In this Issue: Mental Health Toolkit, Federal Agency Framework & More
EARN IN ACTION
EARN is pleased to announce a new resource to help employers learn more about mental health issues and cultivate a welcoming and supportive work environment for employees with mental health conditions. The Mental Health Toolkit is a gateway to background, tools and resources employers can use to support their employees’ mental health needs. It also presents an easy-to-follow employer framework for fostering a mental health-friendly workplace, centered on four pillars referred to as the “4 A’s” – awareness, accommodations, assistance and access. Access the Mental Health Toolkit.
Late last month, EARN was in Birmingham, Alabama, speaking to employers about the important role Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can play in fostering a disability-inclusive workplace. The presentation was part of a one-day “Medical and Psychological Aspects of Disability in the Workplace” conference sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services’ business relations program and the Alabama Business Leadership Network. EARN consultant Derek Shields co-presented at the conference with Deborah Grimes, Chief Diversity Officer for University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System. Read more about ERGs in EARN’s Toolkit for Establishing and Maintaining Successful Employee Resource Groups.
Updated Federal Agency Framework
On April 4, EARN, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Office of Personnel Management, hosted the Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED) quarterly meeting. At the meeting, a newly updated resource – “Federal Agency Employment Strategies: A Framework for Disability Inclusion” – was unveiled. Developed with input from FEED members, this framework outlines promising practices federal agencies are using to recruit, hire, retain and advance of people with disabilities. Learn more about the Federal Framework.
Updated Primer on Disability Inclusion
If you’re an employer who is new to the world of disability diversity and inclusion, you may be looking for general guidance and background on the what, why and how of making your organization more welcoming and accessible to applicants and employees with disabilities. To help, EARN offers a brief “Primer on Disability Inclusion,” which was recently updated to include new research and resources on the topic. Consider it your starting point for understanding how taking steps to recruit, hire, retain and advance workers with disabilities can benefit your business – and the ways EARN can help employers tap the benefits of disability diversity. Access EARN’s Primer on Disability Inclusion.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE NEWS
Meet the Cast of the “Working Works” PSA
Three new videos feature interviews with several of the people featured in the Campaign for Disability Employment’s (CDE) “Working Works” public service announcement (PSA), including: Bruce Goebel, a cabinet maker who had a machinery accident that severed his right hand; Chanelle Houston, a research analyst who experienced a spinal cord injury; and Ish Escobar, a veteran with service-connected disabilities. In the videos, Bruce, Chanelle and Ish talk about their experiences returning to work after injury or illness and the important role that different people — including employers and colleagues — played in supporting them along the way. Watch the “Meet the Cast” videos for Chanelle, Ish and Bruce.
OFCCP Corporate Scheduling Announcement List
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has released its Fiscal Year 2019 Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL). For the first time, the CSAL includes focused reviews on Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, per an OFCCP directive issued last year. During focused reviews, OFCCP conducts a comprehensive review of one of its three authorities. Thus, Section 503 focused reviews will examine a contractor’s policies and procedures as they relate solely to Section 503. In addition to Section 503, OFCCP authorities include the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Executive Order 11246. Access the CSAL or Section 503 focused reviews webpage.
VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark Update
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced its annual update to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark. The new benchmark, effective March 31, 2019, is 5.9 percent. VEVRAA is a law that requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts over a certain amount to take proactive steps to employ and advance specified categories of protected veterans – among them disabled veterans – and prohibits discrimination against such veterans. Next year, OFCCP will incorporate VEVRAA focused reviews into its Corporate Scheduling Announcement List. Learn more about the VEVRAA hiring benchmark update.
Q: What is the Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED) and who can join it?
A: FEED is an interagency working group focused on information sharing, best practices and collaborative partnerships designed to make the Federal Government a model employer of people with disabilities. As such, membership is open to federal employees at any level whose job duties involve inclusion of people with disabilities. FEED meets quarterly in Washington, D.C., but members outside of the D.C. area are encouraged to participate remotely either online or via teleconference. FEED is a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Office of Personnel Management and U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, with support from EARN. Learn more about FEED.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
April 9, 2019, 2:00 p.m. ET
Webcast: Specialisterne: Autism @ Work
This webcast, hosted by the Job Accommodation Network, will feature V. R. Ferose, Senior Vice President and Head of Globalization Services at SAP, who will speak about his company’s Autism @ Work program implemented in collaboration with nonprofit social enterprise Specialisterne. Register for the April 9 webcast.
April 16, 2019, 2:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: Ask the EEOC: Open Question and Answer
In this Great Lakes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center webinar, employers will have the opportunity to ask questions – and hear answers to others’ questions – about the ADA’s employment provisions from a representative from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Questions can be submitted in advance as well as live. Register for the April 16 webinar.
May 21, 2019, 1:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: Data Driven Inclusion – Findings from the 2019 Disability Employment Tracker™
This National Organization on Disability (NOD) webinar will provide a first look at the results from the 2019 Disability Employment Tracker™, NOD’s free and confidential benchmarking survey. In this context, the webinar will address emerging trends in disability employment practices and how this year’s findings compare to those of previous years. Register for the May 21 webinar.
E-commerce giant Amazon has partnered with the Northwest Center, a Seattle-based disability-services nonprofit, on some level since 2002. Over the past two years, the partnership has evolved into a broader hiring initiative resulting in several hundred people with disabilities being hired by the company across nine states. The key to success has been alignment of skills training to workforce needs.
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 AskEARN.org
Preparation of this item was fully funded by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy in the amount of $9,241,750 (five year total grant amount) under Cooperative Agreement No. OD26451-14-75-4-36. 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.