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Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A service of the The Viscardi Center
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Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A service of the The Viscardi Center    Search 
November 25th, 2015 by

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November 25, 2015

What’s New

Getting Down to Business: A Pilot to Strengthen Small Businesses Through Disability Inclusion
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy is currently accepting applicants for “Getting Down to Business”—a pilot program that will provide business associations with customized assistance to develop disability inclusion initiatives. Selected participants will work over a one-year period with an ODEP-funded technical assistance team to help their members create more disability-inclusive workplaces. To apply, associations must have a significant percentage of members that are small businesses. Applications will be accepted until December 7, 2015.

Learn more about the pilot.

Creating a Pathway to Disability Inclusion for Small Businesses
While smart employers know they should ensure their workplace is inclusive of the skills and talents of people with disabilities, not all businesses—particularly small ones—may know where to start. Now, a new resource—Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success—provides a path. Developed based on lessons gleaned from the Add Us In grants funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, this online toolkit describes effective practices in action across the country.

Visit the toolkit or read a blog post about its development.

Ensuring Inclusive Customer Service, During the Holidays and All Year Round
With December right around the corner, many businesses, especially those in the hospitality and retail industries, are gearing up for their busiest season of the year, with some even hiring additional staff to handle the holiday rush. As such, it’s a perfect time for employees to brush up on their customer service skills. One area where employees may benefit from additional training is serving customers with disabilities, and a new video from the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, “At Your Service,” provides an easy way to provide it—during the holidays, or anytime of the year.

Access the video.

Exploring Workplace Flexibility as a Disability-Inclusive Strategy
For millions of Americans with complex life situations, workplace flexibility is essential to balancing work and personal responsibilities. Among these may be people with disabilities and their caregivers. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy recently formed an alliance with the Families and Work Institute—a non-profit that conducts research to inform solutions to the challenges facing today’s workplaces, families and communities—to explore ways to advance workplace flexibility as a disability-inclusive strategy for employers.

Read more about the alliance.


Mark Your Calendar

Disability Equality Index Registration

December 4, 2015 DEADLINE

The deadline to register to participate in the 2nd annual Disability Equality Index (DEI) is fast approaching! Sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Business Leadership Network—an Employer TA Center partner—this benchmarking tool offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices. Last year, 80 Fortune 1000 companies participated, 19 of which scored 100 and thus were named “DEI Best Places to Work.”

Learn more about the survey.

Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success

December 8, 2015, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET WEBINAR

This webinar will address strategies small businesses can use to become more inclusive of people with disabilities along with steps business associations can take to educate their members about the value disability diversity adds to their workplaces and communities. A new online resource related to these topics will also be demonstrated. Participation is free, but registration is required and space is limited.

Reserve your spot today!

Inclusive Apprenticeship NPRM

January 5, 2016 COMMENT PERIOD

Apprenticeships allow young people to learn a trade and establish a clear career path. But, they also benefit employers, who can use them to attract future talent. To ensure this talent pool is inclusive of all qualified candidates, the U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on increasing the representation of under-represented groups—including people with disabilities—in apprenticeship programs. Employers can comment on the NPRM by Jan. 5, 2016.

Learn about the NPRM.

Employer Spotlight



Walgreens has been widely recognized as a pioneer for its efforts to increase the representation of people with disabilities in its workforce, most notably at its universally designed distribution centers in Connecticut and South Carolina. Through its Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI), the company also works to increase disability inclusion in its retail stores by partnering with local service providers to help people with disabilities gain the skills needed to be successful on the job.

Read more about REDI.

Spacer2 Spotlight

Effective Employment Practices: Internships & Mentoring

Effective Employment Practices: Internships & Mentoring

For many businesses, internships offer a way to both fill anticipated short-term staffing needs and evaluate potential future staff—especially those who may be new to the workforce. But they can also be an effective strategy for achieving disability diversity. For this reason, internships, along with their complementary practice of mentoring, are among the 10 effective practices featured in’s new online toolkit for small businesses.

Read more about internships and mentoring.

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is a resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified employees with disabilities. It is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center), which 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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