The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is beginning a new feature this month called Spotlight. In this section of the newsletter, EARN will recognize 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.
In honor of Veterans Day this month, we salute Qualcomm for their commitment to providing employment opportunities to those who serve our country.
QUALCOMM: SUCCESSFULLY TRANSITIONING WOUNDED AND INJURED MILITARY TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT
At Qualcomm, employees are the most valued asset. Qualcomm’s commitment to the inclusion of all people, including veterans with disabilities, in equal access to opportunities starts with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Paul E. Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs’ personal statement sets the tone for Qualcomm’s corporate culture: “We are committed to continuing to reach out to veterans and it’s not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because they are among the best and the brightest, most committed people in America’s workforce. They are the kind of people that we want to have on our team.”
Qualcomm’s Wounded Warrior Project is just one example of the company’s commitment to welcoming home our military heroes. Qualcomm recognizes that transitioning wounded and injured military is not just about employment, but includes equipping the Wounded Warriors the opportunity to gain workplace experience, giving access to professionals in their field of expertise, and providing an environment that is supportive to their recuperation process. Over the course of eleven weeks, Qualcomm partnered with the Navy Military base and developed a corporate assimilation program, inviting 10 active-duty injured military persons to be paired with mentors who were military veterans. During the program each Warrior was hired as a temporary employee and received technical skills training, professional development guidance, and participated in employment and hiring workshops. Weekly meetings were held with mentors to review accomplishments and provide feedback and training opportunities. Additionally, in line with the Qualcomm culture, opportunities were provided where the Warriors were encouraged to participate in community service and team building events.
Two participants received job offers and left the program early, one left the program due to medical needs, and four are currently interviewing at Qualcomm. The remaining three participants left the program with practical work experience, a professional resume, improved interviewing skills and confidence in their ability to conduct their career search and be successful in a civilian job. Based on the success of the model, Qualcomm will be offering the program twice a year. In the fall of 2011, participation will double to include 20 wounded warriors.
AMC ENTERTAINMENT HONORED AS LEAD EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR BY USBLN
At the USBLN annual conference held in Louisville, KY in October, AMC Entertainment, Inc. was selected as employer of the year. AMC created a new national employment outreach program, FOCUS (Furthering Opportunities, Cultivating Untapped Strengths), which is designed to encourage and facilitate the hiring of people with disabilities at AMC Theatres. The program, which has gone from one participating theatre to more than 70 in just a few months, continues to grow and has helped move the company well beyond compliance, more than doubling the number of people with disabilities in its employ. To read more, click here.
HIRING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: WHAT YOU CAN DO
According to John Robinson, president of Our Ability, an organization that connects and inspires people with disabilities to achieve their education and employment dreams, the Our Ability website will be posting videos and stories of people with disabilities over the next few months. The profiles will highlight people succeeding in their quest to live the life they desire and provide examples of what we can all accomplish by working together to support employment and education for all. To read more about this effort, click here.
AIR FORCE EMPLOYMENT FOCUSES ON INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
Air Force hiring officials have placed increased emphasis on employing individuals with disabilities within its civilian workforce and plans to focus on efforts in recruiting for positions at all levels, providing opportunities for students with disabilities, educating supervisors, improving retention rates, and identifying and eliminating barriers to employment. “We need to inform leaders that employees with disabilities make good, reliable workers,” said Barbara Barger, the deputy director for Force Development, and senior lead on the working group to implement the Air Force plan. To read more, click here.
Last month, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) hosted four 30-minute webinars in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The brief webinars are archived and available for viewing at www.askearn.org, or byclicking here.
*In October 2011, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 28.2% for persons with disabilities compared with 69.9% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 41.7%, not seasonally adjusted.
RETURNING VETERANS UNARMED FOR JOB SEARCHES
Veterans’ advocates insist that more needs to be done to transition service members back into civilian life. Many veterans face long odds in finding employment and have trouble translating their experience into work skills. “Many military members don’t do a good job of explaining what they did,” said Lisa Rosser, an Army vet and author of The Value of a Veteran. On the other hand, she notes, employers need to be more open to the idea that hiring veterans pays tremendous benefits. To read more, click here.
PRESIDENT HIGHLIGHTS PLAN TO HIRE VETERANS, AID STATES IN JOBS PLAN
Last month in Virginia, President Obama said a group of 270 companies has pledged to hire 25,000 military veterans and spouses by the end of 2013. The President said that more needs to be done beyond the commitments by businesses to hire veterans. Included in his proposal was a measure giving companies tax credits of $2,400 to $9,600 to hire veterans who’ve been unemployed for more than six months or are disabled. Click here to read more.
ODEP OFFERS RESOURCES FOR VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES
SHRM, PRIVATE SECTOR, VETERANS COMMITTEE DISCUSS CHALLENGES OF GETTING VETERANS BACK TO WORK
In September, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) was invited to Capitol Hill for a Veterans Employment Summit, along with nearly 30 private-sector companies to discuss the challenges employers face in finding and hiring returning U.S. military personnel for civilian jobs. Click here to read more.
NEW RESOURCE CALCULATES ROI OF HIRING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Think Beyond the Label, a public-private partnership that works to increase employment for people with disabilities, launched a tool in September that can calculate the tangible monetary incentives that can accumulate each time an organization hires someone with a disability. The tool, called Hire Gauge, compiles and explains eligibility for tax credits, including the $2,400 Federal Work Opportunities Tax Credit; the $5,000 Disabled Access Credit for businesses with fewer than 30 employees or under $1 million in annual revenues; the $15,000 Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction to cover expenses incurred to remove physical, structural or transportation barriers; deductions for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities; and more. To learn more, click here.
CORNELL DOCUMENTARY SHOWS INTERPLAY OF DISABILITY ISSUES
A 30-minute documentary film produced by Cornell’s Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) premiered October 30th on central New York’s public broadcasting station WCNY-DT. The film, titled “What Works?” shows how EDI’s Model Transition Program studies the interplay between schools, communities, businesses and students with disabilities and highlights the discovery of patterns and activities that lead to a successful transition to employment for youth with disabilities. To read more, click here.
INTEGRATING ABSENCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS HELPS REDUCE COSTS AND IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY
A recent analysis conducted by Aetna shows that an integrated approach to managing leave and disability claims helps employees return to work faster and helps reduce absence-related productivity costs. Integrating disability and leave of absence claims through one channel helps members focus on what’s important — getting better and preventing lost wages. To read more, click here.
DOL AWARDS $21 MILLION IN DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE
The U.S. Department of Labor announced on September 27 that it was awarding $21,166,560 to seven states under the Disability Employment Initiative to improve education, training and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. To read more about this initiative, click here.
EARN is funded by the
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy
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