In this Issue: Federal Employment, WRP Success Stories, and More!
EARN IN ACTION
Federal Implementation Tool
A new resource from EARN, titled The Relationship between Federal Agency Disability Practices and Employee Outcomes, describes three “practice clusters” that relate to improved disability inclusion or employment within a federal agency: 1) sufficient staffing and budget for equal employment opportunity (EEO) programs, 2) trend analysis, and 3) direct supervision of EEO director by the agency head. The tool is based on a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability. Access the publication.
On February 8, 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 first Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED) meeting of 2021. Meeting participants heard from the researchers who developed EARN’s new resource for federal agencies (see previous article) as well as a representative from PepsiCo about the company’s self-identification campaign and how it might work at federal agencies. Learn more about FEED.
WRP Success Stories
Two new profiles on the EARN website share the experiences of individuals whose careers were launched with the help of the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP). Managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense, the WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private employers with highly qualified college students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking internships or permanent employment. Read the success stories (Aiyana Bankston and Anh Hua) or learn more about the WRP.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE NEWS
ODEP 20th Anniversary
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) as a sub-cabinet level within the U.S. Department of Labor. In celebration, ODEP is conducting a range of activities throughout 2021 to explore the impact of its work and reaffirm its commitment to improving employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. These include a monthly blog series, the first of which explores the critical role of credible, consistent data to the agency’s work. Read the blog post or learn more about ODEP’s anniversary.
A new “MyJAN” feature on the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website allows users to organize and save frequently accessed resources, newsletter articles, accommodation solutions by disability, and more in one convenient location. It will also update automatically if URLs change. JAN is the leading source of expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations for people with disabilities. Like EARN, it is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Learn more about JAN or register for a MyJAN account.
Small Business at Work Toolkit
A new no-cost online resource from the Northeast ADA Center explores how small businesses can capitalize on the talents of workers and job seekers with disabilities and the bottom-line benefits of doing so. Based on a 2019 research study conducted by the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University, the Small Business at Work Toolkit features easy-to-understand, practical advice on disability employment best practices and expert guidance on Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read the news release or access the toolkit.
According to data gathered by SCORE—the nationwide network of volunteers that provide free mentoring, workshops, and educational services to entrepreneurs—small businesses that improve accessibility and provide accommodations for employees with disabilities experience significant benefits in the form of increased productivity, retention, and morale, as well as expanded market share. SCORE is a nonprofit organization funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Read about the study.
Q: I work for a federal agency and have responsibility for disability issues, including accommodations. A colleague in another agency recently told me about FEED. What is it, and can I join?
A: FEED, or the Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability, is an interagency working group focused on sharing best practices to make the Federal Government a model employer of people with disabilities—and yes, you can join! Membership is open to federal employees at any level whose job duties involve the inclusion of people with disabilities, including recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
March 5, 2021
Deadline: Disability Employment Tracker
The 2021 Disability Employment Tracker™ assessment is still available. Sponsored by the National Organization on Disability (NOD), this tool provides companies a confidential assessment of their disability inclusion policies and practices. Completion is required to qualify for the 2021 NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal and the 2021 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Learn about the Tracker.
March 11, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: Mental Health and Wellness in the Workplace
This EARN webinar will explore steps employers can take to foster a workplace culture that supports workers’ mental health, during COVID-19 and at all times. Speakers include Nakisha Pugh, Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, and Diana Gulick, Associate Director of Benefits and Wellbeing at Merck. Register for the March 11 webinar.
JP Morgan Chase
A recent HR Magazine article explored how a confluence of technology advances and attitude change is opening doors to employment for people with disabilities, with a spotlight on JPMorgan Chase’s efforts to become an “employer of choice.” According to the company’s Head of Disability Inclusion, Jim Sinocchi, it’s simply smart business. “As a bank, we want to make financial services available to all customers, including people with disabilities and their families,” he said. “When people see a company that reflects themselves, they’re more likely to purchase goods and services from that company.”
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 K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Disability and Employment. 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 $8,000,000 (four-year total grant amount) under Cooperative Agreement No. OD-33975-19-75-4-36. 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.