Public Law 176, enacted by Congress in 1945, designated the first week in October as "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed from the week's name to recognize the employment needs of all Americans with disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed its name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."
2015's NDEAM theme stems from the Campaign for Disability Employment's Who I Am" PSA, which features nine people with disabilities sharing the many ways they describe themselves, including their occupations
July 7, 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disability Act. Since becoming law, the ADA has helped to improve the quality of life for more than 50 million Americans with physical and mental disabilities. As a result, it is easier today for people with disabilities to find a job, to enter public buildings, and to live more independently in their communities.However, we still have a long way to go. There are many Americans with disabilities struggling in bureaucracies of dependence, denied the tools they need to fully access their communities and the workplace. President Bush is committed to tearing down the remaining barriers with the New Freedom Initiative.
On February 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced his New Freedom Initiative to promote the full integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of American life. The goals of this comprehensive plan include expanding educational and employment opportunities; increasing access to assistive technologies and public accommodations; and providing accessible transportation and housing options for individuals with disabilities.