Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness and the candy lover's dream -- Halloween. Aside from that, Congress has designated this month as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in an effort to educate and raise awareness about disability employment issues.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for disabled people was 13.2 percent in 2013, almost twice as high as the 7.1 percent rate for those without a disability.

This year's theme is "Expect. Employ. Empower." These three powerful words signify that simply hiring individuals with disabilities is not enough. Advancing disability employment is about creating an environment where everyone has an opportunity to work, no matter their disabilities.

NDEAM provides Team Moody an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the many contributions of America's workers with disabilities. Moody's continued support of the AbilityOne Program is just one example how we recognize the endless contributions of workers with disabilities. This program is the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States.

The base supply store is operated by the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB), which is an affiliate of the AbilityOne Program.   As soon as I step into the base supply store I am greeted by a big smile from one of the seven employees. This team is a valuable asset to the base and their hard work and commitment is critical to Team Moody's success. 

Although these men and women have been given an opportunity to enter the workforce, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities who are still waiting for a chance to work.  This is why building awareness of NDEAM is so critical.

October is about so much more than trick-or-treating; it's about recognizing the value and talents of those with disabilities.  Through this awareness month, like so many other national observances, we can help promote a culture of inclusion for all Americans.  

For more information about the AbilityOne Program, visit their web site at www.AbilityOne.gov. For more information on this observance or future observances, call the Equal Opportunity Office at 229-257-3064.