In this Issue: NDEAM Wrap Up, Centralized Accommodation Programs, & More
EARN IN ACTION
Exploring Mental Health in the Workplace
On October 30, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia hosted his first public event, which closed out National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2019. The event focused on strategies for promoting mental health in the workplace and supporting workers with mental health conditions. The foundation for the discussion was EARN’s employer framework for a mental health-friendly workplace, known as the “4 A’s” – awareness, accommodations, assistance, and access. Also speaking were Deputy Secretary Patrick Pizzella and Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy, as well as experts and advocates. Read about the event or the “4 A’s.”
Increasing Disability Inclusion: CAPs as a Best Practice
Key to fostering a disability-inclusive workplace is establishing effective policies and processes for providing reasonable accommodations. A best practice in this regard is the creation of a centralized accommodation program (CAP), which consolidates in a single office or location the subject matter expertise necessary to assess, evaluate, and select effective and meaningful accommodations. A CAP may also consolidate funding for accommodations. A new resource from EARN explains CAPs in detail, including key decisions involved in designing them. Read Increasing Disability Inclusion: Centralized Accommodation Programs as a Best Practice (PDF).
Autism at Work Summit
Last month, EARN participated in the 2019 Autism at Work Summit held at the Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida. At the event, EARN team member Bobby Silverstein co-presented with Michael Murray of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy about strategies companies can use to take disability into account during the hiring and recruitment process via voluntarily adopted affirmative action programs. The presentation was based on a publication EARN published on the topic earlier this year. Read Taking Disability Into Account: Proactive Recruitment and Hiring Processes (PDF).
Talking Disability Inclusion in North Carolina
EARN was in the Tar Heel state last month to facilitate a workshop at Empowering Carolina, a multi-forum series at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to raise awareness of resources and programs for people with disabilities. The event focused on the university’s ongoing commitment to a mental health-friendly campus, for students as well as faculty and staff. Reflecting this, EARN team member Derek Shields spoke about strategies for supporting workers with mental health conditions and EARN’s Mental Health Toolkit, including the “4 A’s of a Mental-Health Friendly Workplace” employer framework. Access the toolkit.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT IN THE NEWS
A new campaign jointly sponsored by Special Olympics, Autism Speaks, and Best Buddies encourages employers and others to recognize the value people with intellectual and developmental disabilities offer America’s workplaces. “Delivering Jobs” aims to create pathways to one million employment and leadership opportunities for people with autism, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities by 2025. To support this, the campaign offers employers the opportunity to self-assess their hiring and employment practices, access a resource library, and make a pledge to increased inclusion and accessibility. Learn more about the campaign.
The Value of Inclusion
In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, John D. Kemp, the president and CEO of the Viscardi Center, penned an op-ed about the benefits of workforces that are inclusive of workers with disabilities. In the op-ed, Mr. Kemp, who is an attorney who uses prosthetic limbs, highlights the many attributes people with disabilities bring to the workforce, including inherent problem-solving skills, an appreciation for differences, keen insight into human behavior and responses, a sense of humor, and the ability to teach by example. Read the op-ed.
Guide for Educational Institutions with Federal Contracts
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently released a technical assistance guide for educational institutions with federal contracts. The guide can serve as a self-assessment tool as educational institutions create, review, and update their affirmative action programs for protected bases under OFCCP regulations, including people with disabilities. Highlights include an overview of federal contractors’ equal employment opportunity obligations; the required components of affirmative action programs; and what to expect during an OFCCP compliance evaluation. Access the guide.
Low Cost, High Impact
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) recently updated its data on the benefits and costs of workplace accommodations. Published annually, JAN’s Low Cost, High Impact report summarizes data collected from 2,744 employers. Among the findings is that employers want to provide accommodations so they can retain valued and qualified employees. Furthermore, most accommodations cost nothing to implement, and of those that do incur a one-time cost, the median expenditure was $500. Like EARN, JAN is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Read the report.
Q: My company wants to assess our policies and practices to ensure they’re welcoming of veterans with service-connected disabilities. Do you have resources to help?
Yes – and this month is certainly an opportune time to do so. Each Veterans Day, a grateful nation pays tribute to veterans of all ages who have served in the name of freedom. One of the best ways to support today’s veterans, including those with disabilities and combat-related injuries, is to ensure that they can put their skills to work and succeed in the civilian workplace. Often, a few simple workplace adaptations are all that is necessary for an employer to benefit from a dedicated, skilled employee who has served our nation. To learn more, read our webpage on hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
November 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: Section 508 in the Acquisition Lifecycle
Sponsored by the Access Board and ADA National Network, this webinar will address the revised Section 508 standards in the context of the information and communications technology (ICT) acquisition lifecycle to help government agencies and others ensure that the products and services they purchase are accessible for everyone, including people with disabilities. Register for the November 26 webinar.
December 6, 2019, 12:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: nTIDE Lunch and Learn
This webinar will offer an overview of the National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) Jobs Report Release, as well as updates from the field of disability employment. Presenters include Andrew Houtenville, University of New Hampshire-Institute on Disability; John O’Neill, Kessler Foundation; and Denise Rozell, Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Register for the December 6 webinar.
January 31, 2020
Deadline: Disability Equality Index Registration
The deadline to register for the 2020 Disability Equality Index® (DEI) is January 31. Sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability:IN, an EARN partner, this confidential benchmarking tool allows employers to receive an objective rating on their disability inclusion policies and practices; companies that score 80 percent or higher are named “DEI Best Places to Work.” Learn about the DEI.
In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month last month, Hilton Senior Vice President of Customer Channels, Mike Gathright, who also serves as the Leadership Group Advocate for the company’s disability-related employee resource group, discussed why ensuring a disability-inclusive workplace is important to the worldwide hospitality giant. Earlier this year, Hilton was named a Leading Disability Employer by the National Organization on Disability.
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 K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Disability and Employment. 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 $8,000,000 (four-year total grant amount) under Cooperative Agreement No. OD-33975-19-75-4-36. 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.