Honoring Veterans with Disabilities Through Workplace Supports Being a disability-inclusive employer means welcoming the skills and talents of all qualified individuals with disabilities, whether they were born with them or acquire them later in life, due to age, illness or injury. This of course includes service-connected disabled veterans, who—like all veterans—are an incredible source of talent for employers across the nation. Observed November 11, Veterans Day is an opportune time to freshen up strategies for accommodating veterans with a range of disabilities, every day of the year. To help, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers several resources.
Discussing Workplace Inclusion Last week, leading voices for inclusion gathered in Boston for a summit focused on strategies for increasing the integration of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment. Sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation, the two-day event attracted about 500 participants. In his keynote address to attendees, retired Senator Tom Harkin, chief architect and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), encouraged employers to view disability in the context of diversity. “If we open the doors and get more people employed, we are all going to benefit,” he said.
JAN Issues Quarterly ENews The latest issue of the Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) quarterly newsletter was issued last week, providing information on a range of topics, from when an employer may proactively ask if an employee needs a reasonable accommodation, to disability disclosure in the workplace, to strategies for retaining aging workers. Like the Employer TA Center, JAN—the leading source for expert, confidential guidance on workplace accommodations for people with disabilities—is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Retaining Talent Through Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work Policies An archive of the Employer TA Center’s most recent webinar, Stay at Work and Return to Work: A Smart Strategy for Corporate Continuity, is now available. This webinar addressed a range of strategies employers can use to help valued employees stay at or return to work following onset of illness or disability, in turn reducing workers’ compensation costs and health-related absences while increasing productivity. One of the webinar’s panelists—Mathematica Policy Research’s Yonatan Ben-Shalom—also recently penned an op-ed on the topic for The Hill newspaper.
New Customer Service and Accessible Meetings Resources
November 17, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET
This webinar will introduce two new resources developed by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center focused on increasing the accessibility of businesses’ customer services processes and meetings and events, including conferences. The first is a training video focused on serving customers with disabilities, while the second is an online resource guide on planning accessible meetings and events, with tips on everything from site selection to audio-visual considerations to food service.
This webcast, part of the Job Accommodation Network’s 2015-2016 monthly series, will analyze challenging accommodations in order to distill the interactive process at their core. Examples may include the use of service/emotional support animals in the workplace, accommodations that impact other employees, alternative supervisory methods, telework, task reassignment, leave and more.
This event, part of the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology’s (PEAT) monthly “PEATtalks” virtual speaker series, will introduce TalentWorks, a new resource that can help employers ensure their online job applications and other e-recruiting tools are accessible to all qualified individuals, including those with disabilities. TalentWorks can benefit any employer, but may be of particular use to federal contractors in achieving their goals under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Recently, Work Without Limits (WWL)—a network of employers and community partners in Massachusetts working to increase the employment rate of state residents with disabilities—awarded the Boston Bruins its Exemplary Employer Award. The award was presented to Bob Sweeney, former player and current executive director of the Boston Bruins Foundation, at WWL’s conference on October 27. John Dunleavy, a team employee who has Down syndrome, was also honored.
Each Veterans Day, a grateful nation pays tribute to veterans of all ages who have served in the name of freedom. But to truly succeed on the home front, veterans, including those who have disabilities, need more than just a celebratory show of support; they need the opportunity to put their skills to work in the civilian workforce. To help employers understand how to effectively source veterans—and the benefits of doing so—read AskEARN.org’s “Recruiting Veterans” page.
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is a resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified employees with disabilities. It is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center), which 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 material was funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant No. [OD-26451-14-75-4-36]. 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.