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EARN Newsletter: January 2023

Promoting Employee Retention and More!

EARN in Action

Promoting Retention of Employees with Disabilities

Inclusive workplaces are an essential component of retaining employees with disabilities. According to Deloitte (PDF), companies with inclusive cultures have 22% lower turnover rates than those that don’t prioritize inclusion. Throughout January, EARN is sharing best practices and effective strategies to help employers retain their disabled employees, such as providing reasonable accommodations, offering mentoring opportunities and implementing effective performance coaching and management techniques. Follow EARN on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find out how your organization can retain skilled workers with disabilities.

Celebrating National Mentoring Month

Each January, National Mentoring Month shines a light on the positive impact mentoring can have on people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Career mentoring can be especially beneficial for both workers with disabilities and employers because it supports employee retention and workforce inclusion. EARN offers a variety of resources on workplace mentoring, including the Workplace Mentoring Playbook and a fact sheet on mentoring as a disability inclusion strategy. In addition, the nonprofit organization MENTOR has developed a series of toolkits to help stakeholders, including employers, celebrate National Mentoring Month.

Supporting Workplace Mental Health

The start of the new year is an opportune time for employers to recommit to creating a mental health-friendly workplace culture. EARN’s learning guide Supporting Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing: The Importance of an Individualized Approach can help. A companion piece to the EARN webinar on the same topic, the guide highlights the importance of using an intersectional lens when developing employee wellbeing strategies. It also includes statistics on the prevalence of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety among historically underserved populations such as people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community.

Disability Employment in the News

Celebrating MLK Day

Held each year on the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the civil rights leader’s legacy and highlights the work yet to be done in the fight for racial justice and equality for all Americans. A recent blog post from the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation explores the significant impact Dr. King had on the disability rights movement. From the adage that “disability rights are civil rights” to the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was greatly inspired by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Dr. King’s work has had a profound and lasting influence on helping ensure the rights of disabled Americans, including in the workplace.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Hosts Federal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Summit

Last month, OPM, in collaboration with the White House Domestic Policy Council, Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Office of Management and Budget, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, General Services Administration and Access Board, hosted the first-ever federal DEIA summit. More than 1,700 federal employees attended the three-day virtual event, which brought together agency leadership, subject matter experts and other stakeholders from across the Federal Government to explore topics such as equity and civil rights for people with disabilities, agency-wide accessibility and inclusive hiring and retention practices. A blog post published by ODEP provides a recap of the event, including quotes from Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams and ODEP Chief of Staff Anupa Geevarghese.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Long COVID and Accommodations Webpage

A new web resource from JAN helps employers understand strategies for supporting workers with Long COVID and associated conditions so they can successfully stay at or return to work once ready. JAN’s Long COVID webpage includes guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to workers with the condition, ideas for effective accommodations for employees based on limitations or work-related functions and other information about Long COVID as a disability. Like EARN, JAN is a free service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

COVID-19 and Employment Trends for People with Disabilities

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a blog exploring data related to COVID-19 recovery and employment of people with disabilities. The data indicates that people with disabilities have re-entered the labor force in greater numbers since 2021, surpassing pre-pandemic employment rates. The gains in employment for this population are likely due to increased workplace flexibility such as remote work, a theory supported by a brief (PDF) published by DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.


Q: Accessibility, both physical and digital, is top of mind for my organization right now. Does EARN have resources that can help my company develop and sustain a fully accessible workplace?

A: Yes, we do! offers a variety of resources to support employers who understand that accessibility is the foundation of an inclusive workplace. From checklists that help organizations of all sizes plan accessible meetings, events, career fairs and trainings, to information on ensuring accessibility in recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement, EARN has what you need to embrace a holistic and organization-wide approach to accessibility. The website also includes links to information from the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), which, like EARN, is a free resource provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Visit EARN's Accessibility Resources

Employer Spotlight

Headshot of Kathy Martinez

Q&A with Expedia Group’s Vice President (VP) of Disability Inclusion Kathy Martinez

Expedia Group recently announced that former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez has been hired as the company’s new VP of Disability Inclusion. Ms. Martinez, who led the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy from 2009-2015, was also Senior VP, Head of Disability and Accessibility Strategy for Wells Fargo and most recently President & CEO of the nonprofit organization Disability Rights Advocates. Read about her journey to joining Expedia Group and her commitment to making travel accessible for all.

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

January 25, 2023, 1 p.m. ET
Webinar: Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) for Federal Employers

This webinar will explain how federal employers can access and search the recently released WRP talent database. Managed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Defense, the WRP connects federal employers with college and graduate students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking internships or permanent jobs.

Register for the WRP Webinar.

February 3, 2023, 12 p.m. ET
Webinar: nTIDE Lunch & Learn

This webinar will provide an overview of the National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) Jobs Report, as well as updates from the field of disability employment. Presenters include Andrew Houtenville from the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, John O’Neill from the Kessler Foundation, Denise Rozell from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and a special guest panelist.

Register for the nTIDE Webinar.

February 9, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
Webcast: Supports and Services: Accommodations with a Heartbeat

This training hosted by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) will discuss effective methods for using supports and services provided by a person or a service animal as job accommodations. “Heartbeat accommodations” may involve using a job coach, sign language interpreter, emotional support animal, mentor or other types of supports. Hear from JAN’s experts including James Potts, Senior Consultant for the Cognitive/Neurological Team; Lisa Mathess, Lead Consultant and Americans with Disabilities Act Specialist; and Tracie DeFreitas, Program Leader and Director of Training, Services and Outreach.

Register for the JAN Webcast.

February 15, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
EARN Webinar: Organization-Wide Accessibility: Everyone Plays a Part

Hear from a panel of accessibility experts about effective strategies for creating an organization where “Accessibility is Everyone’s Responsibility.” This approach yields numerous benefits, including increased productivity, long-term retention and strengthened diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility efforts.

Register for the EARN Webinar.

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