Adelante is celebrating the 75th National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the 30th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). NDEAM is celebrated every October to raise awareness about the importance of job opportunities for people with disabilities. This year, these two milestones highlight an often overlooked fact. That is, workers with disabilities deserve more access to a variety of good jobs and the sense of purpose employment provides.

Many of us have celebrated essential employees during the pandemic. And we, at Adelante, are no different. In our thinking, employment opportunities for people with disabilities are more essential than ever.

NDEAM 2020: Pandemic Illuminates the Need for Awareness & Job Opportunities

The pandemic has caused many people to be furloughed or even laid off. This has caused record levels of unemployment. People with disabilities have been disproportionately affected. One in 7 people in general have lost their jobs during the pandemic. But, when looking at data on people with disabilities, that number goes up to 1 in 5. Before the health crisis of 2020, already 81% of working age adults with developmental disabilities were not participating in the workforce. Jobs have been in short supply for people with disabling conditions and COVID-19 has only made the situation worse.

People with disabilities are at a serious disadvantage in the workplace. Too often they are the last to be hired and the first to be let go. They may have trouble applying independently or communicating during an interview. Employers often fear expenses tied to accommodations or lack experience or knowledge about working with people with disabilities. The reality is that the vast majority of accommodations are really inexpensive and most people with disabilities can understand and act on instructions. They just need clear communication and maybe a bit more support. Organizations like Adelante and our job coaches can provide help with training and on-the-job support.

Like other essential employees, many people with disabilities that still have jobs this year are working on the front lines. They are working in essential jobs at grocery stores, hospitals, or businesses providing essential supplies.

Two men are holding rabbits and wearing masks. They are socially distanced and looking at the camera. One is an employee of the pet store, and the other is his job coach. This NDEAM, we want to celebrate those businesses that support our clients during the pandemic.
Adelante is grateful to local businesses like Clark’s Pet Emporium, who employ our clients and work with the job coaches of our EmployAbility program. Clark’s supplies pet food and has been open much of the pandemic.

Hire People with Disabilities

Yes, employment numbers for people with disabilities are discouraging. However, you can be part of the solution by hiring people with disabilities, being supportive of workers with disabilities, and by working with Adelante Enterprises or other businesses providing jobs for people with disabling conditions.

If your business is looking for good, dependable employees, consider hiring a person with a disability. Adelante’s EmployAbility program can answer your questions, help with concerns, and provide lots of support along the way. Many clients even have job coaches that help them with different aspects of the job.

Some of our clients spend years looking for jobs only to be constantly turned down. By giving a person with a disability a chance to work, it benefits both you and them!

The Institute for Corporate Productivity has done a couple of studies on hiring people with disabilities. They found that overall, companies that hire people with disabilities see better profits and general success. One finding says that hiring people with developmental disabilities in positions like office clerical jobs has a notable correlation to market performance. It’s true: diversity and inclusion is a hot topic. Hiring people with disabilities as a key part of your D&I initiatives is not just the right thing to do. It’s good for business, as well.

Work with Businesses that Provide Jobs

Another great way to make sure people with disabilities have jobs is to work with companies who actively hire an inclusive workforce. Adelante offers quality shredding, scanning, janitorial, maintenance, mailing, call center, and high-speed printing services. If you need this kind of work done, visit You will get quality products and services and you will be providing job opportunities for New Mexicans with disabilities. We even have a new service that sanitizes offices, fleets, and homes which is especially important in fighting COVID-19.

If you like great deals on clothes or housewares, visit Bargain Square, our thrift store in Belen. The thrift store also takes donations of gently used items. Drop by by our location at 19554 Hwy 314 S in Belen or call (505)923-4250 if you need large items picked up.

This October, in honor or NDEAM, consider being a part of the solution. Help people with disabilities have better access to and inclusion in jobs. Thank you!

Want to support our work on employment for people with disabilities?