A growing number of employers consider people on the autism spectrum to be business assets, with unique and sought after skills in industries where accuracy and attention to detail is paramount. In the March 27th article, “How Autism Can Help You Land a Job,” Wall Street Journal Reporter Shirley S. Wang highlights the efforts of software company SAP and mortgage lender Freddie Mac to strategically recruit candidates with autism.
Disability management professionals, insurance vendors and HR practitioners gathered at National Harbor outside Washington, D.C., to discuss disability employment and our rapidly “graying” workforce. They were joined by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. “As the workforce ages, so does the image of disability employment,” said Martinez. “And I’d argue that this expanded view offers a real opportunity for America’s employers and employees to rethink what it means to be an inclusive organization.” The discussion took place at the Disability Management Employer Coalition’s FMLA/ADAAA Employer Compliance Conference. The conference highlighted workplace flexibility and return-to-work programs as exemplary practices that benefit workers and employers alike. Learn About the Older Workforce.
K.LISA YANG HONORED FOR SUPPORT OF DISABILITY AND EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVES
Philanthropist and former Wall Street executive, K. Lisa Yang, was honored with the Jerome Alpern Alumni Award from Cornell University’s ILR School in New York City on March 27th. Yang was inspired to help influence employment outcomes for people with disabilities by her children; two of whom have autism. Yang has been influential in her support of the Employment and Disability Institute and the Disability Studies curriculum at ILR, which was recently highlighted in a March 5th, Wall Street Journal article, “Disability Studies: Hot Topic on Campus.” Through her support of the Global Service Learning initiative at ILR, students are given the opportunity to learn about disability and employment issues around the world, as well as in the U.S. In her remarks during the awards ceremony, Ms. Yang shared her dream that though philanthropy people with disabilities can also realize career success. Ms. Yang expressed her view in a May 2011 Cornell University alumni newsletter; “The workplace forms such a big component of our lives. It’s not only a place where we validate our economic existence, but also a place where we develop social and recreational ties and perhaps even personal relationships…It’s important that companies foster a culture that enables people with disabilities to flourish as well as be accepted for who they are.” Read the Wall Street Journal Article here. Learn more about Lisa Yang’s support of disability and employment initiatives here.
THE 6 BY ’15 INITIATIVE
2015 will mark 40 years of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities, in collaboration with founding partner organizations including USBLN, and the National Council on Independent Living, have established six national goals for people with disabilities, including increasing workforce participation by the end of 2015. Learn more about the Six by ’15 initiative here.
IS YOUR ORGANIZATION DISABILITY CONFIDENT?
In this article from Disabledworld.com, employers in the UK are moving beyond the idea of being disability inclusive, to the concept of becoming “disability confident.” Learn more about this initiative, the definition of disability confident, and the American-based corporations who are operationalizing the concept in their own practices. Read the article here.
LET’S TALK TALENT: DISABILITY INCLUSION STRATEGIES WEBINAR ON MAY 8th
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center will host a business to business webinar on May 8, 2014 at 2:00 PM EDT as panelists from three companies representing the Mid-Atlantic Business Leadership Networks share their journeys to successful disability diversity inclusion as a best business practice. Lockheed Martin, Hershey and The Eagle Group have all taken steps to maximize workforce productivity and employee engagement by hiring and retaining Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs).
*In March 2014, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 25.5% for persons with disabilities compared with 71.1% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 45.7%, not seasonally adjusted.
WRP.JOBS: A NEW RECRUITMENT RESOURCE FOR PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYERS
Private-sector employers can now use WRP.Jobs, a no-cost online job board, to find pre-screened college students and recent graduates with disabilities looking for internships and permanent positions. The WRP.jobs portal for non-federal employers is a pilot project developed through an innovative partnership between EARN and DirectEmployers.
Employers can post single jobs or elect to connect appropriate college-level job vacancies to WRP.Jobs. Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) candidates looking for permanent jobs or professional internship opportunities can view and apply for positions. Candidates represent upperclassmen from all majors, including graduate and law students as well as veterans. WRP.Jobs directs applicants to employers’ career pages and applicant tracking systems. To access WRP.Jobs, employers can visit www.AskEARN.org and click “Request WRP Candidates” to register.
OFCCP UPDATES COMMUNITY RESOURCES DATABASE FOR FEDERAL CONTRACTORS
On April 4, 2014, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) added 24 new resources to its Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory. This database was launched in March 2014 to help contractors find qualified workers with disabilities and veterans, and to assist contractors with establishing relationships with national organizations and local community groups that have access to these workers. Contractors and others can visit OFCCP’s updated Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory on the OFCCP website at www.dol-esa.gov/errd/resources.html. OFCCP will add more resources to this database in the coming weeks.
APRIL 22nd EARN WEBINAR, “OPENING THE DOORS OF SMALL BUSINESS TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: KEEPING THE DOORS WIDE OPEN
People with disabilities comprise the single largest minority group seeking employment in the U. S., yet they are significantly underrepresented in today’s labor market. This webinar will focus on helping small businesses to leverage this under tapped talent pool. This is the second webinar of a two-part series. Register for the webinar here.
PARTNERSHIP FOR WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH RELEASES QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER: MENTAL HEALTH WORKS
Mental Health Works is the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health’s quarterly publication for employers. Each issue features practices from employers and provides readers with solutions for tackling mental health in the workplace. Mental Health Works is available in both digital magazine and PDF formats.
EEOC COMMISSIONER GIVES INSIGHT INTO HANDLING EMPLOYEE LEAVES OF ABSENCE AFTER FMLA IS EXHAUSTED
EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldbum shared her insight on the topic of providing leave as a reasonable accommodation in a co-presentation with Jeff Nowak of the firm Franczet Radelet. In this blog post on FMLA Insights, Nowak summarizes the Commissioner’s guidance to employers on an effective interactive process and assessing undue hardship. View the blog post here.
PUSH FOR VETERANS: IT’S GOOD FOR EVERYONE
Some diversity executives may fear that efforts to hire veterans may draw resources and attention away from other critical aspects of diversity and inclusion strategy. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Michele Green, vice president and chief diversity officer at Prudential Financial. Read the full article from Diversity Executive.
THE TRUTH ABOUT EMPLOYEES WITH BRAIN INJURY
From the official blog of Disability.gov, Cheryl Green shares her perspective on being a working person with a brain injury. Green gives her advice to employers on maximizing the contributions of people with brain injuries, as well as tips on accommodating them. By being clear about where employees can get information and assistance, and being honest about their performance, employers can foster an open dialogue which will create a more inclusive and ultimately productive work environment. Read the post on Disability.blog here.
EARN is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy