Press Releases

The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities Focuses on Access and Equity for National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2023

September 18, 2023 (Atlanta, GA) - The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) announces its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) during the month of October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "Disability: Part of the Equity Equation."

Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month of October, GCDD will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate Georgia’s disability community on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. These efforts include weekly webinars featuring panel discussions on disability employment. The kickoff date is Thursday, October 5th with a webinar entitled “Success Stories.” Additional webinars for the month of October are as follows:

  • Georgia Employment Initiatives - Wednesday, October 11th
  • Workplace Mental Health – Wednesday, October 18th
  • Policy to Practice – Friday, October 27th

On October 25th, Advancing Employment will also host an NDEAM capstone event/awards ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia from 9:00 am to 12:30 p.m. Kevin Tanner, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) and others will speak on issues around disability and employment. To register for this event, click here:

Governor Brian Kemp signed a proclamation this year to acknowledge National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Georgia. Studies show that Georgians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) want to work, but most do not. Thirteen percent of Georgians with I/DD have a paid job in the community, while 54% of Georgians with I/DD who want a paid job in the community do not work.

“GCDD is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said D’Arcy Robb, Executive Director for GCDD. “We want to spread the important message that we value all perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities. We want to encourage employers to take advantage of resources and best practices regarding disability employment.”

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "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.

“Our national recovery from the pandemic cannot be completed without the inclusion of all Americans, in particular people with disabilities,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Their contributions have historically been vital to our nation’s success and are more important today than ever. We must build an economy that fully includes the talent and drive of those with disabilities.”

Other GCDD partners in Georgia who will also be participating in National Disability Employment Awareness Month include DBHDD, the Georgia Council for Human Resources, The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), Advancing Employment, the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD), and CareSource.

To register for a NDEAM webinar, click a link below:

1. October 5, 2023, from 1 P.M. - 2 P.M.

Topic: KICKOFF: Georgia Coalition for NDEAM!

  • Facilitator: Doug Crandell, IHDD, Advancing Employment
  • Speakers from: DBHDD, GVRA, CareSource, Georgia APSE, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta

Start your NDEAM off right by joining us for a kickoff event. We will discuss the month’s activities, proclamations, weekly themes, and the capstone event at the Carter Center on October 25th. This is an excellent way to plan and collaborate with others in Georgia committed to Employment First. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and contemplate the future!

Registration Link:

2. October 11, 2023, from 1 P.M. – 2 P.M.

Topic: All Things Employment in Albany, GA!

  • Facilitator: Doug Crandell, IHDD, Advancing Employment
  • Speakers: Matthew Barnes, Employment Specialist, The Arc of Southwest Georgia, Kimberleigh Moore-Willis, Director of Vocational and Family Support Services, Caroline S. Chandler, Chief Clinical Officer-IDD Services, Aspire BHDD Services

In this dynamic session, we will hear from three providers that have innovated to bring more options for employment supports to the people and communities they serve. From formalized initiatives focused on industry labor needs to the mindset necessary to expand services, these leaders will share their stories, provide tips, and engage in a robust discussion. Please join us to listen, learn, and lead!

Registration Link:

3. October 18, 2023, from 1 P.M. – 2 P.M.

Topic: Workplace Care and Supports

  • Speaker: TBD but from Mental Health Matters: Policy Framework on Workforce Mental Health/National Conference of State Legislatures

Please join us to learn! A 2022 study from the Society for Human Resource Management found that of the more than 50 million Americans with a mental illness, “only 46% have accessed mental health services.” The study also states that many workers do not know where to turn within their organizations when they need mental health support from their employer. Although many of the strategies to address mental health in the workplace are implemented at the organizational level, this session will focus on ways to encourage and incentivize healthy workplaces at the state level.

Registration Link:

4. October 27, 2023, from 1 P.M. - 2 P.M.

Topic: Where do We Go from Here? A Discussion and Update on Advancing Employment’s Eight Policy Imperatives

  • Speaker: Doug Crandell in Conversation with Amy Price and GCDD staff

In this session, we will recap our October 2023 NDEAM progress, look to the future, and discuss the importance of a Community of Practice related to adopting policy changes, systemic improvements, and the framework necessary to revive and bolster Employment First in Georgia. We will also take a real-time vote on which of the 8 policy imperatives to focus on in 2024. Join us for the last of our fall webinars!

Make sure to check out Advancing Employment’s 8 Policy Imperatives:

Registration Link:

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting

About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is Georgia's leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for the wide spectrum of diverse people/persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play, and worship in their communities.