October is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This tradition dating back to 1945 is meant to bring attention to the important contributions people with disabilities make in the workforce. The theme for 2017 is “inclusion drives innovation”. It was selected to highlight the many ways inclusion of people with disabilities results in innovative ideas for today’s economy.
Advancements developed by and for people with disabilities have widespread applicability and benefit for many workers. Some examples are things like curb cuts, automatic doors, and voice-recognition software that are now common tools for many people got their start from innovating for people with disabilities. Another example is email. Vint Cerf with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the 1970s co-designed the basic protocols for internet communications. One motivation behind his work was frustration communicating with other researchers by voice; Cerf is hard of hearing. Can you imagine life today without email??? This “accessibility mindset” delivers products and experiences in a usable way for the benefit of all users.
With more than 6 million jobs available across country, this is the time for job creators to realize the potential of the more than 500,000 Americans with disabilities who are looking for jobs right now! And, to think about the future contribution of young people with disabilities still in school. Quality Trust is working to ensure people with disabilities who want to work get that opportunity – and that young people are encouraged to dream big and get access to the education and support that will make those dreams come true. Please help us advance that mission!!