Mission Alignment for Employment Networks: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

October 04, 2021 6:32 PM | NENA Admin (Administrator)

By Angie Howell, NENA Director
Vice President, Easterseals Nebraska

There were so many wonderful sessions at the 2021 NENA conference. For those that could join us, we thank you. If you weren’t able to join, we do hope that you will consider attending in 2022. One of the topics that resonated throughout the conference was remote service delivery and how services/scope may have changed throughout the pandemic. How does staff keep pace and how do we keep up with the changing times? More notably, throughout all of this--how do we prevent burnout?

Responses ranged from acknowledging and combating Zoom fatigue and learning time/data management techniques to streamlining outreach and Ticketholder communications.

From another angle on burnout, author Jon Gordon states, “We don’t get burned out because of what we do, we get burned out because we forget why we do it." As an Employment Network, you thrive when your Ticketholders embrace their vision. Now more than ever, it is important to focus on helping Ticketholders navigate the complexities of their situations to find a clear path to employment. Add in supportive services such as benefits planning, systems navigation support (housing, transportation, healthcare options to name a few), helping individuals to identify their strengths and offering tips, tools, and friendly reminders help make work and/or job advancement happen.

And, what better month than October to focus on the mission of ENs to serve job seekers with disabilities! This month, we collectively celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. Boost your Employment Network’s exposure by utilizing free resources to build awareness. The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, offers a website for ideas and resources for employers, community organizations, state and local governments, advocacy groups and schools to participate in celebrating NDEAM through events and activities centered around the theme of “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” The theme reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information on NDEAM messaging, toolkits and resources.

As an EN, you can also boost your connection to local employers and opportunities for your job seekers by reaching out to industry liaison groups and business disability inclusion organizations, such as DisabilityIN©. Find an affiliate near you.

Encourage your local employers to partake in NDEAM efforts and build their confidence and competence in hiring individuals with disabilities by sharing employer resources, such as the Job Accommodation Network or Employer Assistance and Resource Network.

We encourage all of our members to visit the NENA website for additional educational opportunities, and to become a contributing member to and learner from one of the many NENA committees, taking full advantage of all that your NENA membership has to offer.

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The National Employment Network Association (NENA) serves Employment Networks (ENs), American Job Centers (AJCs), State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and other Stakeholders involved in the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.

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