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Welcome to AskEARN’s new website. As we transition to our new site, you can still visit EARN’s previous site.

About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) offers information and resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; build inclusive workplace cultures; and meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. 

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Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities — and how EARN’s resources can help.

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    Phases of Employment

  • A man in a wheelchair looks at his phone while waiting for an interview

    Recruit

    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • A woman with a forearm crutch shakes hands with another person

    Hire

    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • A man looks on as a young woman with Down syndrome makes a coffee drink in a cafe

    Retain

    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • Image of a woman illustrating how to perform a task to a man with down's syndrome.

    Advance

    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our e-blasts and monthly e-newsletter, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Disability Inclusion in Action: Federal Agency Promising Practices

Watch these videos to learn about strategies to support and advance disability inclusion in the federal workforce.

Across the nation, federal agencies have and continue to put in place a wide range of strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing qualified people with disabilities. The videos below illuminate these practices at a number of agencies—from NASA to Veterans Affairs and New Mexico to Vermont. Watch and listen to learn new and innovative approaches to achieving goals for disability inclusion in the federal workforce and meet many talented people with disabilities—and the agencies who benefit from their skills each day.

Cultural Transformation

“We know that there is a common core that we think everyone should adhere to…so let’s take the best of whatever anyone is doing and use it so that everyone can benefit.”

–  Gregory L. Parham, (Former) Assistant Secretary for Administration, Department of Agriculture


Internal Communication

“There are a lot of different strategies we have to use, not only to get outside of the DC area, but to reach people at different levels of federal service.”

–  Alison Levy, Departmental Disability Employment Program Manager, Department of Agriculture


External Communications

“Collaboration and partnership is key to ensuring that as we’re bringing in different individuals and working to diversify our workforce…We utilize the partnerships that we have, either through the Department of Veterans Affairs and Vocational Rehabilitation in providing information for their job boards, for their clients.”

– Montez Ashley, Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Forest Service, Eastern Region


Clearly Communicate to Your Audience

“There are certain outreach activities, some of them as simple as finding some nationally known figure that has a disability and bringing them over here to our large auditorium and having him or her give a talk. It helps the whole population recognize that if you’re in a wheelchair or if you are blind it doesn’t mean that your brain doesn’t work and NASA’s always looking for smart people and always interested in listening to smart people.”

-Beth Nguyen, Associate Director, Human Resources Office, Johnson Space Center


Finding Jobs, Finding Employees

“Another great thing for us is that our HR people are actually embedded within a district…Because we have them embedded in place, our supervisors, our mid-level managers can talk with them directly face to face. They’re able to understand exactly the needs of what we need.”

-Major Gary Bonham, Deputy District Engineer/Deputy Commander, Army Corps of Engineers


Collaborating with Agencies

“I think collaboration and partnership are key to ensuring that as we’re bringing in different individuals and working to diversify our workforce those collaborations, those partnerships help support the success of those entities and initiatives.”

-Montez Ashley, Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Forest Service, Eastern Region


Effective Practices: The Workforce Recruitment Program

“I was in my final year of law school, I was worried I wouldn’t get a job…You have an interview with someone from the Office of Disability Employment Policy. It’s obviously not an interview for a specific job; it’s sort of feeling you out, seeing the kind of person they are, and these are the kinds of skills they have. So it’s almost like it’s a vetting.”

-Ann Kaufman, (Former) Disability Program Manager, Customers and Border Protection


Training and Tools

“You can’t set a goal and not give people the resources and tools they need right then to meet those goals. We made sure that we included a Schedule A module in our mandatory supervisors and managers training…We let them know about the Workforce Recruitment Program…That gives some information competencies for our hiring officials to make sure that they’re giving full consideration to individuals with disabilities.”

-Tinisha Agramonte, (Former) Director of Outreach and Retention, Department of Veterans Affairs


Educate and Discuss: Disability, Options and Resources

“When managers come to us and say ‘I’ve got an employee who has identified a disability and I would like to educate my entire organization. Could you come and give us some training?’ And, we offer things like Respect in the Workplace things that are sort of general, but then we can tweak them just enough so that it speaks to whatever issues might be misunderstood or not communicated in that work area.”

-Deborah Henshaw Urbanski, Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Johnson Space Center


Providing Resources

“When you set a hiring goal you let people know that you’re serious about employing this group of people. When you have money to procure reasonable accommodations and a system that tracks all accommodation requests that are submitted throughout the department. I think that is senior leadership’s demonstration of their commitment to hiring people with disabilities, and that’s what sets the culture and climate.”

-Tinisha Agramonte, (Former) Director of Outreach and Retention, Department of Veterans Affairs


Streamlining Accommodations

“I’ve never had a single conversation where someone asked, ‘Is this going to be a problem for us financially?’ The conversations were always about ‘How do we provide this person with the accommodation? Can we provide this? Is this absolutely what this person needs? Let’s make sure to get this person exactly what they need. Let’s talk to this person talk to whoever and make sure that this is the right type of equipment that this individual needs.’ It wasn’t about the money.”

-David Powell, Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Johnson Space Center


A Culture of Accommodation

“My eyesight has gone down more and more and my management team is very supportive. They’ve given me all the tools. They’ve actually come to me and say ‘Hey is there anything else you need? Is there anything out there that we can give you?’ The main thing I think anybody with a disability wants is a level playing field. All we want is opportunity. Once you give us opportunity then the rest is up to us.”

-Tracy Minish, Chief Mission Operations Branch, Johnson Space Center


The Meaning of Accommodation

“They welcomed me like any other employee would, we always have welcome lunches, they take you around, usually get assigned to somebody who takes you around to meet everybody…So I didn’t feel out of place at all. I felt right at home when I first got there.”

-Veronica Vigil, Engineer, Kirtland Air Force Base


Accommodations to Keep the Best

Knowing that I’m working with people who know how to get things done, and people with the same passion that I have, you just unify and you find those people and say, ‘okay, we have to move forward.’”

-Clara Johnson, Job Corps Liaison, Forest Service, Eastern Region


Advancing Careers

“The supervisor-employee relationship has to be strong enough where they know that you’ve got their back.”

-Ethan Ready, Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service


Employee Resource Groups

“The managers might not have that much experience working with people with disabilities, so it’s a real learning experience for them to work with people who do and to find out more about their disabilities and what kinds of differences in the work situation they might need.”

-Jesse Kalachman , Intern, Army Corps of Engineers


A Community in Practice: Success Stories in Advancing Disability Employment
Initiatives in New Mexico’s Federal Workforce

“We developed and collaborated on a strategic plan for increasing our hiring of people with disabilities. And not only just to increase our employment of qualified individuals, but also to have it replicated in the community. And there’s even a component of community outreach.”

-James A. Maes, Director, Civil Rights, Forest Service, Southwestern Region


Visibility

“I think progress builds progress. You know, when people can see that they are meeting the goals or even coming close to the goals, they know exactly what to do the next time.”

-Christy Compton, (Former) Disability Program Manager, Division of Outreach and Retention, Department of Veterans Affairs


Accountability and Measuring Success

“It’s not just about hiring. It’s not just about retention. It’s about performance. It’s about maintaining an inclusive work environment, and all of that is contained by reference in their performance plans now. We hold them specifically to making sure they achieve the Secretary’s hiring goals for people with targeted disabilities. That is the one area where we can lawfully, proudly establish a numerical goal.”

-Georgia Coffey, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diversity, Department of Veterans Affairs

Phases of Employment

Recruit Hire Retain Advance

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