In this Issue: Service Animals, Artificial Intelligence & More
EARN IN ACTION
Once, the term “service animal” was associated only with guide dogs for people who are blind. Today, it incorporates a wider range of both types of animals and the services they perform. Also, there is another group of animals, “emotional support animals,” that provide comfort to their owners, but are not trained to perform any specific job or task. A new EARN fact sheet offers guidance on how to support employees who use service or emotional support animals in the workplace. Although targeted at federal employers, it may be useful to any employer interested in learning more about this topic. Access the fact sheet.
Today, use of artificial intelligence (AI) by employers is becoming increasingly common, including to screen applicants, streamline the application process, provide training, and otherwise facilitate hiring and employment. But employers must ensure it does not inadvertently hinder efforts to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities. To help, EARN developed a policy brief providing a roadmap for businesses interested in designing, procuring and using AI to benefit, and not discriminate against, qualified individuals with disabilities. Access the policy brief.
Exploring Communication Access for Federal Employees Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
On June 13, EARN, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, hosted the Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED) quarterly meeting. The discussion topic was communication access for federal employees who are deaf or hard of hearing. FEED is an interagency working group focused on increasing disability representation in the federal workforce. Any federal employee committed to inclusive hiring and retention is encouraged to join. Learn how to join FEED.
Helping Employers Understand What They CAN Do to Foster a Disability-Inclusive Workplace
Last month, EARN was pleased to be featured on the Campaign for Disability Employment’s blog, where it shared the many ways it assists employers in fostering a disability-inclusive workplace and some of its newest resources supporting this goal. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the CDE is a collaborative of several leading disability and business organizations committed to changing attitudes about disability and employment; EARN is pleased to be a member. Read the blog post or visit the main CDE website.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE NEWS
Honoring Excellence in Disability Inclusion
The U.S. Department of Labor has launched the Excellence in Disability Inclusion (EDI) Awards to honor federal contractors that excel in meeting their responsibilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and exemplify the spirit of disability inclusion. The EDI Awards will comprise two levels of recognition. Up to four (two large and two small) federal contractors will receive a “Gold Award” and a three-year moratorium on Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs compliance evaluations. Up to 20 additional contractors will be recognized as “Pacesetters.” Nominations are due August 31, 2019. Learn more about the EDI Awards.
NDEAM 2019: “The Right Talent, Right Now”
This year’s official National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme will be “The Right Talent, Right Now,” the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced recently. Observed each October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign that celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities throughout America’s history. This year’s theme is meant to emphasize the essential role that people with disabilities play in America’s economic success, especially in an era when historically low unemployment and global competition are creating a high demand for skilled talent, DOL said in announcing the theme. Learn more about NDEAM and how your organization can take part.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would establish a process for development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs. It also announced recent awards and future funding to support the development and expansion of apprenticeship programs for educational institutions in partnership with companies. Through a variety of initiatives, DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) works to ensure disability inclusion in apprenticeship programs. Read the announcement or learn about ODEP’s apprenticeship efforts.
Q: We’ve heard that this month is the anniversary of the ADA and want to use the opportunity to educate our staff about it. Do you have information to help?
You are right, and yes! This month, July 26 to be exact, marks 29 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation that works to open doors of opportunity for millions of Americans with disabilities—including in the workplace. You can find information about employer responsibilities under the ADA on EARN’s ADA webpage. Depending on the nature of the training you are planning, you may also want to incorporate information from one or more Equal Employment Opportunity Commission resources.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
July 23, 2019, 2:30 p.m. ET
Webinar: The ADA, Employment and Disclosure
This webinar, sponsored by the Southeast ADA Center, Georgia Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) and the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE), will address disclosure in the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is one in a series of eight webinars on “Advancing Equal Employment Opportunities and Creating Inclusive Workplaces” being held throughout 2019-2020. Register for the July 23 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.
CBS Entertainment recently signed a pledge to work to increase inclusion of people with disabilities in the entertainment industry. The company is the first to respond to a disability advocacy organization’s call to commit to auditioning actors with disabilities for every new production. The pledge commits CBS to doing so for each of its new projects that gets a series pickup.
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.