When we educate ourselves about disability employment challenges, issues, and successes, we enable people of all abilities to define themselves on their own terms. At the USPTO, the talents of all our employees enrich our vibrant workplace, and we celebrate and value each one.
Seven percent of our employees at the USPTO self-identify as a person with a disability, and 26% of adults in the United States have a disability. While the nature of those disabilities are diverse—including physical, mental, intellectual, and sensory—people with disabilities often share intersecting challenges and experiences in the workplace. Despite the challenges people with disabilities have encountered, they greatly contribute and continue to play a vital role in the success of our agency and of our nation.
Each October we also celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a time to remember and honor the many contributions of men and women living and working with disabilities. The past theme for 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflected a commitment to ensure those among us with disabilities can fully access economic opportunities and accommodations to help advance the national recovery from COVID-19. We celebrated by sharing the perspectives of our employees with disabilities, promoting awareness of Schedule A hiring, attending the AbilityJobs career fair, and more.
We also hosted events for employees that focused on disability employment issues and the role that awareness plays in fostering a disability-friendly work culture.
You can join us in celebrating NDEAM all year long by reading about the accomplishments of celebrated inventors like Chieko Asakawa, Bill Warner, and Rory Cooper, who pioneered adaptive solutions for accessibility hurdles they encountered in their everyday lives, with life-changing benefits for millions around the world.