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EARN Newsletter: September 2023

Business Benefits Factsheet and More!

EARN in Action

Business Benefits: The Positive Impacts of Disability Inclusion

In collaboration with the Department of Labor’s (DOL) State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED), EARN released a factsheet for employers on the benefits of recruiting, hiring, retaining, and advancing workers with disabilities. The new resource includes research-based findings that demonstrate how workplace disability inclusion produces bottom line benefits, grows market segments, expands access to talent pools, improves morale, and more. The factsheet also offers information to help companies advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities and ensure disability is part of their diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) plans.

Workplace Flexibility and Disability Inclusion

Workplace flexibility is increasingly common as organizations offer employees more choices on how, when, and where to work. EARN’s recently updated Workplace Flexibility webpage explores how flexible workplace policies help create more inclusive, accessible, and equitable work cultures. The webpage also provides considerations for employers as they develop and implement these policies. Links to three new issue briefs on topics related to workplace flexibility, including caregiving, transportation, and equity, are highlighted as well.

Updated State Government Employment Section

EARN’s newly revamped State Government Employment section includes actionable steps for state agencies to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Developed in partnership with SEED, the section includes new webpages with “quick links” to resources from EARN, SEED, and their collaborative partners; an overview of State as a Model Employer (SAME) strategies; and ideas for how state agencies can engage with employers to support the employment of people with disabilities.

Disability Employment in the News

DOL Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Releases National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Video

In honor of NDEAM in October, ODEP created an animated video that explores the spirit of NDEAM and shares ways employers and workers can celebrate. The video and other outreach tools for organizations to incorporate into their NDEAM observances, including the official 2023 NDEAM poster and key messages and graphics, are located on ODEP’s website. All outreach tools highlight this year’s NDEAM theme: “Advancing Access and Equity.” NDEAM is observed every October to honor the many contributions people with disabilities make to America’s workplaces and economy.

Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) Publishes Guide for State Agencies

When it comes to advancing workforce disability inclusion, state agencies play an important role—and it starts with education and awareness. To help, the CDE developed “What Can State Agencies Do? A Step-by-Step Implementation Guide for State Agencies.” This new resource provides actionable steps state agencies can take to raise awareness about inclusive workplace policies and practices, both externally and internally. Funded by ODEP, the CDE is a collaborative effort among several disability and business organizations, including EARN.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Launches Neurodiversity Resource

As part of its Accommodation and Compliance Series, JAN developed a new webpage about neurodiversity. The page includes real-life examples of common workplace situations, accommodation ideas, and resource links. Neurodiversity describes the natural way people think, learn, perceive the world, interact, and process information differently. Neurodivergent people include those with cognitive, intellectual, developmental, and neurological conditions that shape thinking and learning, including autism, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and certain mental health conditions. Like EARN, JAN is an ODEP-funded resource.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Updates Guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Workers with Visual Disabilities

The EEOC recently released updated guidance on how the ADA applies to job applicants and employees with visual disabilities. “Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act” includes information on what disability-related questions employers can and cannot ask applicants and employees related to vision loss. It also offers ideas for reasonable accommodations, advice for addressing safety concerns about workers with visual disabilities, and strategies to ensure employees with visual disabilities are treated respectfully and fairly on the job.


Q: My company would like to do more to encourage applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as a person with a disability. Does EARN have resources that can help?

A: Yes! Companies may implement strategies to encourage applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as a person with a disability for a variety of reasons, including to meet requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors and to measure the effectiveness of organizational DEIA efforts. EARN offers several resources for employers on self-identification of disability, including a toolkit developed with the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG), "Engaging Employees to Measure Success: Innovative Approaches to Encouraging Self-Identification of Disability," and a factsheet on communicating the benefits of self-identification.

Visit EARN’s Encouraging Self-Identification Webpage

Employer Spotlight

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Logo

Promoting Disability Inclusion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

In a recent episode of the Southeast ADA Center’s “ADA Live!” podcast, representatives from the CDC discussed how the agency uses the federal Schedule A hiring authority to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Schedule A allows federal agencies to hire qualified employees with disabilities without requiring them to go through the competitive federal hiring process. CDC guest speakers Laura Taylor, Affirmative Employment and Special Emphasis Program Manager, and Sandy Williams, Special Hiring Program Team Chief, shared how Schedule A helps federal agencies meet their talent needs and advance disability inclusion in the federal workforce. Logo courtesy of CDC.

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

October 4, 2023, 1 p.m. ET
National Organization on Disability (NOD) Webinar: Neurodiversity at Work: How Neurodivergent Employees Help Businesses Meet Talent Needs

Neurodivergent workers bring many skills and abilities to the workplace, but standard recruitment practices can unintentionally screen out candidates. This NOD webinar will explore ways to effectively support and engage neurodivergent applicants and employees, so employers do not miss out on this skilled talent pool.

Register for the NOD Webinar.

October 6, 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 and an update 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 guest panelist.

Register for the nTIDE Webinar.

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