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EARN Newsletter: May 2023

Mental Health Awareness Month and More!

EARN in Action: A Focus on Mental Health

Supporting Workplace Mental Health

During Mental Health Awareness Month, EARN is sharing resources to help organizations of all sizes create and sustain mental health-friendly workplaces. EARN’s resources include:

Follow EARN on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for more information, tools, and resources on supporting workplace mental health.

Department of Labor (DOL) Mental Health at Work Initiative

This May, DOL launched the Mental Health at Work initiative. The initiative aims to advance workplace wellness and increase awareness of employee mental health and well-being; share best practices; and promote mental health equity and access, especially for underserved populations. DOL published a blog post about the new initiative, which includes a corresponding webpage offering a variety of tools and resources from EARN and other ODEP-funded policy development and technical assistance centers, such as the CDE and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). The blog also highlights the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new Workplace Stress toolkit.

Workplace Mental Health PSA

The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE), of which EARN is a member, is a collaborative effort of disability and business organizations that showcases supportive, inclusive workplaces for all workers. The CDE’s latest public education campaign focuses on the important role employees at every level play in promoting a mental health-friendly work culture. The centerpiece of the campaign is the “Mental Health at Work: What Can Do?” public service announcement (PSA), which features four cast members—a CEO, a manager, a coworker, and a person who identifies as having a mental health condition—discussing how they support mental health at work. The CDE also offers additional resources such as a workplace guide, outreach toolkit (PDF), and posters. EARN is a member of the CDE.

Disability-Inclusive Recruitment and Outreach

Last month at the DirectEmployers Association's annual conference in Chicago, the EARN team presented effective strategies for recruitment of and outreach to job seekers with disabilities. The presentation, entitled “Increasing Applicants with Disabilities: How Career Pages Design Can Make a Difference,” was conducted in collaboration with DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The EARN team provided an overview of the latest research on the topic and highlighted the importance of using inclusive messaging to attract candidates with disabilities. The event, known as “DEAMcon,” brings together employers to discuss strategies for recruiting diverse talent and complying with federal contracting regulations. DirectEmployers is a member of EARN’s Inclusion@Work Network Leadership Council.

Disability Employment in the News

Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

May 18 marks GAAD, an annual celebration promoting digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities. GAAD offers employers an opportunity to educate their workforce about accessible technology and the importance of workplace accessibility. The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) is an ODEP-funded resource that offers information and tools to help organizational leaders and staff develop and sustain a fully accessible workplace.

Data Spotlight on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPI) with Disabilities in Skilled Trade Professions

In honor of AANHPI Heritage Month, DOL published a data spotlight on employment of AA and NHPI workers with disabilities in skilled trades. An analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2017-2021 found that approximately 56,000 (18%) AA and NHPI workers with disabilities are employed in the skilled trades, with the largest representation (44%) in production. The data spotlight is the latest in an ongoing series exploring disability employment data.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Launches Disability Inclusion Pledge

SHRM recently launched the 2023 Disability Inclusion Pledge in collaboration with ODEP and ABLE today. The goal of the initiative is to provide human resource (HR) professionals and business executives with tools and resources to create more inclusive workplaces for disabled workers. By signing the pledge, organizations demonstrate their commitment to promoting diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible workplaces for people with disabilities. “We encourage all employers and HR managers to take the Disability Inclusion Pledge and to continue promoting an accessible and fully inclusive workforce,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams.

JAN Report on Workplace Accommodations

According to a survey of employers conducted by JAN, accommodations for workers with disabilities are low cost but high impact. The results of more than 3,500 employer surveys conducted between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2022, were analyzed for the new report revealing:

  • Nearly half (49.4%) of accommodations for disabled workers cost nothing to make.
  • Less than half (43.3%) of employers making accommodations incur a one-time median cost of only $300. 
  • Employers want to provide accommodations so they can retain valued employees.
  • Accommodations are effective and provide multiple benefits for both employers and employees.
  • JAN serves as a valuable resource to help employers navigate the accommodations process.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Updates Self-Identification of Disability Form

DOL’s OFCCP recently updated its Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form. Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act requires covered federal contractors and subcontractors to invite applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as people with disabilities, which is vital to workplace inclusion. The new form includes preferred language related to disability and examples of types of disabilities. Contractors must implement the updated form by July 25, 2023.


