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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 6, 1995




"The strongest bond . . . outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds." Although written more than a century ago, Abraham Lincoln's words continue to express the ability of common purpose to transcend boundaries. As our Nation prepares for a new century and faces the demands of an increasingly global marketplace, this idea is more important than ever. We are called upon to value every citizen's unique gifts and to encourage all people to participate in moving our Nation forward.

America's employees with disabilities have long been a part of this effort, distinguishing themselves in virtually every occupation and profession. Indeed, study after study has shown that workers with disabilities perform as well as, or better than, other members of the labor force on every factor measured. The typical cost of accommodating a person with a disability on the job is only $200, and this investment is amply repaid -- wage earners with disabilities increase productivity and tax revenue, become consumers of goods and services, and reduce the burden on government welfare and entitlement programs.

Yet despite their many contributions and successes, individuals with disabilities remain underrepresented in our Nation's work force. Fully two-thirds of all Americans of working age with severe disabilities are unemployed, though research indicates that two-thirds of that number want to work. We cannot allow this situation to continue, but must unite in a concerted effort to ensure that all people with disabilities have the opportunity to be integral, productive members of our society. Together, our Nation's employers and citizens with disabilities can form an unbeatable team equipped to advance an interest vital to our country -- a sound and growing economy.

To recognize the tremendous potential of individuals with disabilities and to encourage all Americans to work toward their integration and full inclusion in the work force, the Congress, by joint resolution, approved August 11, 1945, as amended (36 U.S.C. 155), has designated October of each year as "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 1995 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I call upon government officials, educators, and the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities that reaffirm our determination to fulfill both the letter and the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twentieth.


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