January is National Mentoring Month, and EARN has resources to help employers develop strategies for recruitment, hiring, and staff development, including Federal and Private Mentoring Primers that provide both basic guidance and specific strategies for implementing new mentoring programs or improving existing ones. Employers should also consider participating in Disability Mentoring Day, a nationwide effort to promote career development for students with disabilities through hands-on career exploration. Disability Mentoring Day is a program of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
This month EARN spotlights the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a free recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer internships or permanent jobs.
THE WORKFORCE RECRUITMENT PROGRAM: CONNECT TO CULTIVATE
The 2014 Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) database, released last month, contains 1396 pre-screened candidates, including 93 veterans, recruited from 285 colleges and universities across the country. Managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Diversity Management & Equal Opportunity (ODMEO), over 6500 students and graduates have secured summer internships and permanent positions through the program. Federal agencies may search for WRP candidates at www.wrp.gov. For private employers, EARN staff will source candidates directly.
WRP career interests include:
207 Computer Science
152 Human Resources
155 Marketing and Communications
Attention non-federal employers: Look for a new WRP website for the private sector to be launched in the coming weeks! The new jobs portal will feature resources through which private businesses can identify qualified college students for internships and recent graduates for permanent positions. WRP candidates can search and apply for posted positions that are linked to registered employer‘s online applications. Only pre-screened WRP students will have access to postings. The new site is a collaboration between EARN and DirectEmployers, a non-profit consortium of global employers.
The number of federal workers with disabilities reached its highest level in more than three decades, according to a new report from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released on December 20. The nation’s largest employer added 16,653 new employees with disabilities during the 2012 fiscal year, bringing the total to nearly 220,000, the highest number of people with disabilities employed by the government at any time in the last 32 years. Click here to read more. Read EARN’s guide on effective hiring practices for federal employers.
CAREER MENTORING YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES AS A BUSINESS STRATEGY
US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN) companies recognize that the “gold standard” of disability-inclusive hiring starts with building the talent pipeline through effective partnerships. While internships have long been recognized as an essential strategy in this regard, since Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) was launched as a White House Initiative back in 1999, mentoring youth with disabilities has also gained prominence. Today, DMD is hosted annually by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and celebrated on the third Wednesday of each October. Many USBLN companies regularly participate in DMD. Read the blog: Career Mentoring Youth with Disabilities as a Business Strategy.
EEOC AND OSC RENEW AGREEMENT ENFORCING FEDERAL SECTOR EEO LAWS
Jacqueline Berrien, chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Carolyn Lerner, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance efficiency and enforcement of federal sector equal employment opportunity laws. Click here to read more.
ED ROBERTS, “FATHER OF THE DISABILITY RIGHTS MOVEMENT” CELEBRATED ON JANUARY 23
Ed Roberts (January 23, 1939-March 14, 1995) was the first student with severe disabilities to attend the University of California, Berkeley. A pioneering leader of the disability rights movement, Roberts became the head of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living (CIL), the first independent living service and advocacy program run by and for people with disabilities. Later, Roberts cofounded the World Institute on Disability. Click here to read more on the life of Ed Roberts.
EARN ARTICLE FEATURED IN ABILITY MAGAZINE ADDRESSES NEW SECTION 503 AND VEVRAA REGULATIONS
In a recent issue of Ability Magazine, EARN staff address the OFCCP’s changes in the regulations pertaining to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). With the effective date of the new rules just two months away, employers should be making preparations such as reviewing personnel policies and processes, updating outreach and recruitment strategies, job requirements, and accommodation practices. Click here to read the article.
*In December 2013, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 25.2% 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 45.7%, not seasonally adjusted.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced that the “Moving Toward Compliance” webinar series will continue January 16 with the topic “Creating 503 AAP.” The webinar series supports federal contractor compliance with the new Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and will focus on data collection, affirmative action program development, and outreach and recruitment requirements under the new regulations. Click for more information and to register.
OFCCP ANSWERS QUESTIONS SURROUNDING COMPLIANCE
In a public webinar and new FAQs released last month, OFCCP answered questions related to compliance with obligations set forth in Subpart C of the Agency’s new Veterans and Disability regulations. OFCCP sought to clarify what has been widespread confusion about the timing of required compliance with the data collection aspects of these new regulations. Click here to read more.
NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR MORE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has released its 2013 Compendium on Disability Statistics. The report shows that people with disabilities are still much less likely to have jobs than people who don’t have disabilities. Only about 33 percent of people with disabilities are employed, compared to nearly 74 percent of people without disabilities. The disability compendium is funded by the Department of Education to the University of New Hampshire. Download the full report.
KESSLER FOUNDATION GRANTS TO HELP INCREASE EMPLOYMENT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Each year, the Kessler Foundation awards its Signature Employment Grants. These grants support new programs and projects that help remove barriers to employment among people with disabilities. Tax-exempt organizations such as nonprofit associations; public and private schools; universities; and federal, state, and local government agencies may apply. Click here for more information.
DOL SECRETARY PEREZ ADDRESSES HIRING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Tom Perez, discussed expectations for hiring people with disabilities in the new year. As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government has a responsibility to be a model in this area. “Currently, only one in five people with disabilities are participating in the U.S. labor force at all,” writes Perez. “That’s not acceptable.” Click here to read more.
FORTY-FOUR MILLION AMERICANS EXPERIENCED MENTAL ILLNESS IN 2012
A survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds that nearly one in five American adults experienced mental illness in 2012. The survey also shows that 2.2 million young people ages 12 to 17 experienced mental illness in 2012. SAMHSA has announced $31 million in funding to help improve mental health services for young people. Click here to read more.
TO EASE TRANSITION, ADULTS WITH AUTISM LOOK TO DOGS
A new Dog Alliance program in Austin, Texas, aims to prepare young adults with autism for careers by using dogs to teach students what they need to know to land and hold down jobs. Dogs are often easier for people with autism to work with because they are easier to read than people and tend to be more forgiving. Click here to read more.
EARN is funded by the
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy