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Inclusion Works

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Candice Compton
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Equal Opportunity

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a nationwide campaign raising awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the contributions of America's workers with disabilities, past and present in October.  People with disabilities are a diverse group, crossing lines of age, ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.  This is the only minority group anyone can become a member of at any time.  The theme for this year, which marks 71 years since the first observance, is #InclusionWorks.

Workplaces welcoming of the talents of all people, including those with disabilities, are a critical part of efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy.  One suggestion as to how work centers can be a part of NDEAM is to train supervisors to ensure they understand their role in fostering an inclusive workplace culture.  It is also important for supervisors and subordinates to be educated about disabilities, since they may never have worked with a disabled coworker.

Ask yourself this question: "Am I being inclusive?"  Awareness of personnel with a disability and its implications is a critical first step in the development of becoming inclusive.  Participation of people with a disability is also essential for genuine empowerment and work center change.  Working together you can ensure physical, communication, policy and barriers hindering inclusiveness are both identified and addressed. 

Take the time to familiarize yourself with reasonable accommodations.  Accommodating an employee means providing assistance or making changes in the job or work center that will enable the employee to accomplish their job.  For example, lowering the height of a desktop to accommodate a worker in a wheelchair or providing a telecommunications device for a worker whose hearing is impaired, are simple steps a person can take to empower those in their workforce.

There are many types of jobs available for people with different disabilities, and the month of October has been declared a time to raise awareness and celebrate the contributions to the workforce made by disabled Americans.  Cannon AFB strives to be an inclusive workforce and employ individuals with all types of disabilities.  Challenge yourself at your level to do what you can to make the Air Force’s workforce more inclusive.