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EARN Newsletter: July 2022

Celebrating Neurodivergent Workers, the ADA Anniversary and More!

EARN in Action

Celebrating Neurodiversity in the Workplace

About 20% of adults in the U.S. identify as neurodivergent. Neurodivergent employees bring many skills and talents to the workplace, including new perspectives, creativity and innovation. To help employers recruit and hire neurodivergent employees and create a workplace culture that is inclusive and supportive of them, and in celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), EARN is sharing its resources throughout July, including the Neurodiversity in the Workplace Toolkit. The toolkit has information on workplace accommodations, business benefits, performance management, mentorship and more.

Best Practices for Federal Contractors

A new online guide developed by EARN and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) offers strategies to help federal contractors comply with their obligations under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and attract, hire, advance and retain employees with disabilities. The guide builds on EARN's Inclusion@Work Framework, which outlines seven components of a disability-inclusive workplace, and includes best practices for implementing them. It also provides a variety of resources from OFCCP, the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and others.

Employer Case Study

A new employer case study highlights an innovative pre-apprenticeship program that trains workers with disabilities for jobs in advanced manufacturing. The program was developed through a partnership between FALA Technologies, a family-owned manufacturing and engineering company in New York’s Hudson Valley, and a local nonprofit organization, the Resource Center for Accessible Living. The partnership has not only helped FALA meet its growing talent needs in a tight labor market, but also offers a model for other companies interested in developing or expanding their disability employment initiatives.

Federal Hiring Authorities from a Disability Perspective

Just over a year ago, on June 25, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. The EO recognizes that the Federal Government must be a model for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility and that federal agencies must work to increase federal employment of people with disabilities. To assist agencies in these efforts, EARN developed a policy brief that outlines several federal hiring authorities that can be used to support employment of people with disabilities, including those with targeted disabilities and disabled veterans.

Disability Employment in the News

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Theme Announced

The Department of Labor recently announced that the theme of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) will be “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.” Celebrated every October, NDEAM honors the many contributions people with disabilities make to America’s workplaces and economy. “A strong workforce is the sum of many parts, and disability has always been a key part of the equation,” said the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn M. Williams. “People with disabilities make up a wonderfully multifaceted group. By recognizing the full complexion of our community, we can ensure our efforts to achieve disability inclusion are, in fact, truly inclusive.”

Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month, a time to celebrate disability as an identity and fight against stigma and ableism. It is also an opportune time to explore ways to make the world more accessible and inclusive. The American Bar Association has a variety of information and resources to help employers and others celebrate all month long, including the “21-Day Disability Equity Habit-Building Challenge©,” which includes short daily assignments, such as readings, videos and podcasts, as well as discussion questions.

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (MMHAM) is observed each July to bring attention to the unique mental health challenges racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. face, many of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the month, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health is sharing tools and resources to help address the stigma about mental health conditions among racial and ethnic minority populations and provide information about access to treatment options.

Disability Employment and the Digital Divide

A recent report from the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) explores the role that lack of access to the internet and inaccessibility of career websites play in employment outcomes for people with disabilities. “Disability and the Digital Divide: Internet Subscriptions, Internet Use and Employment Outcomes” found that workers with disabilities were 13% less likely to have internet access at home and 11% less likely to own a computer, which can limit opportunities for employment. Websites that are not accessible also contribute to higher unemployment rates for people with disabilities.


Q: I know that July marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and I would like to organize a training about the ADA for my company’s managers. What resources does EARN have to help?

A: What a great idea! The anniversary of the ADA is an excellent opportunity to ensure that managers, supervisors and others across your organization understand how the ADA applies to job seekers and employees with disabilities. To help, EARN offers a short online training course and a webpage with additional information and resources.

Take the Training Visit the ADA Webpage

Employer Spotlight

Accommodating and Retaining Educators with Disabilities

With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and school safety concerns, it is more important than ever to support educators and help them remain on the job. A new EARN employer case study highlights the critical role workplace accommodations can play in retaining teachers with disabilities. Dianna Ivey, a teacher at Manchester, VT’s Elementary Middle School, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 14 years ago. Dianna worked with her building administrator and district superintendent to ensure she had the accommodations she needed to remain in the classroom as her condition progresses.

Mark Your Calendar

July 27, 2022, 12:30 p.m. ET
Webinar: Effective Business Practices in Workplace Mental Health

This webinar hosted by Mental Health America (MHA) and the National Organization on Disability will discuss current workplace mental health challenges and effective business practices to help improve employee wellbeing. Guest speaker Taylor Adams, MHA’s Director of Workplace Mental Health, will provide strategies organizations can use to create a mental health-friendly workplace culture.

Register for the MHA webinar.

August 5, 2022, 12:00 p.m. ET
Webinar: nTIDE Lunch and Learn

This webinar will offer 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 and Denise Rozell from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

Register for the nTIDE webinar.

August 11, 2022, 12:30 p.m. ET
Panel Discussion: Workplace Mental Health: Employer Perspective

This panel discussion hosted by Mental Health America and the National Organization on Disability will bring together leaders in the disability and employee mental health and wellbeing fields to explore approaches to workplace mental health that support employee wellbeing and help create inclusive workplace cultures.

Register for the panel discussion.

August 17, 2022, 2:00 p.m. ET
EARN Webinar: Hiring and Supporting Neurodivergent Workers: Strategies for Success

Neurodivergent workers can offer many benefits to employers and support organization-wide diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility efforts. In this EARN webinar, participants will hear from a panel of neurodivergent professionals as well as employers who have developed successful neurodiversity programs. Topics will include the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce, strategies for hiring and retaining neurodivergent employees and examples of innovative neurodiversity employment initiatives.

Register for the EARN webinar.

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