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October Marks Disability Awareness Month

As the calendar turns over to October, that means it is time for a renewed focus on the community of people with disabilities, and specifically targeting the high rate of unemployment among this group.

According to a recent article in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper, 43 percent of people with disabilities in three of the state’s biggest counties are unemployed. That percentage alone is staggering, but becomes even more shocking when considering that over there are over 530,000 people with some form of disabilities in those counties alone.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that while the national unemployment rate overall topped eight percent in August 2012, the rate for those with disabilities was nearly twice as high at 13.8 percent. More complete statistics can be found here.

So, what is being done over the course of the next month to (1) help decrease the rate of unemployment for people with disabilities, and (2) to help bring greater awareness generally to the topic of disability?

Here is a list of events happening in various parts of the country that address the above questions. Some are employment-oriented, and include career fairs and mentoring days. Others are designed as efforts to either recognize the achievements of the community or to provide helpful resources to make day-to-day tasks easier.


October 1: Must See Mondays (speaker series), “UNITY 2012: The Power of the ‘D-Word’ in America’s Newsrooms”

You don’t often see journalists with disabilities either on television, radio or in print. This event, hosted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University will not focus directly on disability-related issues in journalism, but will emphasize diversity in media more generally.

From the event page: “A panel of Cronkite faculty featuring Susan Green, assistant news director and broadcast director of Cronkite News Service; Aric Johnson, Arizona Republic editor-in-residence; and Anita Luera, director of high school journalism programs. Moderated by Mike Wong, director of career services.”

One of the deterrents to entering a field like journalism for many people is if they do not see themselves reflected in the demographic makeup of an industry. Perhaps this event will begin to illuminate how more individuals with disabilities can enter the competitive field of journalism, despite there being few current role-models for this group. The night begins at 7 p.m. at the Cronkite building on the Downtown Phoenix Campus.

For more information visit this link or contact Megan Calcote at (602) 496-7845.


October 5-6: “I Am Active Expo”

The 2012 “I Am Active Expo” will be held over two days at the Disability Empowerment Center (DEC) in Phoenix. It is an event designed to help people with disabilities learn more about things like assistive technology, adaptive driving equipment and resources for rehabilitative therapy. This is also an opportunity for those around Phoenix to tour the newly-opened Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SpoFit).

The expo will take place on Friday October 5 from 12:00pm-5:00pm, and Saturday, October 6 from 10:00am-4:00pm.) From the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living website: “[The event will feature] presentations, demonstrations, technology ranging from restorative therapies for spinal cord injuries, to assistive technology for gamers, to those with limited speech. In addition, there will be a display of accessible vehicles.”

Contact David Carey with questions at 602-443-0723. Registration is free and no RSVP is required to attend. The DEC is located at 5025 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, Ariz. More details:


October 11: ADA Recognition Ceremony

The City of Phoenix will be hosting an ADA Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, October 11 at City Hall downtown. Mayor Greg Stanton will be in attendance and KPHO’s Catherine Anaya will moderate the event. The city’s website outlines four goals of the ceremony, which, quoting the site, are:

1. Commemorate October as Disability Awareness Month
2. Honor community businesses and organizations for their ADA-related achievements
3. Recognize the Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues (MCDI) and its 2012 Grant recipients
4. Highlight the 2011-12 ADA-related innovations and accomplishments of City departments and staff

Registration to attend this event has ended, but more information can be found at Phoenix’s website:


October 16: Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair

The Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair is a unique forum and experience for businesses to engage real time with qualified candidates with disabilities. Powered by Brazen Careerist, the career fair is free, accessible and give job seekers a chance to talk with companies across several industries. The career fair is held October 16 from 1-4 pm ET. Here’s a link to register:


October 17: Disability Mentoring Day

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) will hold Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) events on October 17. All across America thousands of employer mentors and mentees will take part in job shadow and mentoring activities during the month of October. Disability Mentoring Day events at work sites, workshops and job fairs provide valuable first-hand experience to students and job-seekers with disabilities. This experience has helped thousands of past participants develop lasting relationships and secure internships or jobs. Every year, AAPD chooses a local DMD program to host the DMD National Launch. This year it is New York City. See


All of October: Webinar Series

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) will be hosting four weekly webinars in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month on Thursdays in October from 2:00-2:30 p.m. EDT.
The topics are:
Beyond Yellow Ribbons: Creating Disability Inclusive Workplaces for Recently Returned Veterans with Disabilities (Oct. 4)
Research and Practice for Promoting Disability Disclosure (Oct. 11)
Increased Options, Stronger Support: How States Can Assist Businesses in Employing People with Disabilities (Oct. 18)
The Workforce Recruitment Program: Tapping the Talents of College Students and Graduates with Disabilities (Oct. 25)

Here’s a link to register:

If you work for an organization or group that is running an event related to this year’s Disability Employment Awareness Month, let us know and we can add your information to this list. Send us a link to your event’s website, or provide the date and time it’s happening, with a brief description of relevant details. Send emails to