EARN Newsletter: September 2022
Inclusive Hybrid Work Models and More!
EARN in Action
Exploring Inclusive Hybrid Work Models
The widespread shift to hybrid work, which includes a combination of in-office and remote work, is one of the most significant changes to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although efforts are being made by some employers to bring employees back to the office, hybrid work is likely here to stay. To help employers navigate current issues and future considerations, EARN has developed “Exploring the Possibilities: Disability-Inclusive Hybrid Work Models.” The policy brief offers strategies organizations can use to develop and implement hybrid work models that are inclusive of people with disabilities and facilitate workplace diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
Adding Accessibility to Federal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives
The addition of the term “accessibility” along with “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) in Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) in the Federal Workforce marks a significant shift in the federal approach to workplace disability inclusion. Historically, federal equal employment opportunity efforts for people with disabilities were included in disability-specific initiatives, not as part of wider DEI efforts. A new policy brief from EARN discusses the important role diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) play in supporting federal employment of people with disabilities. Although meant for federal audiences, the information in “Adding Accessibility to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives” may also be relevant to state, local and private sector employers.
New Resources on Neurodiversity in the Workplace
Neurodivergent workers offer a variety of skills and perspectives that can benefit organizations of all sizes in all industries. To assist employers in recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing neurodivergent talent, EARN developed a suite of resources including a webinar, learning guide and toolkit. A recording of the webinar, “Hiring and Supporting Neurodivergent Workers: Strategies for Success,” which features a panel discussion with neurodivergent professionals and employers who have developed successful neurodiversity programs, is now available on the EARN website. In conjunction with the webinar, EARN created a downloadable and printable learning guide that includes resources, statistics and testimonials from neurodivergent workers. EARN also updated its Neurodiversity in the Workplace Toolkit with assistance from subject matter experts. The Toolkit includes information on the business benefits of a neurodiverse workforce, workplace accommodations, mentorship and more.
Ensuring Accessibility in the Federal Government
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 fourth and final Federal Exchange on Employment and Disability (FEED) meeting of 2022. The meeting explored strategies for ensuring federal workplaces, events, and information and communication technology is accessible for all employees, including those with disabilities. Guest presenters from the Northeast Americans with Disabilities Act Center and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation discussed considerations for physical, digital and document accessibility, and representatives from the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy provided an overview of the development of DOL’s agency-wide events accessibility guidance.
Disability Employment in the News
Celebrating Labor Day
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) celebrated Labor Day earlier this month by creating and sharing a variety of resources honoring the many contributions workers have made to America's strength, prosperity and wellbeing. The materials included a video, infographics and a blog post in which DOL leaders such as Secretary Marty Walsh and Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Taryn Williams highlighted agency priorities and efforts to ensure all Americans have access to good jobs. Priorities of the Office of Disability Employment Policy include advancing competitive integrated employment and supporting workers with Long COVID and mental health conditions.
Resources for National Recovery Month
September is National Recovery Month, a nationwide observance to bring awareness to mental health and substance use recovery and help end the stigma surrounding these conditions. In observance, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is holding events including rallies, panel discussions and a leadership summit, and sharing resources for Americans in recovery. To support workers with mental health conditions or substance use disorders and their employers, the U.S. Department of Labor published a blog post with information on workers’ rights, employers’ responsibilities and resources that can help, including the Campaign for Disability Employment’s “Mental Health at Work: What Can I Do” public service announcement.
Department of Labor Awards Funding to Policy Center on Employment of People with Disabilities
The National Disability Institute (NDI) has been awarded a four-year cooperative agreement from the Department of Labor (DOL) to operate a policy development center focused on employment of people with disabilities. NDI and its partner, Social Policy Research Associates, will develop and manage the center, which will help advance the work of DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. The center is being funded under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and will support WIOA programs and services, competitive integrated employment and economic advancement for people with disabilities.
NAMI Health Equity and Mental Health Series
All three sessions of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) “Equity and Mental Health” webinar series are now available for viewing on NAMI’s website. The series, which was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), includes sessions on “Cultivating Cultural Humility and Managing Biases with Families Facing Serious Mental Illnesses and Serious Emotional Disturbances,” “Cultivating Effective Cross-Cultural Communication in Behavioral Health Organizations while Interacting Effectively with Families Coping with Serious Mental Illnesses and Serious Emotional Disturbances,” and “Healing the Wounds of Racial Stress and Trauma in Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities Facing Serious Mental Illnesses and Serious Emotional Disturbances.” The sessions address topics such as implicit and explicit biases, microaggressions and how culture influences communication.
Mastercard: Mastering the Possibilities of Inclusion
A pilot program recently launched by Mastercard, with support from Disability:IN and nonprofit organization Neurodiversity in the Workplace, is helping the company become more inclusive of neurodivergent workers. The program is just one of the ways in which Mastercard is working to meet workforce needs by identifying new sources of diverse talent.