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Archive for May, 2014

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 30, 2014)

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Assistant Secretary Martinez Addresses Students at Hispanic National Bar Association Program

Speaking to a group of middle school students at a Hispanic National Bar Association Latina Commission Pipeline Program event on May 22, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez shared her experiences as a Latina, growing up with a disability and pursuing employment. The students, who are interested in studying law, learned about the importance of high expectations and inclusion.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Fifth Round of Disability Employment Initiative Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of approximately $15 million in grants to state workforce agencies to develop flexible and innovative strategies to increase the participation of youth and adults with disabilities in existing career pathways programs in the public workforce system. These grants represent the fifth round of funding through the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a joint program of the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. The department anticipates awarding eight grants, ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million, to be spent over a 42-month period. Workforce agencies interested in applying for this funding (SGA-DFA-PY-13-11) must apply by July 8, 2014.

ODEP Releases Individualized Learning Plan Interactive Policy Map

Many states have adopted policies that require all students to develop and maintain an individualized learning plan (ILP) in order to make schools more personalized and improve student outcomes. The Office of Disability Employment Policy, in collaboration with its partners NCWD Youth, Social Dynamics, and the Altarum Institute, sought to determine the status of ILP implementation across the U.S. The results were compiled into one, easy-to-use tool, the ILP Interactive Policy Map, which has been released with an accompanying brief “ILPs Across the U.S.” The purpose of the map is to provide a snapshot of ILP implementation in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Scroll over the states to learn about the status of ILPs and click on states to find out more detailed information about specific ILP policies and how students with disabilities are being included in these critical college and career readiness tools. The ILP Interactive Policy Map joins ODEP’s other ILP resources, including the “Kickstart Your ILP” toolkit and the “Shelly Saves the Future” info-comic.

Fostering an Expectation of Employment — National Foster Care Month Blog

May is National Foster Care Month, and in this post on the Department of Labor’s blog site, Nathan Cunningham, policy advisor on the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Youth team, reflects on employment outcomes for youth with disabilities in the foster care system. He outlines the current statistics, and discusses improvements to programs and policies that will have a positive effect for these youth. Resources mentioned include the Guideposts for Success for Youth in Foster Care, developed by ODEP’s youth technical assistance center, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

Parents as Caregivers, Not Qualified Employees under the ADA – JAN Consultants’ Corner

The latest issue of the Job Accommodation Network’s Consultants’ Corner publication looks at the issue of workplace accommodations for parents of children with disabilities. JAN Senior Consultant Melanie Whetzel explains that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodations are strictly for job applicants and employees with disabilities; parents of children with disabilities have no rights to accommodations based on the child’s disability. However, the Family and Medical Leave Act may provide an alternative solution.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 23, 2014)

Monday, May 26th, 2014

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Expect. Employ. Empower. – Assistant Secretary Martinez’s Blog

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez reflected on the cycle of inclusion as she announced Expect. Employ. Empower. as the theme for the 2014 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in her May 21 post on the Department of Labor’s blog site. The theme was developed with input from the public and ODEP’s Campaign for Disability Employment members. “I’m so pleased with the result, because those three words — Expect. Employ. Empower. — clearly convey that advancing disability employment is about more than any singular thing. Rather, it’s about creating a cycle of inclusion,” noted Martinez. NDEAM is observed in October, and is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and honors the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Signs Alliance Agreement with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS)

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez and Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society President Emeritus Richard Bancells signed an alliance agreement to promote disability employment and total inclusion for people with disabilities in the workforce on May 19 at the Nationals Park baseball stadium in Washington, DC. “The Office of Disability Employment Policy is delighted to join forces with PBATS because we both agree that whether on the field or in the workplace, it’s what people can do that matters,” said Martinez.

Great Lakes Business Leadership Network Welcomes Assistant Secretary Martinez

On May 21, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez spoke to members of the Great Lakes Business Leadership Network about recent updates to the regulations for Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and shared a variety of best practices for complying with them. Martinez discussed a range of Department of Labor tools and resources that can assist employers in achieving the goals of the new rules, which encourage federal contractors to enhance their disability employment hiring efforts.

