EARN Newsletter: May 2022
Mental Health Awareness Month
EARN in Action
Supporting Mental Health Awareness
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, EARN is highlighting best practices for building mental health-friendly workplaces, such as those included in its Mental Health Toolkit, as well as the Campaign for Disability Employment’s most recent public service announcement (PSA) campaign, titled “Mental Health at Work: What Can I Do?” Employers are encouraged to follow EARN on social media (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) and share content through their channels and use EARN resources to educate their employees about mental health issues and available supports.
Mental Health Training Module
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, EARN released a new training module on creating a mental health-friendly workplace. A complement to EARN’s Mental Health Toolkit, this short online course helps employers learn strategies for supporting employee mental health and wellbeing based on the “4 A’s” framework (awareness, accommodations, assistance and access to treatment) along with links to related resources. The module includes a quiz at the end to assess knowledge gained.
New Accessibility Checklists
EARN published three new checklists to assist organizations in ensuring events—whether in-person, virtual or hybrid—are accessible to all potential participants, including people with disabilities. The three checklists address general meetings and events, career fairs and other hiring events, and staff trainings by outlining steps to take before, during and after based on best practices for providing individual accommodations and enhancing overall accessibility.
Disability Employment in the News
White House, Labor Department Recognize Mental Health Awareness Month
In a proclamation honoring Mental Health Awareness Month, President Biden affirmed his administration’s commitment to supporting Americans with mental health conditions as well as the nation’s mental health workforce. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams also released a statement acknowledging the month. "We're committed to helping America's employees and employers work together to promote workplace wellbeing, an issue that the past two years have really brought to the forefront,” she said.
ODEP and ASA Renew Alliance Agreement
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the American Staffing Association (ASA) recently renewed their alliance to advance employment of people with disabilities in the staffing industry, which employs an estimated 16 million temporary and contract employees annually. Through the formal partnership, now extended for five years, ODEP and ASA will conduct a range of activities aimed at equipping ASA members with information and resources to educate their networks and create disability-inclusive workplaces.
Mental Health in America: A 2022 Workplace Report
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation recently released Mental Health in America: A 2022 Workplace Report. Based on a survey of HR professionals conducted in January 2022, this report highlights what is and is not effective when it comes to addressing workplace wellness and supporting employees’ mental health needs. An overarching theme is the critical role the HR profession plays in connecting workers with resources and supports, while helping businesses retain talented employees and improve productivity.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day
May 19, 2022 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This annual event aims to advance discussion about digital access and inclusion for people with different types of disabilities. Employers can use this opportunity to educate their workforce about accessible technology and consider steps they can take to ensure their virtual doors are open to all qualified individuals, including people with disabilities. The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT), a project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, offers many resources to assist.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
A recent CBS news segment highlighted how, through an innovative pilot program, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is leveraging the unique skills of neurodivergent workers—among them being able to identify patterns, see things differently and pinpoint seemingly minor details—to meet its critical workforce needs while advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the federal workforce.