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Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A service of the The Viscardi Center
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March 2nd, 2016 by

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March 2, 2016

What’s New

EEOC Issues Proposed Rules for Federal Agencies on Affirmative Action in Disability Hiring
Reaffirming the Federal Government’s commitment to serving as a model employer of people with disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last week published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. The proposed rule sets forth two requirements: achieving set representation rates and providing personal assistance services for employees who require them due to disability. It also combines and clarifies numerous existing requirements for affirmative action plans. The public can comment on the NPRM until April 25.

Read the EEOC news release.

New Resource from SHRM Helps Employers Prepare for Aging Workforce
As demographics continue to predict a general aging of the U.S. workforce, it’s important for employers to implement policies and practices that facilitate the hiring and retention of older workers, including those with age-related disabilities. A new resource from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Preparing for an Aging Workforce: Strategies, Templates and Tools for HR Professionals, provides a wealth of information and recommendations on this issue, outlining key steps organizations can take to include and accommodate older workers across the employment lifecycle.

Read the SHRM Sourcebook.

Accessibility Takes Center Stage at Grammy Awards
Legendary singer and songwriter Stevie Wonder helped steal the show at this year’s Grammy Awards when he used the platform to educate about accessibility, noting “We need to make every single thing accessible to every person with a disability.” Indeed, whether in entertainment or employment, an accessible mindset is part and parcel of a disability-inclusive culture. The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) offers guidance for employers on making their technology infrastructure accessible to all employees.

Read more about Wonder’s appearance or access PEAT’s Guide for Employers.

NOD President Answers Call of Businesses Seeking Data on Disability Employment
In a recent Huffington Post op-ed, National Organization on Disability (NOD) President Carol Glazer discussed the importance of meaningful data in helping businesses assess their disability hiring efforts and guide their approach in the years to come, noting that without it, progress toward individual and collective goals simply cannot be determined. To assist, she said, companies can use NOD’s Disability Employment Tracker, which provides a confidential assessment of disability and veteran employment policies and practices, providing tailored reports in four areas.

Read Glazer’s op-ed.


Mark Your Calendar

Best Practices for Federal Agencies for Complying with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act

March 16, 2016, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET WEBCAST

This webcast, the third and final in the Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) 2016 Federal Employer Winter Webcast series, will feature Jeanne Goldberg, J.D., Senior Attorney Advisor in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Legal Counsel; and Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., JAN Principal Consultant. Together, they will address recent developments in the application of Section 501, provide practical compliance tips and share answers to tough employment questions.

Register for the webcast.

Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities

March 16, 2016, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET WEBINAR

This webinar, hosted by the ADA National Network, will address and provide resources on the employment rights of people with psychiatric disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, with a focus on determining when candidates with a psychiatric disability are qualified for a job, handling common workplace issues that may arise and providing effective workplace accommodations. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Register for the ADA National Network webinar.

The Importance of User Testing for Accessibility

March 17, 2016, 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET SPEAKER SERIES

This PEAT Talk, part of a monthly virtual speaker series on accessible workplace technology hosted by the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology, will feature Sharron Rush, co-founder and executive director of nonprofit Knowbility, who will present on the importance of user testing in ensuring workplace technologies are accessible to employees with disabilities. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Register for the PEAT Talk.

Employer Spotlight



On World Autism Day last year, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of worldwide operations, Mary Ellen Smith, announced a pilot program to hire people with autism. One employee hired thorugh this program is Kyle Schwaneke, an Xbox software engineer who holds a degree from a world-renowned university for computer interactive technologies and has Asperger’s syndrome. Since initiating the program, Microsoft has hired 11 employees on the autism spectrum, and the company is committed to opening doors for more through inclusive recruitment.

Read more about Microsoft.

Spacer2 Spotlight

Effective Employment Practices: Disability Inclusion Training

Effective Employment Practices: Disability Inclusion Training

No matter a business’s size, there are many steps it can take to increase awareness and understanding of disability issues.’s “Steps to Success” small business toolkit notes resources employers can use to host trainings on topics such as disability etiquette or workplace accommodations. Such trainings can go a long way to convey a company’s commitment to disability inclusion – and impress upon employees that they play an important role in delivering on it.

Read more about disability inclusion training.

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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