EARN Newsletter: February 2022
Advancing Federal DEIA, Workforce Disability Inclusion and More!
EARN in Action
Advancing DEIA in the Federal Workforce
Earlier this month, EARN, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Personnel Management, hosted the first Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED) meeting of 2022. Discussion centered on strategies for effective agency-level implementation of Executive Order 14035, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in the Federal Workforce. The agenda also included an overview of the related Government-Wide Strategic Plan to Advance DEIA in the Federal Workforce issued in November 2021.
Synergizing Strategies for Increased Inclusion
On February 9, EARN joined forces with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ Southeast Region to present “Creating Inclusive Workforces and Encouraging Self-Identification: Synergize Your Recruiting, Hiring and Retention Processes for Individuals with Disabilities.” During the virtual presentation, federal contractors explored best practices for creating inclusive workplace cultures and achieving their goals under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Media Spotlight on Inclusive Workplaces
As America’s employers and workers continue to navigate a new employment landscape amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the media has been highlighting a number of important workforce issues, such as disability equity and inclusion. EARN is pleased to have been cited as a resource in several of these pieces, including two nationally syndicated CNBC articles. The first explored how hybrid work environments have created more opportunities for people with disabilities, and the other highlighted the key role accessible technology plays in achieving greater workplace inclusion of people with disabilities.
Accolade for EARN’s Website
EARN’s newly redesigned website was recently recognized with a Gold AVA Digital Award in the category of Web-Based Production/Website Redesign. Structured around the four phases of the employment lifecycle—recruit, hire, retain and advance—the new site offers a range of tools and resources on timely topics such as mental health, inclusive telework, neurodiversity and more. The AVA Digital Awards program is an international competition honoring excellence in planning, concept, direction, design and production of digital communications.
Disability Employment in the News
Celebrating Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, Taryn Williams, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), issued a statement recognizing the many contributions of Black Americans with disabilities. “Black history and disability history intersect, and many Black leaders with disabilities worked to improve opportunities for both communities,” she said. “This month and every month, we’re proud to honor their legacies.” In addition, ODEP Policy Advisor Jennifer Thomas penned a blog post exploring the contributions of Black leaders with disabilities and the impact they’ve had on Black history, disability history and American history.
ODEP Mentoring Blog
In recognition of National Mentoring Month in January, Lynne Fetter, a Youth Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, penned a post for the U.S. Department of Labor blog about the important role mentoring played in their early career and how their agency works to ensure that all youth with disabilities benefit from such experiences. Key elements of ODEP’s work in this area include its “Guideposts for Success” youth policy framework and promoting inclusive mentoring as one of the 14 required program elements under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Youth Program.
New Solutions Showcase Videos
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) recently added six new videos to its “Solutions Showcase” series, which highlights common workplace accommodation solutions for workers with a variety of disabilities. The new topics include Compact Material Handling, Video Remote Interpreting and Video Relay Services, Simulated Skylights, Supine Workstations, Dual Channel Headsets and Timers. JAN developed the videos with assistance from the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology. Like EARN, JAN is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Apprenticeship for All Podcast
The Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA) posted a new podcast episode on “How Inclusive Apprenticeships Can Help Address the Clean Energy Sector’s Growing Talent Needs.” In the episode, part of PIA’s “Apprenticeship for All” series, the CEO of Amicus Cooperative, Amanda Bybee, discusses career opportunities and access to high-growth, high-demand jobs in the solar energy sector. She also addresses the industry’s commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive pipeline of talent to support future workforce needs. Like EARN, PIA is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
A new four-part video series on the EARN website highlights JPMorgan Chase’s Business Solutions Team (BeST), which is comprised mainly of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The videos illustrate how the company facilitated its move to remote work during the pandemic, its work with partners to boost disability recruitment, efforts to build an inclusive culture and the importance of recognizing talent. Captioned and audio described versions of the videos are available on the EARN website.