In this Issue: Disability Equality Index (DEI) Results, Excellence in Disability Inclusion (EDI) Awards & More
EARN IN ACTION
Today, more and more businesses are recognizing the value of a workforce inclusive of people with disabilities and taking steps to bring them on board. Human Resource, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Diversity and Inclusion professionals can use a variety of innovative practices to help in this regard, including affirmative action programs that beneﬁt individuals with disabilities. A new EARN policy brief describes key elements of such programs, examples of how employers have implemented them, and the legal context that permits them to do so. Read Taking Disability Into Account: Proactive Recruitment and Hiring Practices.
Members of the EARN team were recently in Chicago for Disability:IN’s annual conference, where they presented a workshop on disability etiquette and hosted the quarterly meeting of the “Circle,” a group of companies recognized for their commitment to disability inclusion. During the meeting, Circle members discussed issues related to employment of people with disabilities and participated in breakout sessions on different components of EARN’s Inclusion@Work framework. While at the conference, EARN also exhibited alongside other Office of Disability Employment Policy-funded initiatives. Learn more about Disability:IN.
Spotlight on Mental Health
EARN was pleased to contribute an article to the July issue of The OFCCP Digest. In the article, EARN’s National Project Director Brett Sheats explores the benefits of mental health initiatives in federal contractor workplaces and highlights EARN’s employer framework for fostering a mental health-friendly work culture. The framework centers on four pillars referred to as the “4 A’s”—awareness, accommodations, assistance and access. The OFCCP Digest is a publication of LocalJobNetwork™. Read the article or learn more about the “4 A’s of a Mental Health Friendly Workplace.”
The archived version of our latest webinar, “Being Tech Savvy: Procuring Accessible Information and Communications Technology,” is now available online. This webinar explored effective practices for procuring accessible information and communications technology, including how to develop strategic action plans for purchasing, maintenance and use. Presenters included Jeff Kline of the Texas Department of Information Resources, Corinne Weible of the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) and Jay Wyant of the Minnesota Office of the Chief Information Officer. Access the webinar.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE NEWS
State Disability Employment Data
Recently, Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella sent letters to America’s governors encouraging them to collect data on the numbers of state employees with disabilities, which currently only a few state governments do. He also encouraged governors to make use of the State Exchange on Employment and Disability, an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, for policy assistance, resources and subject-matter expertise on various disability employment issues. Read about the letters.
Late last month, people across the nation marked the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in a variety of ways, including formal statements from business and community leaders. Among these voices was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Jennifer Sheehy, who penned a post on the U.S. Department of Labor blog. “By ensuring the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment, the ADA helped renew our nation’s founding ideals,” Sheehy said. Read the blog post.
As October approaches, so does National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)—the nationwide campaign that celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities throughout America’s history. One of the most popular ways to take part in NDEAM is by downloading or ordering the official NDEAM poster, which is now available in both English and Spanish. Through images of diverse workers with disabilities, the poster’s design brings to life this year’s official theme, “The Right Talent, Right Now.” Download or order the poster or learn more about NDEAM.
Workplace Accommodation Toolkit
In honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) anniversary last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) highlighted a key compliance assistance resource, the Workplace Accommodations Toolkit. Developed by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), this toolkit helps employers and employees understand reasonable accommodations, which are key to the ADA’s employment provisions. It includes sample policies, templates and checklists, as well as training videos and access to thousands of specific accommodation ideas. Like EARN, JAN is funded by DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Learn more about the toolkit.
Q: What is the Excellence in Disability Inclusion Award and how can companies apply?
Great question – and timing! The new Excellence in Disability Inclusion (EDI) Awards were established by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Office of Disability Employment Policy to recognize federal contractors who go above and beyond to recruit, hire, retain and advance individuals with disabilities and exemplify the spirit of disability inclusion. Although there’s still time to apply, the deadline for nominations (August 31) is fast approaching. Learn more about the EDI Awards.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
August 29, 2019, 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: Leading the Way: Inclusive Business Culture
The foundation for a disability-inclusive work environment is an inclusive business culture, and this starts with commitment at the highest levels. This EARN webinar will explore strategies for fostering such a culture across an organization. Panelists including Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader at EY, and Kevin M. Fitzpatrick, Senior Compliance Manager for the Employment Law Team at Pepsico, will provide advice and expertise for organizations of any size on creating workplaces that are inclusive and welcoming to job seekers and employees with disabilities. Register for the webinar.
September 16, 2019
Deadline: Henry Viscardi Achievement Award Nominations
The Viscardi Center is currently accepting nominations for the 2019 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards. Named for the Center’s founder and a premier disability advocate, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., these awards honor leaders who carry on his legacy by improving quality of life for people with disabilities, including through employment. The deadline for nomination submissions is September 16, 2019. Learn more about the awards.
2019 Disability Equality Index Results
Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities recently released the results of the 2019 Disability Equality Index (DEI), an annual effort to gather information about best practices for disability inclusion across industries. This year, 156 companies received scores of 80 or above and thus are considered “DEI Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.” Registration for next year’s DEI is now underway. To participate, companies must register by January 31, 2020.
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.