Exchanging Ideas and Expertise on Disability Employment at the Circle Meeting

Representatives of the Office of Disability Employment Policy met with about 40 members of companies that comprise the Circle, a group of businesses and organizations previously recognized by the Department of Labor for innovative and proactive efforts to recruit, hire and promote people with disabilities. During the meeting, held May 20 in Alexandria, VA, the participants exchanged information and ideas about best practices in the field. ODEP provided updates on DOL’s recent disability employment-related efforts and thanked participants for their leadership on the issue. “I don’t have to explain to you that a strong workforce is an inclusive workforce, because you already know,” said ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez. The meeting was held at the headquarters of the U.S. Business Leadership Network, a key partner in ODEP’s National Employer Technical Assistance Center.

EARN Talks Inclusion in ABILITY Magazine

A recent EARN article in ABILITY Magazine highlighted key elements of an inclusive workplace as prescribed by the new Section 503 and VEVRAA regulations that went into effect in March. In “Federal Contractors: Creating a Culture of Inclusion,” Kathleen Lee, Business Outreach Specialist at Cornell University’s National Employer Technical Assistance Center discussed how federal contractors can incorporate inclusive strategies to capitalize on new opportunities to expand the hiring of people with disabilities and veterans, to move beyond compliance, increase employee engagement and productivity, and create a culture that values the contributions of all employees.

Medicaid Managed Care and Its Implications on Employment Services – LEAD Center Webinar – May 28, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT

As states continue to transition their Medicaid systems into managed care models, numerous opportunities and risks to Medicaid-financed employment services have emerged. This webinar will provide an overview of Medicaid Managed Care and its potential implications on employment services, both positive and negative, and will discuss how stakeholders can influence the process. Speakers include Ari Ne’eman, President, Autistic Self Advocacy Network and Samantha Crane, Director of Public Policy, Autistic Self Advocacy Network. The webinar will be held on May 28, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT.

Employer Practices RRTC Launches New Website

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices Related to Employment Outcomes among Individuals with Disabilities (Employer Practices RRTC) has launched a new website. The site contains information summarizing the research that was presented at the October 2013 State of the Science Conference, along with research briefs, links to papers, and links to online tools and resources. The site also features short videos clips of representatives from business, government and academia, sharing their perspectives on the importance of the findings of the Employer Practices RRTC to date. This rehabilitation research and training center is funded to Cornell University by the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices Related to Employment Outcomes among Individuals with Disabilities.

Office of Disability Employment Policy: Business Sense (May 21, 2014)

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

The Flexible Approach to an Inclusive Workplace

Today’s employers are learning that they don’t always need to do things the old fashioned way. To stay competitive as the economy rebounds and to maximize worker performance, companies need to think outside the box and respond to the diverse needs of individual employees. One effective strategy for doing so is workplace flexibility — a practice that breeds employee loyalty and enables many workers to perform to their fullest potential.

The concept of workplace flexibility can be as important to a new parent who wants to work part time as it is to a person with a disability who needs to telecommute. Whatever the case, research shows that strategies like telework and flextime contribute greatly to a more inclusive workplace and dramatically enhance the employability of all workers.

While workplace flexibility is often associated with when and where employees work, it also covers flexibility of task. That can mean redefining the job description of an individual who has a disability to better fit tasks that he or she can perform. Such practices can help employers optimize productivity and avoid the considerable costs associated with replacing an established employee who wants to stay on the job.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) offers a suite of tools and resources to help employers unlock the potential of workplace flexibility strategies. The latest addition is a fact sheet called Workplace Flexibility: A Strategic Business Approach for an Inclusive Workplace. In addition to outlining the proven benefits of workplace flexibility, it offers tips for getting started and resources that can help, including ODEP’s comprehensive Workplace Flexibility Toolkit. Together, these strategies all make a compelling case for flexibility as yet another business practice that makes good business sense.

