In this section of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network monthly newsletter, EARN recognizes employers’ 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. This month, EARN spotlights AT&T for committing to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities through its CapAbility Program.
AT&T’S CAPABILITY PROGRAM PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUCCESS
AT&T has long been recognized as a leader in its commitment to diversity. That commitment is on full display with AT&T’s landmark CapAbility program. The CapAbility program provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities and places them in positions that help them – and the company – succeed.
The idea for CapAbility originated with Steve McGaw, AT&T Senior Vice President–Corporate Strategy. McGaw has a son with a disability, and he became interested in how other companies approach hiring and supporting people with disabilities. “I ran into a program developed by Walgreens that they implemented at their distribution centers,” McGaw said. “I learned that many of their disabled employees were actually ideally suited for specific jobs and could excel if given the right opportunity. “I was told that the program has had a cohesive effect with surrounding employees, who have embraced their disabled coworkers as key members of the team,” he said. “In fact, 40 percent of the employees at Walgreen’s best-performing distribution center have some form of disability.”
When McGaw shared this concept with Scott Smith, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, and Gerry Vanderwel, Assistant Vice President of Logistics and Fleet Operations, they were eager to implement something similar at AT&T. McGaw and Vanderwel worked with Goodwill Industries and Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Services to develop a training program that included work stations that mirrored those at AT&T’s Memphis Distribution Center, where employees perform warehouse and logistics functions.
In the second quarter of 2011, Project CapAbility was officially launched in the Memphis Distribution Center. By the time candidates completed training and came to the center, they already had experience with the jobs they would perform. “We had to ensure that the selection process for these employees met our company standards, and those of our union partner, the Communications Workers of America,” explained Vanderwel. “In doing so, we’ve validated what others have found: that our business goals are not compromised by the human dimension of this program. Our experience is that not only has productivity improved, but everyone’s grown in understanding the potential of our new employees and how everyone can contribute to society.”
AT&T also expanded the program to a distribution center in the Dallas area during the fourth quarter of 2011, and similar programs are being implemented within other departments and among AT&T service vendors.
How do you hire, train, retain and develop productive, engaged employees and make the new unit cost effective? Facing these HR challenges, Gitanjali Gems of India determined to hire employees with disabilities to reach their objectives. The company ultimately won the best employer award in the nation for its inclusivity efforts.
Click here to read more.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN THE WORKPLACE
Under the DOL-funded Disability Employment Initiative’s (DEI) VA project, the Arlington/Alexandria Workforce Investment Board has produced a 5-minute video on “Universal Design in the Workplace.” This video highlights a variety of assistive technology in the workplace for persons with various disabilities. It also discusses the Return on Investment (ROI) and the value to the business sector. Click here to watch the video.
INNOVATORS IN ACCESSIBILITY COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES TO BE HONORED
Eight projects representing significant innovation in communications technology benefitting people with disabilities will receive the FCC’s Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility, presented by Chairman Julius Genachowski during a ceremony at 2 pm on December 19 at FCC headquarters. The awards will be presented for the development of mainstream or assistive technologies, the development of standards, and the implementation of best practices that foster accessibility and focus on six categories: Consumer Empowerment Information; Mobile Applications; Civic Participation Solutions; Education: College or University; Video Programming; and Geo-Location Solutions. In addition to the winners in these categories, two honorable mentions will also be recognized. Click here for more information.
WORKPLACE WARRIORS: EMPLOYERS STILL UNPREPARED TO INTEGRATE VETERANS
Civilian soldiers and full-time military are returning to face an uncertain economic climate and a tight labor market for all workers. The Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) last month issued a report exploring how prepared employers were to provide job opportunities to these civilian soldiers. “Workplace Warriors Revisited: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons Learned from Deployment and Reintegration of Citizen Soldiers” examines the gains made since 2007 when DMEC’s Workplace Warrior Think Tank was established to respond to the needs of citizen soldiers before, during, and after deployment.
Click here to read the report.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY MARTINEZ ATTENDS EMPLOYMENT FIRST INITIATIVE COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
On November 27, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez addressed 75 representatives from 20 states at a meeting of the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program Community of Practice in Long Beach, CA. Ms. Martinez emphasized the importance of improving the employment outcomes of youth and adults with significant disabilities. Click here to read more.
EARN TA LINE WINTER HOLIDAY CLOSING SCHEDULE
In recognition of the winter holidays, the Employer Assistance and Resource Center technical assistance line will be closed o beginning at 5:00pm on Friday, December 21 and will reopen at 8:30am EST on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. Our resources will remain available 24/7 online at www.AskEARN.org. The staff at EARN wishes you and yours a happy holiday season!
*In November 2012, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 27.4% for persons with disabilities compared with 70.9% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 43.5%, not seasonally adjusted.
WRP DATABASE OF READY-FOR-HIRE CANDIDATES NOW AVAILABLE TO EMPLOYERS
The 2013 Workforce Recruitment Program database, a recruitment resource for employers seeking a diverse workforce that includes employees with disabilities, was launched on December 5 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity. The database contains profiles of postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities, including veterans, representing a wide variety of academic backgrounds and degree levels.
EARN PARTNERSHIP WITH ADA CENTERS EXPANDS SERVICES, RESOURCES
In an effort to promote the national dialogue on the employment and retention of individuals with disabilities, Employers on Employment of People with Disabilities has formed an alliance with the ADA National Network. This initiative was established to enable the expansion and co-promotion of resources, events and services. The goal of the collaboration is to support the recruitment, hiring, and retention of workers with disabilities.
Click here to read the press release.
SENATE FAILS TO RATIFY UN CONVENTION ON RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities declared that all citizens, regardless of ability, deserve to live in dignity, safety and equality under the law. If it had been voted through, the United States would have been added as a party to the convention. Despite the fact that the convention would not create any new rights that do not already exist under U.S. law and would not require changes to existing legislation, the bill failed to pass by a vote of 61-38. Click here to read more.
DECEMBER 3 PROCLAIMED INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
President Obama this month proclaimed December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities to reaffirm that the struggle to ensure the rights of every person does not end at our country’s borders, but extends to every country and every community. The day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.
The premiere national conference on the ADA is now open for online registration. The National ADA Symposium, scheduled for May 12-15, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas, is a comprehensive conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act designed to provide practical, useful information on ADA implementation. Click here for more information and to register.
JAN ANNOUNCES FEDERAL EMPLOYER WEBCAST SERIES
JAN will provide three free 1.5 hour Webcast sessions in 2013. The three part series will cover medical inquiries in Federal sector hiring and employment, reasonable accommodation, and best practices. JAN Webcasts are available at no cost. Educate yourself, management, and other employees on disability etiquette, assistive technologies, management techniques, and the latest on accommodations and the employment provisions of the Rehabilitation Act. All Webcasts begin at 2 pm eastern and continue for 1.5 hours. You must register to attend. Click here for more information.
CAREERCAST.COM REPORTS BEST JOBS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
According to Tony Lee, publisher at CareerCast.com, healthcare employers offer better access to careers for people with disabilities than any other industry, with pharmaceutical sales, pharmacy technician, and physician assistant positions taking the lead. Click here to read the report.
EARN is funded by the
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy