In February, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires affirmative action and nondiscrimination in employment of people with disabilities by federal agencies. To help federal agencies and other interested stakeholders understand the proposed changes, we at EARN recently hosted a webinar dedicated to the topic. More than 200 people registered, and we were thrilled to be able to engage them with presentations by a number of people with intimate knowledge of the NRPM: Akinyemi Banjo, Policy Advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (which funds EARN); Aaron Konopasky, Senior Attorney Advisor in EEOC’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) Policy Division; Anupa Iyer, Policy Advisor in EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations; and Bobby Silverstein, Principal at Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC and a leading expert on disability policy. Mr. Banjo set the stage, noting that the proposed updates outlined in the NPRM aim to strengthen the regulation and thereby reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to serving as a model employer of people with disabilities. Mr. Konopasky and Ms. Iyer then provided an overview of the NPRM, noting the differences between the current and proposed rule, which, in addition to combining and clarifying existing requirements, includes two requirements: achieving set representation rates and providing personal assistance services for employees who require them due to disability. Related to the former, under the current rule, each agency establishes its own goals, while the proposed rule would establish uniform goals across all agencies, specifically 12 percent for people with disabilities and 2 percent for people with certain targeted disabilities. Agencies’ affirmative action program plans would need to adopt these goals at both higher and lower levels of federal employment (GS-11 level and above and GS-10 level and below). The reason for this split is to rectify an imbalance; current Office of Personnel Management data show that people with disabilities currently are disproportionately represented at lower levels of employment. Related to personal assistance services, the proposed rule would require agencies to provide them to employees who, because of a disability, need them to help with activities such as eating and using the restroom while at work. Of course, setting new goals is only part of the equation; agencies must adopt strategies to achieve them. That’s what Mr. Silverstein addressed and what we at EARN were particularly interested in—because many of the best practices he described are things all employers, public or private, can adopt to foster a more disability inclusive workplace, whether because they have to, or want to, or both. Detailed descriptions about these best practices can be found in Federal Agency Employment Strategies: A Framework for Disability Inclusion, but a quick summary of examples he cited include expressions of commitment by top leadership; the establishment of agency-wide team/taskforces and/or disability-focused Employee Resource Groups; events and awards; inclusion of EEO efforts in hiring managers’ performance goals reviews; and conducting training and education for all employees. Additional federal-specific best practices relate to use of Schedule A, which allows agencies use a special authority to hire (and promote) people with disabilities without requiring them to compete for the job, and the Workforce Recruitment Program, which facilitates both internships and long-term opportunities for highly qualified college students and recent graduates with disabilities. I encourage anyone who was not able to attend to access the webinar archive and/or review EARN’s policy brief on the Section 501 NPRM. Both provide a wealth of insights and information that federal agency representatives and others may benefit from, especially if they are interested in submitting comments on the NRPM, which are being accepted until April 25.