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

The “Basis” of a Discrimination Complaint: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

A discrimination complaint is filed when someone feels that s/he has been unfairly or unjustly treated as compared to someone else. Sometimes, the person believes that a process or criteria has been inefficiently or inconsistently applied to him or her as compared to another person.

There may be any number of reasons for the alleged differing treatment, yet only certain reasons are prohibited by federal civil rights laws. The reason for alleged differing treatment constitutes the complaint’s “basis” or, “bases,” in the case of multiple reasons of discrimination.

Why is the “basis” of a discrimination complaint important to the Equal Opportunity (EO) professional? It is one of the critical factors used in determining whether a violation of applicable civil rights laws has been alleged. While it is true that any form of discriminatory conduct or preferential treatment is offensive and unfair, not all conduct is illegal.


Federally-assisted programs and activities

Prohibited bases of discrimination in federally-assisted programs and activities are established by statute. For example, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that race, color, and national origin are illegal bases of discrimination. Disability is another prohibited basis of discrimination pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age—any age.

While the foregoing statutes set forth prohibited bases of discrimination across the board in federally-assisted programs and activities, there are certain statutes delineating additional prohibited bases of discrimination, which are applicable to specific types of programs and activities. For instance, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in federally-assisted educational programs and activities. And, one of the most expansive civil rights laws applies to certain workforce development programs and activities. Notably, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 prohibits discrimination on the previously-mentioned bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and gender. And, it contains the following additional prohibited bases of discrimination: religion, political affiliation or belief, citizenship, and WIA-participant status.

To illustrate the concept of basis and its importance, we’ll look at a couple of examples. First, let’s assume that Michelle wants to enroll in a GED program at a nearby college, which receives WIA-related funding. The admissions officer of the college does not permit Michelle to complete the enrollment form because Michelle has been pregnant five times in the past seven years. Michelle files a complaint. Here, Michelle has filed a complaint alleging gender-based discrimination; that is, Michelle alleges that she is subjected to discrimination (not allowed to enroll) because of her history of pregnancies and, since pregnancy is unique to women, she alleges gender-based discrimination. Since the college operates federally-assisted educational programs and activities, it is governed by Title IX, which prohibits gender-based discrimination. Moreover, gender-based discrimination is prohibited under WIA as well.

Now, let’s turn to Joe, who alleges that he is being denied WIA-funded on-the-job-training because he is homeless. Take another look at the prohibited “bases” set forth in the civil rights laws we have reviewed, including WIA. You will note that “homelessness” is not listed. Undoubtedly, discrimination against a person because s/he is homeless is offensive and unfair, but the EO professional does not have authority to investigate Joe’s complaint under applicable federal civil rights laws because his complaint does not allege a basis of discrimination prohibited by those laws.

If you are an EO professional, then you should know the federal civil rights laws that apply to your federally-assisted programs and activities. Review these laws to determine the prohibited “bases” of discrimination. If you receive a discrimination complaint, you will need to ensure that the alleged basis of discrimination is, in fact, prohibited by one or more civil rights laws governing your programs and activities.

In the workplace

If you are an EEO/AA/HR professional in the workplace, you will need to know the federal, state, and local civil rights laws applicable to workplace discrimination. As with laws governing federally-assisted programs and activities, civil rights laws governing the workplace will delineate certain prohibited “bases” of discrimination. These workplace “bases” include age (over 40 years old), disability, equal compensation, genetic information, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), race, color, and religion.

As an example, 46-year-old Mario alleges he was transferred to a less desirable office location and, recently, has been excluded from monthly management meetings as compared to a 28-year-old colleague who continues to attend the meetings and occupies highly, sought-after office location in the company. Here, Mario has filed an age-based discrimination complaint, and you would have authority to investigate that complaint under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

On the other hand, Joan files a discrimination complaint alleging that her supervisor does not like her because she is vocal in her disagreement with the supervisor’s policies. This complaint does not allege any “basis” of discrimination prohibited by federal or state civil rights laws. Notably, “personality conflicts,” “policy differences,” or “disagreements” are not among the prohibited bases of discrimination in the workplace. As a result, you would not have authority to investigate Joan’s complaint.

Conclusion

It will save you time to make a list of the prohibited “bases” of discrimination under the civil rights laws applicable to your federally-assisted programs and activities, and/or to your workplace. This, in turn, will help you quickly assess whether a complaint alleges illegal discrimination.

About the author

Seena Foster, award-winning civil rights author and Principal of the discrimination consulting firm, Title VI Consulting, LLP in Alexandria, Virginia, provides expertise and guidance in the areas of civil rights compliance and discrimination complaint investigations related to the delivery of federally-assisted programs and activities. Her customers include state and local governments, colleges and universities, private companies, private counsel, and non-profit organizations. You may contact her at seena@titleviconsulting.com, or visit her web site at www.titleviconsulting.com for additional information regarding the services and resources she offers.

By way of background in this area, in 2003, Ms. Foster served as a Senior Policy Analyst to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center (CRC). In that capacity, she led a team of equal opportunity specialists to conduct disability-based technical assistance reviews of One-Stop centers, and she assisted the CRC’s leadership in preparing for limited English proficiency-based compliance reviews. Ms. Foster also analyzed and weighed witness statements and documents to prepare numerous final determinations for signature by the CRC Director, which resolved discrimination complaints under a variety of federal civil rights laws such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act. In 2006, Ms. Foster received the Secretary of Labor’s Equal Employment Opportunity Award in recognition of “exceptional efforts to ensure that individuals with disabilities have full access to employment and related services and benefits at the Nation’s One-Stop Career Centers.” And, at the request of the CRC, Ms. Foster served as a popular workshop speaker at national equal opportunity forums co-sponsored by the CRC and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. Her presentations covered topics such as the WIA Section 188 disability checklist, conducting discrimination complaint investigations and writing final determinations, and conducting investigations of allegations involving harassment and hostile environment.

With a passion for ensuring nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in the delivery of federally-assisted programs and activities, Ms. Foster remains highly active in the field through her series of on-demand webcasts for equal opportunity professionals as well as through her mediation services, training, and assistance developing policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with applicable federal civil rights laws. Her training in the areas of compliance and complaint investigations has been described as “dynamic,” “hitting the nail on the head,” “well-organized,” and “informative.” And, her award-winning book on conducting discrimination complaint investigations is viewed as “eye-opening” and “the best on the market.” In 2007, Ms. Foster was certified as a mediator by the Virginia Supreme Court, and later obtained “Federal Workplace Mediation” certification through the Northern Virginia Mediation Service.

In her local community, she volunteers at Carpenter’s Shelter in Alexandria, Virginia, and serves on its Development Committee and Major Donors and Partners Subcommittee. In addition, Ms. Foster serves on the Economic Opportunities Commission for Alexandria, Virginia, which addresses availability of housing and jobs for economically-disadvantaged persons. In 2013, Ms. Foster received the City of Alexandria’s “Joan White Grass Roots Service Award” for her commitment of time and effort “working to improve the lives of the homeless as well as advocating their needs and the mission of Carpenter’s Shelter in the community.” She is a member of the Discrimination Law and Human Rights Law Committees of the International Bar Association. And, in November 2011, Ms. Foster was selected as a lifetime member of the Cambridge Who’s Who among Executives, Professionals, and Entrepreneurs based on her “accomplishments, talents, and knowledge in the area of civil rights.”

Ms. Foster received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, and she has a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University Law School.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 16, 2014)

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

For more information on any of the following articles, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Assistant Secretary Martinez Promotes Diversity and Inclusion at ADP

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez was the featured presenter in payroll services provider ADP’s Diversity & Inclusion Speaker Series at the company’s headquarters in New Jersey on May 15. The Speaker Series showcases individuals who demonstrate a true commitment to diversity and inclusion. Martinez’s remarks highlighted effective workplace practices for retaining the talents of all employees, including workers with disabilities, as well as the importance of diverse perspectives in the workplace.

Join the Conversation about Integrating Universal Design in Social Media

Members of the public are invited to participate in an online dialogue to continue the conversation between the disability community and the social media industry on the importance of technology accessibility and usability, and to encourage universal design in the development of workplace technology products. Co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the National Council on Disability, the event — akin to a “virtual town hall” — begins on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, May 15, and ends on May 30. Titled “Advancing Accessibility and Inclusion in Social Media — The Tech Industry Perspective,” the event is the second in a series of three online events on social media accessibility. Participants are also asked to consider the input received from the first dialogue in the series, “Advancing Accessibility and Inclusion in Social Media — The User Experience,” which generated user-driven, creative solutions and recommendations for making social media features and services more accessible. An archive of the first dialogue is available for viewing on ePolicyWorks.

Employment Matters: A Conversation with Steve Nissen at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) — National Capital Chapter

In a May 12 post on the Ask JAN Blog, Job Accommodation Network Lead Consultant Kim Cordingly reported on a conversation she had with Steve Nissen, Senior Director, Employment and Community Programs, National Multiple Sclerosis Society — National Capital Chapter. Cordingly and Nissen highlighted some new and updated resources available through NMSS that focus on employment. They also discussed challenges for people with MS in the workplace.

EEOC Seeks Public Input on Regulations Requiring Federal Agencies to Be ‘Model Employers’ of Individuals with Disabilities

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that seeks public comments on potential revisions to the regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law governs employment of individuals with disabilities by the federal government, including the requirement that federal agencies be “model employers” of individuals with disabilities. The EEOC welcomes input from federal agencies, individuals, employers, advocacy groups, agency stakeholders, and other interested parties on how it can amend its regulations to clarify the federal government’s obligation to be a model employer of individuals with disabilities. The ANPRM is now available on the Federal Register website. Responses must be submitted by 5:00 pm EDT on Monday, July 14, 2014.

Registration is Open for the May 19 Boston Forum for the White House Summit on Working Families

On June 23, the White House, the Department of Labor, and the Center for American Progress will host a Summit on Working Families to set an agenda for a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans. Leading up to the Summit, the Department of Labor is hosting regional forums across the United States to identify initiatives that benefit America’s working families, businesses and economy. These discussions will help inform the national Summit, which will build momentum around key policy goals and best practices to help both workers and businesses succeed. The next forum will be held on May 19 in Boston, and registration is open until May 17.

Campaign for Disability Employment Films New PSA

And… ACTION! Last week was an exciting one for the Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE), as shooting got underway for its new public service announcement (PSA) to be released in the fall. The CDE’s previous two PSAs, “I Can” and “Because,” both received tremendous response for their positive portrayal of the skills and talents of people with disabilities of all ages. The CDE is funded by ODEP and supported by several leading disability and business organizations.

USBLN Disability Supplier Diversity Program Seeks Service-Disabled Veteran Business Owners

Many USBLN® business members have supplier diversity programs and want to include disability and service-disabled veterans-owned firms in supply chains. Typically suppliers who want to be included in these programs are required to have certification by an approved certifying agency. The USBLN® Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the nation’s leading third-party certifier of disability-owned business enterprises, including service-disabled veterans-owned businesses. Currently, the USBLN® is redefining DSDP qualifiers for service-disabled veterans. Those who are interested in participating in the DSDP must complete the application form and submit a processing fee of $200, and must meet the following requirements: 51% ownership, management and control of the business, U.S. citizenship and business formation in the U.S.

