WASHINGTON: The Department of Labor has launched a campaign stressing that Americans from all walks of life are connected by people with disabilities.
The “What's Your Connection?” campaign marks the 10th anniversary of Disability.gov, a website managed by the Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy.
“We wanted to not only acknowledge this very important milestone, but to also shift the focus from the site to its visitors in a very personal way,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “The purpose of this initiative is to encourage people to take a moment and think about their connection to disability and how it has touched their lives – whether they have a disability or know someone who has one. The emphasis is on inclusion and the connections everyone has.”
This is the first grassroots campaign for Disability.gov, she added. By sharing how disability touches all Americans, the federal agency is seeking to reinforce and encourage the inclusion of people with disabilities in every aspect of daily life. There are 57 million people with disabilities in the US.
“That's a lot of connections,” Martinez said.
The campaign has an interactive component: the federal agency is encouraging people to email a captioned photograph or upload a one-minute YouTube video that answers the question, “What's your connection?”
The campaign will last for nine months. Throughout the effort, the Labor Department will continue to post submitted photos and videos online. After it concludes, the Disability Employment Policy Office will pick the top three submissions and ask Facebook fans to vote on their favorite.
To promote the campaign, the federal agency released a toolkit showing consumers sample blog posts, news articles, tweets, and Facebook posts they can send out. It is also distributing information via Disability.gov's Facebook page and Twitter feed, as well as its Disability.blog site. The Department of Labor is also using its own Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog, and newsletters to disseminate information.
Department of Labor staffers are running the campaign with assistance from Washington-based PR firm Concepts Inc.
A representative from the firm didn't immediately return a request for comment. Records show the Department of Labor has awarded nearly $1.5 million in payments for PR services performed between August and the present time. The Labor Department has worked with the firm for years.