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EARN Newsletter: April 2024

National Small Business Week and More!

EARN in Action

Spotlighting National Small Business Week

Small businesses are the backbone of America’s economy and often at the heart of their communities. National Small Business Week acknowledges and celebrates the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners, including those with disabilities. To help employers of all sizes support the creativeness, dedication, and diversity of their business, EARN offers these resources, below.

Small Business Toolkit

EARN’s Small Business Toolkit helps small businesses build their talent pipeline and meet their workforce needs. Explore the toolkit to gain insights into the economic advantages that result from recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing people with disabilities. The toolkit offers practical and affordable ways to become a more disability-inclusive workplace and highlights additional topics such as digital accessibility, reasonable accommodations, financial incentives, and more!

Small Business Webinar Series

Join EARN on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at 1 p.m. ET, for the second webinar in the small business series “Local and State Disability Inclusion Incentives and Resources.” Learn how state and local programs can help small businesses hire and retain workers with disabilities. Hear from experts who manage innovative state and local programs that provide tax incentives and financial assistance for accommodations. Stay for the 30-minute Q&A after the webinar.

Advancing Disability Inclusion in Small Businesses

Mark your calendars! On Thursday, May 2, 2024, at 2 p.m. ET, join EARN on X for a Fireside Chat in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and ePolicyWorks’ national online dialogue “Advancing Disability Inclusion in Very Small Businesses.” You can participate in the dialogue by submitting your ideas on current policies and disability-inclusive practices. Your insights will help inform the development of resources, tools, and activities that address the needs of very small businesses, including those that employ or are owned by disabled people.

Disability Employment in the News

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month, a time to honor the contributions of autistic people in all arenas, including in the workplace. In any employment setting, employees’ innovation, creativity, and problem-solving improve when they are part of a workforce with a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences—and neurodiversity. Neurodiversity describes the different ways that people, including autistic people, think, learn, interact with others, and perceive the world. Interested in developing meaningful employment opportunities for neurodivergent people, including those on the autism spectrum? Review EARN’s Neurodiversity in the Workplace toolkit and download Disability:IN’s Autism@Work Playbook.

Advancing Competitive Integrated Employment

ODEP recently launched its new Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) Transformation Hub focused on increasing the participation of people with disabilities in CIE. Employers play a key role in establishing inclusive workplace cultures and ensuring disabled employees are positioned to succeed at work. Find practical resources specifically for employers to support people with disabilities in CIE.


Q: I am an entrepreneur looking to form partnerships with local organizations to advance employment opportunities for disabled people in my community. Does EARN have information to help me?

A: Yes, we do! Creating partnerships with regional and local organizations is an effective way for businesses to access a diverse talent pipeline while reducing turnover. EARN’s “Learning Guide: Creating an Effective Talent Strategy Through Local and Regional Partnerships” outlines steps, tips, and resources on forming these relationships.

Check out the Learning Guide

Employer Spotlight

Watlow logo (registered trademark): Powered by Possibility

Turning Up the Heat on Disability Inclusion

To meet growing labor demands, electric manufacturing company Watlow initiated a disability outreach and recruitment effort in 2015 and set out with a goal to hire one person with a disability. Since then, Watlow has hired more than 20 qualified workers with disabilities and offers training on working with people with disabilities, including neurodivergent employees.

The content in this newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Mark Your Calendar

May 15, 2024, 2–3:30 p.m. ET
Webinar: Supporting the Mental Well-Being of Gen Z Workers

Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this May! Join EARN’s webinar “Supporting the Mental Well-Being of Gen Z Workers.” Learn how companies can attract top candidates, retain talent, and increase productivity and performance by supporting this generation of workers. Experts will explore some of the complexities young workers face and discuss steps employers can take to support their well-being. Stay on after the webinar ends at 3 p.m. for a bonus 30-minute Q&A with panelists.

Register for EARN's webinar.

May 8, 2024, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. ET
Conference: 2024 DMEC Virtual Compliance Conference

A member of EARN’s Inclusion@Work Leadership Council, the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) empowers organizations to be better employers. DMEC’s upcoming 2024 Virtual Compliance Conference will offer focused education, knowledge, and networking opportunities for absence and disability management professionals. Register today and build a more productive, compliant, and inclusive workplace. 

Register for the conference.

May 5–11, 2024
Observance: First Annual Youth Apprenticeship Week

Join Apprenticeship USA and employers across the country for the first annual Youth Apprenticeship Week (YAW). Building off the success of National Apprenticeship Week, YAW highlights the benefits and value of Registered Apprenticeship program opportunities for youth, ages 16–24, including youth with disabilities.

Register for the Youth Apprenticeship Week.

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