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Highights Accomplishments and New Records for 2013

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division today released its accomplishments report for 2013. This report supplements the division’s first accomplishments report, issued last year, on the division’s work during the first four years of Attorney General Eric Holder’s leadership. In the division’s 57th year, its substantial caseload reflects the persistence of civil rights challenges that create barriers to equality and freedom. But in 2013, the division continued to set new records for numbers of cases and to reach first-of-their-kind agreements in a number of areas. Through its enforcement efforts, the division works to fight discrimination and protect the civil and constitutional rights of people across the country.

The division’s 2013 accomplishments report highlights its work to advance three core principles: expanding opportunity for all, safeguarding the fundamental infrastructure of democracy and protecting the most vulnerable among us.

“Last year, the Civil Rights Division worked to safeguard the most fundamental rights of American democracy, to extend the promise of equality and opportunity, and to advance the cause of justice that has defined this country since its earliest days,” said Attorney General Holder. “I commend the dedicated men and women of the Civil Rights Division for their leadership on these critical efforts. Their work is exemplary and in many cases groundbreaking. It goes to the heart of who we are as a nation and as a people. And that’s why it continues to be a top priority for this Department of Justice: because we are, and will always be, firmly committed to overcoming persistent threats as well as new challenges in order to ensure equal justice under law.”

“Over the course of 2013, the Civil Rights Division continued the impressive track record it initiated during the first four years of Attorney General Holder’s leadership,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “But for all that the division has accomplished, much work remains. The division remains committed to meeting the next generation of civil rights challenges and to combating discrimination in all its forms. We look forward to an even more productive 2014.”

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 9, 2014)

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Fostering A Culture of Inclusion – Assistant Secretary Martinez’s Blog

Helping federal contractors create an inclusive work environment for people with disabilities was the focus of Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez’s May 7 post on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog site. “We now stand at the ready to help federal contractors understand how to institute inclusive policies and practices that will assist them in complying with the rules,” said Martinez, referring to the historic updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act that took effect last month. Martinez also shared ODEP’s technical assistance resources, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN), which provide employers with free, expert guidance on strategies that help promote a disability-inclusive workplace culture.

Assistant Secretary Martinez Speaks to Southwest and Rocky Mountain Industry Liaison Group

On May 1, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez addressed the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Industry Liaison Group Conference, an annual gathering of federal contractors. Martinez shared a variety of best practices for complying with the new updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) regulations. “These rules are game-changers,” said Martinez, who pointed to a range of tools and resources from the U.S. Department of Labor that can assist employers in complying with the new rules.

National Council on Disability Welcomes Assistant Secretary Martinez

At the National Council on Disability’s spring quarterly meeting in Berkeley, CA, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez addressed NCD appointees and about 100 service providers, policymakers and disability advocates. Martinez provided an overview of the U.S. Department of Labor’s disability employment efforts, including new rules for federal contractors and initiatives related to integrated employment, transitioning youth, aging workers and accessible technology.

School Registration Now Open for 2015 Workforce Recruitment Program

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. Annual interviews with students are conducted at the nation’s top colleges and universities during the fall semester. To participate in the WRP, a school must be a degree-granting college or university that is accredited by one of the Regional or National Institutional Accrediting Agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools must be registered to participate by a member of the faculty or staff. Students cannot register their schools for the program. Registration is open through May 30, 2014.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Publishes Workplace Flexibility Fact Sheet

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has released the “Workplace Flexibility: A Strategic Business Approach for an Inclusive Workplace” fact sheet. This new resource provides many private-sector business examples on the benefits of workplace flexibility as well as how the federal government is using this business approach. The fact sheet addresses how workplace flexibility strategies can directly or indirectly help employers meet the goals of many federal regulations. A link to ODEP’s Workplace Flexibility Toolkit is provided to assist employers with implementing flexible workplace policies and practices.

JAN Federal Contractor Winter Webcast Series Available for Viewing

The Job Accommodation Network’s Federal Contractor Winter Webcast Series is now available in the JAN archives. Originally recorded in January, February, and March 2014, these 90 minute Webcasts cover Section 503 basics and practical tips, making online application systems accessible, and complying with Section 503 and the ADA in the application/interview stage.

