This month, EARN spotlights the many facets of diversity. In addition to ethnic, racial, cultural, age, gender, sexual orientation, education, and socioeconomic classifications, diversity also includes people with disabilities. In fact, people with disabilities comprise the largest minority group in the U.S.
From the Seattle Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman, the NFL’s first deaf offensive player, to Danielle Sheypuk, psychologist and first fashion model to grace the catwalk in a wheelchair, we are reminded that disability can touch all of us.
Diversity was ultra-chic recently when Danielle Sheypuk, a 35-year old clinical psychologist who specializes on issues related to love and sex for individuals with disabilities, became the first model in a wheelchair to work the runway at New York Fashion Week. Sheypuk, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of 2, became interested in fashion after college and noticed that she never saw models with disabilities. “This wasn’t about getting a token model in a wheelchair—Danielle is a gorgeous role model who happens to be in a wheelchair,” said fashion designer Carrie Hammer. “Hopefully the industry will begin moving away from gaunt models and excessive airbrushing to real, powerful, diverse women.”
Incorporating disability into a company’s diversity policy is an important business strategy that employers can utilize to promote competitive advantage, provide high return on investment, and engage the largest minority group in the U.S.
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY TO HIRE MORE THAN 100K VETERANS IN NEXT 5 YEARS
A broad coalition of over 100 construction employers and associations has collectively pledged to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. According to First Lady Michelle Obama, “They made this commitment not just because it’s the patriotic thing to do, and not just because they want to repay our veterans for their service to our country, but because they know that it’s the smart thing to do for their business.” Read more here.
CORPORATE JOBS INITIATIVE MEETS VET HIRING GOAL
A group of companies that vowed in 2011 to hire 100,000 veterans within a decade has met its goal seven years early, announcing that 117,439 former service members have been provided jobs. The group, calling itself the 100,000 Jobs Mission, has now promised to double its target and employ 200,000 veterans by 2020, according to the announcement. Click here to read more.
TEMPORARY IMPAIRMENT MAY CONSTITUTE DISABILITY
The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently handed down the first appellate decision interpreting the definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). In Summers v. Altarum Institute, Corporation, the Fourth Circuit concluded that a temporary impairment, if severe, can constitute a disability, thereby signaling the Court’s willingness to expand the scope of coverage and create a new class of individuals with disabilities under the ADAAA. The Fourth Circuit’s decision may be the start of a growing body of case law outlining the expanded definition of disability under the ADA following its amendment. Click here to read more.
WEBINARS PROVIDE GUIDANCE ON RECENT FEDERAL POLICY
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, in collaboration with the Disability & Elderly Public Health Group within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, invite you to upcoming educational webinars for state policy-makers and disability policy stakeholders to discuss recent Federal policy guidance issued by CMS. The webinars will include a brief presentation by CMS followed by a highly interactive dialogue to address questions on the impact of these developments on state systems-change efforts related to improving integrated employment and community-based engagement of citizens with significant disabilities. Click here to read more.
CRPD PROGRESS REPORT DEMONSTRATES NEED FOR ACCESSIBLE TECHNOLOGY, PARTNERSHIPS
The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and Disabled People’s International (DPI) announce the release of a new report on benchmarking progress in making Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) accessible in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The report offers disability advocates, governments, civil society and international organizations monitoring the progress of the implementation of the CRPD by States Parties, unique benchmarks for country laws, policies, and programs pertaining to accessible and assistive ICTs. While noting progress, the report also documents significant deficits in promoting policies and programs to make essential services accessible to persons with disabilities around the world. Click here to read more.
*In January 2014, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 24.1% for persons with disabilities compared with 70.4% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 46.3%, not seasonally adjusted.
DOL TRAINING WEBINAR ON SECTION 503 AND VEVRAA
The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is offering a new training webinar on Section 503 and Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistant Act (VEVRAA) regulatory revisions. The next webinar is scheduled for March 6, 2014 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EST. Click for more information and to register.
UNUM AND DMEC OFFERING EDUCATION FORUMS ON DISABILITY MANAGEMENT
Unum and the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) are teaming up once again to offer a series of online educational forums for employers and industry professionals. The forums will focus on disability and absence management and cover relevant information including health and productivity programs, disability and absence management and updates on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Click here to read more.
FEBRUARY IS AMERICAN HEART MONTH: TAKING PREVENTIVE ACTION
THINK BEYOND THE LABEL ONLINE CAREER FAIR, MARCH 5th
Qualified job candidates with disabilities can connect directly to employers that are actively recruiting them. The Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fairs create a unique forum and experience to engage real time with employers who are ready to hire! People with disabilities and the businesses that employ them are leading, innovating and evolving the workforce. Click here for more information and to register.
GUIDE TO DISABILITY FOR HEALTHCARE INSURANCE MARKETPLACE NAVIGATORS
The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD), which recently launched its 12-month Affordable Care Act National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC) website, has published a free technical assistance guide. The “Guide to Disability for Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Navigators” will instruct navigators and other enrollment specialists about the special needs of people with disabilities who are shopping for health care insurance. Click here to download the free guide.
ADA NATIONAL NETWORK LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
The ADA National Network launched its new, user-friendly national website this week. The new website allows visitors to explore resources about the ADA by audience and topic, to learn about the services offered, locate their regional ADA Center, and access publications and FAQs. Visit the ADA’s new website at www.adata.org.
EARN is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy