Robins Air Force Base, Ga. --
Each year National Disability Employment Awareness Month is observed during the month of October.
NDEAM is a national campaign to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.
NDEAM origins can be traced back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October "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." Upon its establishment in 2001, the Office of Disability Employment Policy assumed responsibility for NDEAM and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.
Stephanie Hawthorne, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office Disability program manager at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, said their office will focus on events that will raise awareness to services available for both military and civilian Airmen.
“This month we will spotlight all the great things being done by the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program and the computer/electronic program, or CAP, to support military and civilian employees at Robins,” said Hawthorne. “The AFW2 Program and Military Evaluation Board helps support military members at Robins that are in the process of transitioning from military service to civilian employment due to medical and disability related issues.”
The AFW2 program is a congressionally mandated, federally funded program designed to provide personalized services for service members who are seriously ill or injured.
“As a recovery care coordinator assigned to Robins, I collaborate with the 78th Medical Group, Military Readiness Center, Military Personnel Flight, Civilian Personnel Office, and local agencies to manage challenges of service members who become ill or injured,” said Randall Ivory, Air Force Wounded Warrior recovery care coordinator. “I evaluate each service member’s needs by conducting a comprehensive needs assessment. The comprehensive needs assessment allows me to identify resources that will assist the service member with their transition back to service or civilian life.”
Ivory said it’s important to bring awareness to NDEAM.
“I want to ensure those who are serviced by Team Robins are aware the AFW2 program can be a force multiplier if a member becomes seriously ill or injured,” he said “As your recovery care coordinator, I can assist members who become disabled in the line of duty with entitlements and benefits by locating resources to assistance with employment, finance, Social Security Disability Insurance application, Traumatic Group Life Insurance and entrance into the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare.”
Hawthorne said another program disabled military and civilian Airmen might not be aware of the CAP.
“The CAP is a federal agency that provides assistive technology to Department of Defense civilians with disabilities, active duty service members with disabilities or functional limitations,” she said. “Their mission is to provide assistive technology and devices as reasonable accommodations to support individuals with disabilities and wounded, ill and injured service members throughout the DoD in accessing information and communication technology.
“Also, eligible to the CAP services are DoD employees with disabling conditions who are worker’s compensation beneficiaries, term and temporary, and workforce recruitment program employees,” she continued.
Hawthorne said she is pleased the base is part of the program.
“I love that Robins is a part of the CAP. It helps management provide needed items to military and civilian employees at no cost to the agency,” she said. “They also do consultation service to assist in possible accommodation items.”
Throughout the month of October there will be events for Team Robins members to attend.
“I want to bring special emphasis to the CAP event at the Robins Heritage Club ballroom Oct. 26, at 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.,” said Hawthorne. “The CAP will be providing information and product demonstration.”
Hawthorn said her team has received accolades from units across the base.
“I am proud of the effort and support that I receive for the DEIA team and other organization’s on planning events,” she said. “We do these events not because they’re required, we do them because we genuinely believe in the DEIA motto, ‘Our Differences Make us Stronger,’ ensuring that Robins is an inclusive employer.”
Stay tuned to the Robins Facebook page, the Robins Hope Facebook page, or Event Bright for details about NDEAM events throughout October.
For questions to services mentioned in this article you may contact Stephanie Hawthorne, DEIA program manager at 78ABW.DEIA.DisabilityProgram@us.af.mil.