Disability Employment Awareness Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the contributions of people with disabilities and highlights the importance of equal access to employment opportunities. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies and in programs receiving federal financial assistance.
Engineers have a long history of supporting those with disabilities, including creating assistive technology devices. Assistive technology devices are any devices or software that aids people with disabilities to work, study, and live. Famous examples include hearing aids, electronic speech synthesizers, and braille keyboards. Read more examples of assistive technology devices here.
Most recently, there have been rapid advancements in prosthetic technology. Engineers are using artificial intelligence systems that allow amputees to move their prosthesis intuitively and 3D-printed prosthetics, which drastically cut down the cost of producing prosthetics for those in need.
Disability awareness is a key element of diversity, equity and inclusion. Equity in particular means ensuring fair and impartial treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people. We are committed to prioritizing the enhancement of an inclusive workplace environment that provides equal opportunities to individuals of all abilities. For example, we have developed our recent toolkit outlining tips for inclusive and accessible meetings.
As engineers, we must commit to highlighting and supporting the work of people with disabilities, both by uplifting our colleagues and by assisting in innovation that improves others’ lives.
Thomas Costabile, P.E.
ASME Executive Director/CEO