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TMI Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "Increasing Access and Opportunity".

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.

TMI's client, Jack, proudly working at Smart & Final
TMI's client, Jack, proudly working at Smart & Final

"Ensuring that America’s workplaces continue to include and accommodate people with disabilities will be an important part of our economic rebound,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “Looking ahead, the Department will remain focused on the policies that led to a strong economy and record-low unemployment rates for persons with disabilities prior to the pandemic. A vigorous economic rebound and job growth will, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase access and opportunity for Americans with disabilities."

Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) engages in a variety of activities to educate its employees on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture.

TMI's client, Felisha, working at VONS
TMI's client, Felisha, is a dedicated VONS employee

"This year, and every year, TMI is proud to be a part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris. "We value all perspectives, particularly those of our more than 1,000 clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities."

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can absolutely enjoy the rewards of being a contributing member in society and have the satisfaction and pride that comes with having a job or volunteering. The TMI Employment Solutions program works with our clients to secure and maintain gainful employment in the community, if desired, and also works in collaboration with local businesses to develop volunteer opportunities for our clients. We offer a variety of trusted and innovative programs. Although paid work is the desired outcome for our clients, many are working as volunteers at a wide variety of nonprofit organizations throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.

Our Employment Solutions partners include several notable companies such as Smart & Final, Ross, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, VONS, Walmart, and many other outstanding companies. 

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


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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