Q: My company is transitioning staff back to in-office work, and we want to strengthen our hybrid work policy to ensure telework remains an option for employees who request it, especially disabled employees. Does EARN have resources to help?

A: Yes! Allowing telework is an important part of workplace flexibility. Offering a hybrid work schedule, which combines in-office and remote work, can be a good option for many organizations. EARN has several resources on telework that can help employers develop disability-inclusive hybrid work policies. It is also important to remember that telework can be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Learn About Inclusive Telework Policies Learn About Remote Work and Disability Inclusion

Employer Spotlight

Lincoln Park Zoo logo: For wildlife. For all.

Accessibility and Inclusion at Lincoln Park Zoo

Creating a fully accessible and inclusive environment for disabled visitors, staff, and volunteers is a priority for Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. The ADA National Network co-hosted a webinar last month with the Great Lakes ADA Center entitled, “For All: How Lincoln Park Zoo Creates Full, Just, and Integrated Accessibility” and featured guest speakers including the zoo’s Accessibility and Inclusion Manager, Bill Green and Director of Learning Experiences, Allison Price. Green and Price provided an overview of programs and policies that help ensure a welcoming and fully accessible experience for the zoo’s 3.5 million annual guests, 250 staff, and 300 volunteers. The webinar was part of the Arts-n-Rec Webinar Series, which explores ADA issues related to the arts and indoor and outdoor recreation activities. An archived version of the webinar, and accompanying session materials, are available on the ADA Center website.

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 17, 2023, 1 p.m. ET
Webinar: Mental Health: When Professional Becomes Personal

Join the National Organization on Disability (NOD) for a webinar exploring how various dimensions of an employee’s identity may affect their workplace experience and well-being. Guest speakers including NOD Managing Director of Employer Services, Felicia M. Nurmsen, Talmetrix Chief Operations Officer, Ricka Berry, and EY Americas Chief Wellbeing Officer, Frank Giampietro, will discuss strategies for creating inclusive supportive workplaces that allow all workers to thrive. 

Register for the NOD Webinar.

May 17, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
EARN Webinar: Navigating Mental Health in Skilled Trade and Industrial Occupations

Creating a mental health-friendly organizational culture is particularly important in skilled trade and industrial occupations, as research shows that engaging in physically demanding jobs can put workers at a higher risk for both physical and mental health conditions. Join EARN for this webinar to learn from workplace mental health experts how organizations can implement programs, policies, and practices that support the well-being of workers in these industries.

Register for the EARN Webinar.

May 23, 2023, 1 p.m. ET
Webinar: Accessibility and Accommodations in the Federal Workplace: Driving Success in Employment and Performance

This online training session hosted by the Great Lakes ADA Center, will discuss best practices for accessibility and workplace accommodations in the federal sector. Section 508 coordinators, IT specialists, reasonable accommodation specialists, and disability program managers are encouraged to attend to learn about strategies for creating accessible and inclusive work environments that help remove barriers and advance opportunities for federal employees with disabilities.

Register for the ADA Center Webinar.

June 2, 2023, 12 p.m. ET
Webinar: nTIDE Lunch and 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 (AUCD), and a special guest speaker.

Register for the nTIDE Webinar.

June 8, 2023, 2 p.m. ET
Webcast: What to Do When Performance and Conduct Factor into the Accommodation Equation

This online training hosted by JAN will explore steps employers can take when a disabled employee is having a performance or conduct issue that may be related to the person’s disability. Topics will include medical inquiries and the ADA and best practices for workplace accommodations.

Register for the JAN Webcast.

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