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EARN 2023 Think Tank: Advancement in Practice

“Transforming Human Resources (HR) Through Innovative Disability-Inclusive Policies and Practices” participants identified challenges to inclusive advancement and potential solutions to address them.

On July 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and its Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) hosted a virtual Think Tank, “Transforming HR Through Innovative Disability-Inclusive Policies and Practices.” 

The Think Tank convened employers, consultants, community-based organizations, and disability advocates to identify innovative strategies for increasing workforce disability inclusion, both across industries and at the individual organization level. Discussion centered on inclusion throughout the employment lifecycle, including a session focused on advancement. This report summarizes challenges to inclusive advancement identified by participants during that session and potential solutions for addressing them.

Challenges: Advancement

Participants were asked to think about common barriers to advancement for employees with disabilities, including those who are also members of other historically underserved communities. The following is a summary of participants’ responses.

Solutions: Advancement

To identify solutions that promote disability-inclusive advancement, Think Tank participants were asked what changes in policies and practices would have the most significant impact, especially for employees with disabilities who are members of historically underserved communities. The following is a summary of participants’ responses.


The following resources can help employers implement the solutions above:

Accommodations and Advancement

Learn about reasonable accommodations and how they can help employees advance in their careers.

Adding Accessibility to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives

Learn about the critical role accessibility plays in ensuring that DEI efforts are inclusive of people with disabilities.

Advancement Strategies for Specific Sectors and Industries

Understand some employers’ special considerations related to the advancement of people with disabilities.

Developing Effective Collaborations and Partnerships to Advance the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Sector

Explore strategies that improve collaboration and communication between employees with disabilities and managers in the federal sector.

Including Disability in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Priorities: Building a Maturity Model

Learn about steps to ensure disability is included in an organization’s DEIA plan.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Resource: Performance Management and Employees with Disabilities

Learn how to work through performance reviews with Americans with Disabilities Act implications.

Measure Success: Accountability and Self-Identification

Ensure effective implementation of DEIA initiatives by measuring outcomes.

Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Management, Peer Training, and Mentoring

Train managers and peers to improve the workplace experiences of neurodivergent employees.

Performance Management

Learn why feedback is vital in helping all employees, including those with disabilities, advance in their careers.