VNU Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Village Northwest Unlimited Again Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October

Sheldon, IA — September 25, 2020— Village Northwest Unlimited will again celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each 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 "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.

"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."

"VNU is proud to once again be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Ryan Haack, Director of Development, "We want to spread the important message that we value all employment, including the employment of individuals with disabilities."

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

Barry Whitsell, President and CEO of Village Northwest Unlimited, said, "Every day at the Village our Employment Specialists work with local employers to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are given every opportunity for success through competitive, integrated employment opportunities. Having employment opportunities for our Village residents allows them to have the dignity of earning a paycheck and the purpose in their life of having a job to go to each day.  We are extremely grateful to those employers who give our residents these opportunities.  We currently have 53 people working in area businesses and using their abilities to be gainfully employed."


Village Northwest Unlimited is nationally recognized as one of the premier providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and autism spectrum disorder. VNU builds successful lives for 180 individuals by providing opportunities and choices in residential, vocational and social programs while fulfilling its mission of providing Purpose, Privacy and Dignity.