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Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A service of the The Viscardi Center
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February 4th, 2016 by

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February 4, 2016

What’s New

Policy Brief Addresses Employer Perspectives on Customized Employment
A new information brief published by the LEAD Center summarizes the results of six focus groups held to gather insight on the perspectives of employers who had hired individuals with disabilities into customized jobs in the past year. In the context of employment, “customized” means personalizing the relationship between a job candidate and employer in a way that meets the needs of both. The focus groups were conducted under the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Read the Information Brief.

Downton Abbey: A Disability Inclusive Workplace?
Calling all Downton Abbey fans! In a recent post on the U.S. Department of Labor blog, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Jennifer Sheehy explored how the show’s family patriarch, Lord Grantham, has on several occasions shown strong support for employees with disabilities at his fictional English country estate. “While his character typically longs for the past, on this issue he’s very forward thinking − and I believe today’s employers can learn from his actions,” she says. In the post, Sheehy also shares opinions about the show’s shortcomings in portrayal of disability overall.

Read the blog post.

Veterans with Disabilities in the Workplace Focus Groups
The Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability seeks to understand the challenges experienced by veterans with disabilities as they transition from serving in the military to the civilian workplace and community. To gather insight and determine solutions to these challenges, it will be convening focus groups of veterans with disabilities, family members and employers with grant support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The upcoming meetings will take place on March 10, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.

For more information about participation, contact Judy Young.

Event and Live Webcast: Annual Disability Statistics Compendium
The Annual Compendium of Disability Statistics and Report on Disability is a web-based tool that pools disability statistics published by various federal agencies. The latest version will be officially released during an event on February 4, 2016 at The Washington Center in Washington, D.C. For people unable to attend in person, the event can be viewed live via webcast and will also be archived. In addition to a briefing and overview of the new and expanded tool, the agenda will feature a panel discussion and several notable speakers. It runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET.

Learn more about the event.


Mark Your Calendar

Creating Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes for Employment

February 11, 2016, 2:00 – 2:45 p.m. ET WEBCAST

This webcast, hosted by the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities (VCU-RRTC), will provide information on simple assistive technology solutions that can help people with disabilities achieve successful employment outcomes and maximize productivity on the job. The speaker is Dr. Therese Willkomm, Director of New Hampshire’s State Assistive Technology Program.

Register for the VCU-RRTC webcast.

Successfully Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Workforce

February 17, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET WEBCAST

This Job Accommodation Network (JAN) webcast will go over real-life accommodation scenarios from the federal sector in recent years, providing practical tips for implementing successful solutions. It is the second in a series of three monthly federal webcasts being hosted by JAN this winter. Presenters include JAN Principal Consultants Linda Carter Batiste and Beth Loy. Participation is free but registration is required, so reserve your spot today.

Register for the JAN webcast.

Do Ask, Do Tell: Tapping the Power of Disability Diversity & Encouraging Self-Identification

February 18, 2016, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET WEBINAR

In 2014, updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act strengthened federal contractors’ responsibilities to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities. One major component of these updates is a requirement that federal contractors invite applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify. This webinar will address strategies for achieving disability inclusion goals under Section 503 or a voluntarily adopted program by helping employees with disabilities understand the value of doing so. It is approved for 1.5 HR general recertification credit hours through the HR Certification Institute.

Register for the EARN webinar.

Employer Spotlight



A video featuring a 17-year-old Starbucks employee named Sam, who has autism, dancing while working recently went viral after being shared by author and autism advocate Carley Fleischmann. According to Fleischmann, Sam originally believed he would not be able to work as a barista, but his manager, Chris Ali, worked with him to create a dance routine to carry out the steps of completing an order. In helping Sam become the “dancing barista,” Ali helped demonstrate Starbucks’ stated commitment to disability inclusion.

Learn more about Sam and Starbucks..

Spacer2 Spotlight

Effective Employment Practices: Return-to-Work/Stay-at-Work Strategies

Effective Employment Practices: Return-to-Work/Stay-at-Work Strategies

When employees unexpectedly sustain an injury or disability, they may find themselves temporarily unable to work in their typical capacity. By using some simple strategies to modify an employee’s work environment, duties or schedule, employers can support their employees in staying at work or returning to work following the onset of illness or disability, even aiding in the recovery process along the way.

Read more about return-to-work/stay-at-work strategies.

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified employees with disabilities. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center. For more information, visit


Preparation of this material was funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant No. [OD-26451-14-75-4-36]. This document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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