In this section of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) monthly newsletter, EARN features and recognizes employersÕ successful practices for outreach, recruitment, hiring, and accommodating workers with disabilities. EARN invites employers who would like to highlight their effective practices in employing people with disabilities to submit articles for future issues of the EARN newsletter.
The recent tragic events in Boston remind us that disabilities can affect anyone at any time. According to www.ssa.gov, one in four of todayÕs 20-year olds will acquire a disability before they retire. Employers that develop and incorporate comprehensive return to work strategies and accommodations are better prepared to engage workers who are returning to work after acquiring a disability. Ensuring inclusive workplaces can strengthen and maintain a qualified workforce, and help everyone deal with managing lifeÕs unpredictabilities.
This month, EARN spotlights Deloitte LLP for fostering an inclusive workplace by supporting, accommodating and retaining an employee with an acquired disability.
RETURN TO WORK: RETAINING A HIGH PERFORMANCE EMPLOYEE
Deloitte LLP continually focuses on strengthening its inclusive environment and works toward the shared mission of attracting, developing, retaining, and advancing the best talent representing the broadest range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. When a Deloitte employee developed a physical disability and became a wheelchair user, the company worked with the employee to provide support, solve accommodation issues and ultimately retain his services.
Working interactively with the employee, Deloitte determined what the employee needed for travel and what adaptive equipment was covered by the insurance provider. Any equipment not covered was purchased by Deloitte. Deloitte also provided flexibility so the employee could attend physical therapy sessions. As a result of a small monetary investment, the employee continued his same level of productivity and the company retained a strong performer.
CENSUS: WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES LESS LIKELY TO BE EMPLOYED, MORE LIKELY TO EARN LESS
Individuals with disabilities were less likely to be employed than individuals without disabilities, and those who were employed typically held jobs with lower earnings and also earned less than their colleagues with no disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Based on the new Disability Employment Tabulation, the statistics show that between 2008 and 2010, individuals without disabilities were about three times more likely to be employed than individuals with disabilities. Overall, individuals with disabilities accounted for 9.4 million, or 6.0 percent, of the 155.9 million civilian labor force. Click here to read more.
BUSINESS BUILDS ITSELF AROUND WORKERS WITH AUTISM
A new car wash staffed almost entirely by people with autism opened its doors in Parkland, Florida this month and backers of the company are looking to take the model national. The Rising Tide Car Wash is built around the idea that people with autism excel at repetitive, structured tasks. Rising Tide worked with experts at the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University to structure the work environment for people with autism and define the 46 steps to washing a car. John DÕEri started the company with his son Thomas in an effort to create work opportunities for his other son Andrew, 21, who has autism, and those like him. Click here to read more.
OREGON GOVERNOR PLANS TO MOVE MORE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES INTO GENERAL WORKFORCE
Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon has released plans to move more Oregonians with severe disabilities into the general workforce and to decrease state funding for nonprofit sheltered workshops. Kitzhaber issued an executive order this month and named Mike Maley, deputy director of the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services, as the stateÕs first employment coordinator to help make the plan work. Click here to read more.
SENATE HEARING ADDRESSES STATE LEADERSHIP, INNOVATION IN DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT
On February 26, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a full committee hearing on State Leadership and Innovation in Disability Employment. The hearing follows on a series of hearings and roundtables on disability employment held in 2012.
HOW COMPANIES CAN SUPPORT CANCER SURVIVORS IN THE WORKPLACE
Cancer is no longer the taboo topic it was years ago. Today, with celebrities like Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts and TV actress Christina Applegate sharing their cancer stories with the world, the disease has emerged from the shadows. The workplace is where many survivors share the news, and employers are realizing that they must focus on cancer care as they look for ways to manage health care costs. Helping employees navigate treatment and providing them with information and resources is critical in ensuring that they return to work as productive and engaged employees. Click here to read more.
*In March 2013, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 27.3% for persons with disabilities compared with 70.2% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 42.9%, not seasonally adjusted.
EMPLOYMENT DATA CONFIRM UPWARD TREND FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
New data indicate a positive employment picture for people with disabilities, according to this monthÕs ÒTrends in Disability Employment Ð National Update.Ó According to the report, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 25.9 percent in March 2012 to 27.3 percent in March 2013 (up 5.4%) for working-age people with disabilities. ÒThis change indicates that a greater proportion of people with disabilities are working,Ó according to John OÕNeill, Ph.D., Kessler FoundationÕs Director of Employment and Disability Research. Click here to read more.
ACCOMMODATIONS FOR WORKERS CAN HELP RETAIN INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE
Two briefs issued recently by the U.S. Department of Labor state that providing accommodations to aging workers with disabilities and individuals with chronic health problems or reduced work capacity can help employers retain experienced staff who might otherwise leave the workforce prematurely. The briefs provide recommendations for state and federal policymakers, employers and health care industry leaders on retaining critical talent, and summarize assessments and recommendations from two conferences sponsored by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that gathered experts on aging, disability and employment to discuss the impact of aging on the national workforce and health care systems. Click here to read more.
ONLINE VETERANS EMPLOYMENT TOOLKIT RELEASED
The Department of Veterans Affairs has released an online Veterans Employment Toolkit aimed at helping employers, managers, supervisors, human resource professionals, and EAP providers support employees who are veterans or members of the Reserve or National Guard to increase their success in the workplace. The online toolkit provides information about the value veterans bring to the workplace and describes common challenges they often experience in readjusting to civilian life. The toolkit also provides information on how to support veterans in that transition, including how to offer help to veterans with disabilities who sustained Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Click here to view the toolkit.
EARN WEBINAR ON APRIL 25th TO FOCUS ON ACCESSIBLE TECHNOLOGY
The second webinar in EARN’s 2013 free series is scheduled for Thursday, April 25 at 2:00 PM EDT. ÒBe Tech Savvy: Accessible Information and Communication TechnologyÓ will take a closer look at these important issues. HRCI credits will be available to participants.
APPS OPEN DOORS TO INCLUSION
Thousands of apps are now available to help people on the autism spectrum communicate, increasing their integration into the mainstream and the workplace. Apps are proving to be highly effective because touch technology is geared more toward how people with autism process information. A wide variety of apps are available on iPads, which are smaller, sleeker and less expensive than the bulkier, pricier devices used in the past. Click here to read more.
SPRINT RECEIVES U.S. DISABILITY MATTERS AWARD
Sprint will be honored as the marketplace winner this month at the Seventh Annual U.S. Disability Matters Awards Banquet and Conference for innovative accessibility solutions for delivering creative accessibility solutions that empower people with disabilities. The event is one of the most important corporate awards conferences in the U.S. Sprint will receive the award for the Sprint Relay ID pack and four accessibility-themed Sprint ID packs. Click here to read more.
GOVERNOR MARKELL BLOGS ON WHAT’S WORKING IN EMPLOYING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
According to Delaware Governor Jack Markell, people with disabilities still face challenges to accessing the job market, even though more and more businesses are realizing the benefits of this diverse talent pool. As chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), Markell developed the year-long initiative ÒA Better Bottom Line: Employing People with DisabilitiesÓ to focus on the role that businesses and state government can play in advancing employment opportunities in the private sector for people with disabilities. Click here to read his article.
EARN is funded by the
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy