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Calls to Action

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

October 01, 2013

Autism Speaks is proud to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! Held each October and coordinated by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), NDEAM is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the crucial contributions of America's workers with disabilities, including autism.

Yesterday, President Obama released a proclamation announcing NDEAM. "During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we nurture our culture of diversity and renew our commitment to building an American workforce that offers inclusion and opportunity for all." 

This year's theme for NDEAM is "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task." Autism Speaks recognizes that individuals with autism may be as good or better at particular jobs than their neurotypical peers, or people who are not on the spectrum, though they may need special accommodations to be able to work to their full potential. Some mainstream businesses have done a good job and developed reputations for accommodating people on the spectrum, but there aren't nearly enough opportunities to meet the growing need for employment among adults with autism. Autism Speaks firmly believes that the autism population represents a pool of potential employees that corporate America needs to explore.

Employment is a critical component for most adults to build full and productive lives. Individuals living with autism deserve the opportunity to contribute as productive workers in appropriate employment settings, paying taxes while improving their quality of life. Smart employers know that the community of individuals with disabilities constitutes a $1 trillion consumer market and is passionately loyal to companies that hire workers with disabilities. And those that win government contracts should know that the federal and state tax dollars they are paid also come from workers with disabilities. Hiring individuals with autism is good for business and for society as a whole.

To kick off a month full of critical discussions, blogs and news items related to the employment of adults with autism, Autism Speaks is highlighting the Small Business Town Hall meetings which have been taking place this fall across the United States. Autism Speaks has been engaging adults with autism and their families, small business owners, employment service providers and academic experts in dynamic discussions about the creation of employment opportunities based upon the strengths and interests of those with autism. Please click here to find out if we are visiting a city near you. 

The following three Small Business Town Halls will take place during NDEAM. There is so much more to learn, and we welcome your participation! Click on the links below for more information:

Wednesday, October 2: Los Angeles, CA 
Monday, October 21: Denton, TX
Wednesday, October 23: Evanston, IL

To RSVP for any of these events, please email adultservices@autismspeaks.org.

Stay tuned for employment-related news articles, blogs and special discussions featuring employment issues that affect people with autism throughout the month!

Visit the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy for ideas for employers and employees, resources and more!

And individuals on the spectrum, don’t forget – Autism Speaks wants to help you with your employment search by giving you tools and tips to use while you look for a job. As an adult on the autism spectrum, you have strengths and abilities that employers are just beginning to understand. We have written the Employment Tool Kit to help you research, find and keep employment in the current, competitive labor market. Stories, tips and resources were developed by a collaboration of people, including adults with autism, dedicated to increasing the employment participation of adults on the spectrum. Download the Employment Tool Kit here!