Ensure Productivity: Reasonable Accommodation Procedures – FDWC News Hour Webinar – May 21, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT

This FDWC News Hour webinar describes an effective, no frills practice so that all federal employees can perform at the highest of standards. Providing reasonable accommodations combines effective written procedures for making and processing requests with a proactive and agile framework. Federal employees with disabilities are routinely informed of their rights to receive accommodations, and have the ability to learn about, select, accept, or reject accommodations to meet their unique needs. Presenters include speakers from NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Job Accommodation Network. The session, to be held May 21, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT, will include time for Q&A. Registration is open to individuals with a federal government issued email address.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Releases START-UP Report

Self-Employment for People with Disabilities” is the final report of the START-UP initiative, a 2007 three year grant project to identify policies and practices then in place that either made it difficult for individuals with disabilities to become self-employed or supported them in becoming self-employed. The report describes the barriers experienced by the grantees, the self-employment models tested, the achievements of the grant programs, and case studies of several individuals with disabilities who successfully became self-employed. The report also makes recommendations for adoption by agencies and individuals for realizing self-employment goals.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (May 2, 2014)

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Expect. Employ. Empower. – National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2014 Theme

“Expect. Employ. Empower.” is the 2014 official theme of National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and honors the many diverse contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. “We all have a role to play in – and benefit to gain from – increasing opportunities for meaningful employment for people with disabilities,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. “This year’s theme encapsulates this in three powerful words. It conveys that advancing disability employment is about much more than just hiring. It’s about creating a continuum of inclusion. And the first step on this continuum is expectation.”

March Beyond Compliance – Society for Human Resource Management Blog

In a blog entitled “March Beyond Compliance” posted on the Society for Human Resource Management’s We Know Next site, Christine Walters focuses on the importance of diversity and inclusion to the success of businesses. The blog features information about and a link to a webinar on the topic presented by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network and SHRM.

Job Accommodation Network Publishes Quarterly E-News

The JAN E-News is a quarterly online newsletter that provides information about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and Webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities. This edition includes articles on applying the ADA in a global economy, job application/interview stage dos and don’ts, autism awareness, and more.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Releases START-UP Report

“Self-Employment for People with Disabilities” is the final report of the START-UP initiative, a 2007 three year grant project to identify policies and practices then in place that either made it difficult for individuals with disabilities to become self-employed or supported them in becoming self-employed. The report describes the barriers experienced by the grantees, the self-employment models tested, the achievements of the grant programs, and case studies of several individuals with disabilities who successfully became self-employed. The report also makes recommendations for adoption by agencies and individuals for realizing self-employment goals.

LEAD Center Issues Employment, Health Care & Disability Policy Update

The April edition of this monthly update, focusing on the intersection of employment, disability and health care policy, features stories on the closing of the initial ACA Open Enrollment period, the recent settlement of the landmark Rhode Island segregated employment lawsuit, and various reports on topics such as housing, Medicaid eligibility, and family support for people with disabilities.

Registration is Open for the May 12 New York Forum for the White House Summit on Working Families

On June 23, the White House, the Department of Labor, and the Center for American Progress will host a Summit on Working Families to set an agenda for a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans. Leading up to the Summit, the Department of Labor is hosting regional forums across the United States to identify initiatives that benefit America’s working families, businesses and economy. These discussions will help inform the national Summit, which will build momentum around key policy goals and best practices to help both workers and businesses succeed. The next forum will be held on May 12 in New York, and registration is now open.

Access Board Launches Online Guides to the ADA and ABA Standards

The U.S. Access Board has new online guides about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards. The illustrated guides explain the requirements of the ADA and ABA standards, answer common questions, and include recommendations for best practices. The first installment of the guides covers the first three chapters of the standards. Guides covering other sections of the standards will be released at a later date.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases Youth Employment Rate Numbers for April 2014

Employment data for youth with and without disabilities is obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.