The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) monthly newsletter has a new feature called Spotlight. In this section, 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 Lockheed Martin for taking a direct, common-sense approach in accommodating and retaining a valued employee with a disability.
LOCKHEED MARTIN: SMALL INVESTMENT YIELDS BIG GAINS
Some time ago, Frank Lombardi thought his career at Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMC) was over. A progressively debilitating neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) was starting to negatively affect his ability to perform certain physical tasks in his 13-year role as a senior-level security professional. As his condition progressed and Frank considered all his options, he figured early retirement was his only choice. “When I went to my Regional Recruiting Center (RRC) manager and said ‘I think I’m going to have to retire,’ he said ‘What would it take to keep you here?’ Those were some of the best words I had ever heard.”
The RRC Operations Manager worked within the company to purchase a scooter to help keep Frank off his feet while he continued to perform. Lockheed Martin also provided Frank a special mouse for his desktop, reconfigured his desk to ensure he could park his scooter at the table where he does interviews, and gave him a headset to help conduct telephone interviews. The Operations Manager states, “The ‘fix’ to enable Frank to remain a productive employee was easy, and to me, didn’t really amount to any specific accommodation — just the right, common-sense thing to do.” Frank points to his conversation with the Operations Manager as a major turning point in his life, both professionally and personally.
Lockheed Martin Corporate policy requires leaders to provide reasonable accommodations or workplace modifications to employees who need assistance due to a disability or impairment. Frank believes the policy simply formalizes and reinforces an attitude that many Lockheed Martin leaders and employees already hold.
DIVERSITY INC NAMES TOP 10 COMPANIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list was announced April 24 at their event in New York. The list included companies from a wide range of industries, including consulting, retail, manufacturing and banking. Special congratulations go to the top ten companies for people with disabilities, seven of which are members of the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN): Ernst & Young, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Merck & Co., Sodexo, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Prudential Financial, KPMG, Rockwell Collins, and AT&T. The full list can be found at www.DiversityInc.com/top50.
2012 NATIONAL DISABILITY MONTH AWARENESS THEME ANNOUNCED
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez unveiled the official theme of the October 2012 National Disability Employment Awareness Month: A Strong Workforce Is An Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do? The theme, Martinez said, “promotes the benefit of an inclusive workforce that includes the talents of those of us with disabilities.” This year’s theme is tied to ODEP’s Campaign for Disability Employment, and the early announcement of the theme is intended to give stakeholders nationwide an opportunity to plan events that showcase inclusive workforces. To read the news release, click here.
NEW LAW PROTECTS UNEMPLOYED APPLICANTS
The Unemployed Anti-Discrimination Act of 2012, the first law in the nation prohibiting discrimination against job applicants who are unemployed, was signed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray on March 19, 2012. The new law makes it illegal for all employers and employment agencies in the District of Columbia to consider the unemployed status of an applicant in employment and hiring decisions. The new law also bars employers and employment agencies from indicating in an advertisement for a job vacancy that unemployed individuals are disqualified for the position. The Unemployed Anti-Discrimination Act goes into effect this month. Click here to read more.
DELL ANNOUNCED AS DIVERSITY INC’S TOP COMPANY FOR RESOURCE GROUPS IN 2012
Dell continues to make substantial progress in creating an inclusive workplace. The company has dramatically increased the utilization of its resource groups this year and will be honored as DiversityInc’s Top Company for Resource Groups at special awards dinner in October in New York City. Dell now has seven global groups, three of which have formal chapters outside of the United States: WISE (Women in Search of Excellence), PRIDE (for the LGBT population) and TrueAbility (for employees or family members of people with disabilities). Click here to read more.
DOL ANNOUNCES THE AVAILABILITY OF $20 MILLION IN GRANTS THROUGH DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE
The U.S. Department of Labor on April 16 announced the availability of approximately $20 million in grants to fund cooperative agreements that will improve educational, training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. These grants represent the third round of funding through the Disability Employment Initiative, a joint program of the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration and its Office of Disability Employment Policy. Grants will be awarded to state workforce agencies, which will collaborate with local workforce investment boards. Click here to read more.
*In April 2012, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 26.9% for persons with disabilities compared with 70.2% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 43.3%, not seasonally adjusted.
ALLIANCE AGREEMENT PROMOTES THE HIRING OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES BY FEDERAL CONTRACTORS
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez and National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) Chair Valerie J. Vickers signed an alliance agreement to promote the hiring of individuals with disabilities by the federal contractor community. NILG, an employer association representing federal contractors across the United States, signed the agreement with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to promote effective disability employment practices among all members. “Together we can build workplace equality that includes those of us with disabilities,” said Martinez. Click here to read more.
AGREEMENT SUPPORTS INCREASED HIRING OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES IN HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY
An alliance agreement supporting increased hiring of individuals with disabilities in the health care industry was signed May 7 by Kathleen Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy (ODEP), and Beth Marks, president of the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND). The alliance is an outcome of ODEP’s Health Care Summit held in Chicago last year. Click here to read more.
HIRE A HERO, ENJOY THE BENEFITS
Although the work opportunity tax credit expired at the end of 2011 for other targeted hiring groups, Congress extended and expanded it for qualified military veterans hired after Nov. 21, 2011, and before Dec. 31, 2012. A qualified veteran eligible for the wounded warrior credit is one who is entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability. The highest maximum credit amount, $9,600, is available for hiring a wounded warrior who has been unemployed for periods aggregating at least six months in the one-year period ending on the hiring date. The maximum credit for hiring a veteran with a service-connected disability without regard to periods of unemployment is $4,800. Click here for more information.
SHRM MEMBERS TESTIFY ON KEEPING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN THE WORKFORCE
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members Karen A. Amato and Christine V. Walters appeared before a U.S. Senate committee hearing in March to share ideas and best practices from the private sector on helping people with disabilities remain on the job or return to the workforce. According to committee chair Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), while the unemployment rate for the general public has decreased betweem February 2011 and February 2012, the rate for people with disabilities during the same time period has risen from 15.4 percent to 15.8 percent . Click here to read more.
POLL FINDS MOST COMPANIES SEEK TO HIRE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
A new survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Cornell University ILR School Employment and Disability Institute finds that hiring professionals at most companies are taking steps to recruit workers with disabilities. According to the poll, nearly two-thirds of the 662 human resources staff surveyed said that their companies include disability in their diversity plans and train staff on how to interview people with various impairments. Click here to read more.
EEOC MAKES STATE CHARGE DATA AVAILABLE ONLINE
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on May 14 announced the availability of private sector workplace discrimination charge statistics for each of the nation’s 50 states and U.S. Territories for fiscal years 2009-2011. These data provide a look at EEOC charge receipts, broken down by the basis of discrimination, as well as the percent of total state and national charges. To review the data by state, click here.
ON THE ROAD WITH KATHLEEN MARTINEZ
A large part of Kathleen Martinez’s job is connecting with stakeholders, and early April was no exception. The assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy spoke to audiences from coast to coast, starting in Redmond, Washington where she met with members of Microsoft’s Cross-Disability Employee Resource Group to discuss the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Accessible Technology in the Workplace initiative. She then traveled to Chantilly, Va., where she spoke with employees of federal contractor CACI about the important role people with disabilities play in corporate diversity and inclusion. Finally, she visited San Antonio, Texas, where she delivered a plenary speech at the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Industry Liaison Group’s regional conference. “Engaging with a broad array of our constituents is absolutely critical to advancing our mission to increase employment opportunities for all Americans, including those of us with disabilities,” said Martinez. Click here to view the slideshow.
EARN is funded by the
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy