National Disability Employment Awareness Month  

Observed annually in October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the contributions of employees with disabilities in the U.S. and highlights supportive, inclusive employment policies and best practices. 

This year’s theme is Disability: Part of the Equity Equation,” which recognized the critical role people with disabilities play within our diverse and inclusive American workforce.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Working alongside nonprofit organizations to support people experiencing disabilities nationwide

Even though one in four adults in the US has a disability, individuals with disabilities continue to face greater barriers of access to healthcare, education, safe housing and food security.

With a more equitable healthcare system as our North Star, our Community Impact team partners with several agencies focused on creating access for quality learning environments, housing, food, economic stability and so much more.

Additionally, Vizient’s corporate grant-giving has funded a variety of programs tackling barriers to health access and equity from transportation to cancer appointments, to patient navigation services, to mental health and recovery programs.

Partnering with nonprofits to help make a difference

Bryan’s House – Dallas

Vizient employees who volunteer with Bryan’s house learn how to adapt books for children with disabilities. By adding textures and engaging elements to beloved children’s books, our employees are making learning more accessible, breaking down one barrier to quality education for kids with disabilities. Learn more about Bryan's House - Dallas

Meals on Wheels – Dallas and Chicago

Both our Dallas and Chicago office locations send teams to support Meals on Wheels during our annual Community Day. Meals on Wheels is committed to improving the health and well-being of seniors and individuals with disabilities. This goes beyond meal delivery. Interaction with a delivery driver is often the most meaningful contact a client has – 84% of the seniors we serve tell us their driver is the only human contact they have every week. Learn more about Meals on Wheels - Dallas and Chicago

Project Onward – Chicago

We recently hosted a companywide discussion with Project Onward – a nonprofit studio program for adult artists with developmental disabilities and/or mental illnesses. We examined Social and Community Context as a Social Determinant of Health and explored how community programs like Project Onward positively impact one’s mental health and economic stability. Learn more about Project Onward - Chicago

The Bridge – Dallas

Individuals with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. Vizient supports numerous housing programs and recovery centers, including our Community Day partner, The Bridge – which is the only shelter in Dallas that provides day shelter services to all adults experiencing homelessness. The Bridge offers basic-needs services including hot showers, nutritious meals and haircuts, as well as intensive services such as physical and mental health evaluations and care management services for more than 800 guests daily and provides shelter for 300 guests every night. Learn more about The Bridge - Dallas

Supporting teachers nationwide

Vizient employees nominated and donated to over 20 teachers’ Donor’s Choose pages this year, many of which supported projects focused on making classrooms more accessible. From creating flexible seating for students and broadening their accessible library to building an obstacle course adapted for students with physical disabilities, these teachers are working to make their classrooms a place where everyone has an opportunity to grow and thrive.

This October – and all year long – I encourage us to celebrate our differing abilities and to focus on increasing accessibility and inclusiveness for employees experiencing disabilities. Together, we must continue to fight ableism and stigmas around disabilities – both visible and invisible – to fully foster a workplace where we can all thrive. Our Ability@Vizient DNA offers a safe space to connect with coworkers and share our unique experiences and perspectives so we can gain a greater understanding of how disabilities impact many of our lives. I challenge each of us to really lean in to learning as much as we can about disability inclusion so we can form genuine connections and practice empathy with our coworkers, friends and loved ones.
Taylor WhiteGroup SVP, Strategy, Marketing and Corporate Development and Ability@Vizient executive sponsor
National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the diversity that people with disabilities, whether the disability is seen or unseen, bring to the workplace. Each person’s life experiences give them a unique perspective that they bring with them to the workplace. I’m thankful for the right to have a more equitable and inclusive workplace via the Americans with Disabilities Act and look forward to continuing this work with our Ability@Vizient DNA.
Melissa PotterSenior marketing communications manager and Ability@Vizient commerce strategist

Did you know? 

  • NDEAM dates back to 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October: "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week."
  • In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.
  • In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.