October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month / Disability History and Awareness Month

  • What are heritage and history months?

    In the United States, heritage and history months are periods within the year that are designated to celebrate and acknowledge the many cultures that make up our nation.  They provide an opportunity to recognize the contributions from various groups and to investigate the rich cultural identities around us.  

    No matter the grade level or curriculum focus, CPS articulates a scope and sequence that focuses on identity and “continuity and change” over time, in grades K-12. This allows students to explore the history of people with disabilities and the importance and significance of diversity and the changes/effects (including negatives) on our society. 

    Federal and State Recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month 

    Since 1945, the United States has officially recognized the accomplishments and contributions of people with disabilities during the month of October.  President Truman and Congress issued the first national call for providing disabled people access to all the opportunities and rewards of work with Public Law 176.   In 1990, the United States Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act.  To learn more, see the Library of Congress Disability Employment Awareness Month website.  

    Missouri House Bill 555, adopted in May 2011, designates October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Disability History and Awareness Month  

    Columbia Public Schools 

    The Transition Coordinator, Dr. Katie Siegel of Columbia Public Schools, has created many partnerships over the past few years with businesses in the Columbia area. These partnerships allow our students to participate in a work-based learning experience. Students are able to volunteer or internship at a variety of places within our community because of these partnerships. Columbia Public Schools is very grateful for the support, collaboration and partnerships that allow our students to have an opportunity to learn about working and post -secondary transition.

    Some of the partners that are currently providing a work-based learning experience for our students are: 

    Columbia Mall - Provides a classroom space for the STEP program at Columbia Mall

    University Hospital - Provides a paid internship for students 

    Old Navy, McDonald's on Stadium, Culvers, Allied Universal, Level Up Entertainment, Shakespeare's Pizza, The ARC, The Senior Center, The Food Bank, MACC, The Goodwill, The Salvation Army, The Bluffs, The Neighborhoods, Hot Box Cookies, Lake of the Woods Golf Course, Schnucks, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, MU Dining, MU Book Store, MU Thompson Hall, Encircle Technologies, BCFR Life and Work, Aladdin Food Management, Columbia College, The Wardrobe, Love Coffee, Camacho Coffee and Chris McD's. 


    Leaders you Should Know:  Individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our society.

    Senator Chuck Graham:  A nationally known advocate for people with disabilities and renowned public speaker, Senator Graham was the first elected Missouri lawmaker who utilized a wheelchair. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1996 and to the Missouri Senate in 2004.  In 1990, he was recognized by the U.S. Congressional Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities for his leadership in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act.  His life of service included working as the Missouri Coordinator for the ADA Project at the University of Missouri-Columbia, serving as the chairman of the Columbia Disability Commission and as co-director of the Great Plains ADA Center.  Senator Graham received awards and recognition for his diligent work on behalf of people with disabilities. (1965  – 2020)

    Judge Richard B. "Rick" Teitelman:  Following a distinguished law career, Richard Teitelman became the first legally blind state Supreme Court judge in the United States.  Before serving on the Missouri Supreme Court from February 2022 - November 2016, he served on the Missouri Court of Appeals and was the Executive Director and General Counsel for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.  He received many awards and honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (1947 – 2016) 

    Tamika Catchings:  Star in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WMBA) and 2020 inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Ms. Catchings was born with hearing impairment. In 1997, she became the first player (man or woman) to record double figures in five categories in a game:  25 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals and 10 blocked shots.  She played for the Indiana Fever for 16 years before serving as President of the WNBA Players Association from 2012 to 2016.  Ms. Catchings is the winner of four Olympic Gold medals, was selected to ten WNBA All-Star teams, and is the recipient of the ESPN Humanitarian Award.  (1979 - present)   


    Outside Resources

    State of Missouri Disability Portal sponsored by the Governor's Council on Disability:

    Missouri State Senate Biography of Senator Graham  

    Missouri Courts Judicial Branch of Government Biography of Judge Teitelman

    Basketball Hall of Fame