According to a National Survey of Consumer Attitudes towards Companies that Hire People with Disabilities, 92% of the American public view companies that hire people with disabilities more favorably than those that do not. And, 87% of the public would prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with disabilities. Studies such as this one are very valuable in making the business case to employers as to why employers should hire people with disabilities. What are some of the facts, statistics, or things you present to employers to help them understand the benefits of hiring workers with disabilities? Share your information and experiences in making a return on investment (ROI) case for hiring disabled workers here!
People with disabilities can work and want to work. Given the growing body of evidence that demonstrates that workers with disabilities meet or exceed the job performance of co-workers without disabilities, the continuing high unemployment rate and low labor force participation rate of people with disabilities deprive the nation of a valuable pool of talent. Increasing the employment of people with disabilities produces significant benefits to the economy, the nation, and people with disabilities themselves.
The primary focus of the survey was to determine how knowledgeable HR professionals are regarding various governmental incentives for hiring individuals with disabilities. In addition, the survey sought to find out how many companies actually take advantage of employer incentives and who in companies make decisions about using them. A secondary focus of the survey was to assess HR professionals’ attitudes and opinions regarding the impact of the ADA on the employment of individuals with disabilities; determine the level of effort companies expend in recruiting individuals with disabilities; and gain insight into senior managements' personal experiences with disabilities. Furthermore, the survey sought the opinions of HR professionals on how best to improve the employment of individuals with disabilities
Webinar: Explores serving individuals with disabilities in a demand-driven system and ways to be responsive to employers by promoting the employment of people with disabilities as an untapped labor source of qualified workers. It shares practices for making the business case for hiring people with disabilities and working with employers. Resources such as web-sites, business cases, fact sheets, employer toolkits, and other materials to use with employers when promoting the recruitment and retention of people disabilities are presented.
“Diversity” may often be associated solely with individuals who represent multi-cultural minority groups. However, it is representative of individuals who exhibit a myriad of unique and differing attributes, characteristics and life experiences. Diversity is evident in aspects of race, culture, religion, age, language, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, class and any traits which make us different from one another. Along with the nation’s growing diversity is a rise in globalization, in which communities, cultures and economies around the world have become more interconnected through the expansion of technology, communication and trade. As a result, all types of associations and the public sector must aim for the highest quality and most effective workforce to compete in a global marketplace.
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced two final rules to improve hiring and employment of veterans and for people with disabilities. One rule updates requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; the other updates those under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For more than 40 years these laws have required federal contractors and subcontractors to affirmatively recruit, hire, train and promote qualified veterans and people with disabilities respectively. "In a competitive job market, employers need access to the best possible employees," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "These rules make it easier for employers to tap into a large, diverse pool of qualified candidates."
On March 15, 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ)released a new publication, “ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business.” This publication is designed to assist small businesses understand the new and updated accessibility requirements. In addition, DOJ is announcing the release of a new publication explaining when the various provisions of its amended regulations will take effect. Both documents are available tomorrow on DOJ's ADA website, www.ada.gov.
The US Business Leadership Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently issued a publication, "Leading Practices on Disbaility Inclusion." Successful businesses recognize that incorporating disability in all diversity and inclusion practices positively impacts their companies’ bottom line. Corporate CEOs understand that it is cost-effective to recruit and retain the best talent regardless of disability. Chief technology officers know that technologies that are usable by all employees lead to greater productivity. Senior purchasing managers recognize the economic benefits of broadening their supplier bases to include diverse categories, such as disability owned businesses, and savvy marketing directors eagerly embrace opportunities to increase their companies’ share of new markets. While businesses sometimes encounter serious challenges as they seek to implement inclusion strategies, many employers have overcome these hurdles with robust and creative practices. Through the Leading Practices on Disability Inclusion initiative, the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN?) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce invited business leaders to share their successful disability inclusion strategies. This publication highlights successful strategies that can be used by businesses of all sizes to create a more inclusive workplace, marketplace, and supply chain. Real-life examples, such as these, are important to help businesses realize the wide range of opportunities available and the potential for replicating success. The companies and leaders featured in this publication provide valuable insights on the successes they have realized through the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of their corporate enterprises as well as in their marketing. In addition to these effective strategies, an assessment is included as a tool to initiate or enhance your company’s disability-friendly corporate practices.
NTAR issued a Brief entitled, "Integrating Job Opportunities for People with Disabilities into State and Regional Economic and Workforce Development Strategies," Across the nation, state and regional economic and workforce development officials have begun to work together more systematically and strategically in an effort to better address the economic needs of a geographical area, including creating jobs for local residents. A new perspective has emerged that recognizes the need for a skilled and ready “talent pipeline” to support local economic growth. This Brief offers some background on recent trends in economic and workforce development strategies, and highlights two regions that have been piloting initiatives to include opportunities for people with disabilities in their regional activities.
Workforce3One is an e-learning, knowledge sharing webspace that offers workforce professionals, employers, economic development, and education professionals a dynamic network featuring innovative workforce solutions. Online learning events, resource information, and tools help organizations learn how to develop strategies that enable individuals and businesses to be successful in the 21st century economy. Workforce3 One offers online learning events (webinars) that highlight promising practices and provides a space to share ideas. The Disabilities Team, which oversees the Disability Employment Initiative, and previously the Disability Program Navigator Initiative, within the ETA Division of Adult Services is hosting disability- and employment-related Workforce3 One webinars through the month of June. The Disability and Employment Community of Practice will be spotlighting a few that include information, resources and strategies to help the workforce system provide more meaningful employment opportunities to job seekers with disabilities and other challenges to employment. In this spotlight, we highlight some promising practices to help the public workforce system connect with the business sector on the advantages of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Workforce3One is an e-learning, knowledge sharing webspace that offers workforce professionals, employers, economic development, and education professionals a dynamic network featuring innovative workforce solutions. Online learning events, resource information, and tools help organizations learn how to develop strategies that enable individuals and businesses to be successful in the 21st century economy. Workforce3 One offers online learning events (webinars) that highlight promising practices and provides a space to share ideas. The Disabilities Team, which oversees the Disability Employment Initiative, and previously the Disability Program Navigator Initiative, within the ETA Division of Adult Services is hosting disability- and employment-related Workforce3 One webinars through the month of June. The Disability and Employment Community of Practice will be spotlighting a few that include information, resources and strategies to help the workforce system provide more meaningful employment opportunities to job seekers with disabilities and other challenges to employment. In this spotlight, we highlight a national “free” resource that workforce professionals can tap into to learn more about resources and workplace accommodations for persons with disabilities.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has identified two main factors for the deficit in STEM workers in the U.S. First, the STEM labor force is rapidly turning over as baby boomers retire. Second, too few U.S, students are preparing for STEM careers, especially engineering. Each of these is occurring while the U.S. business community is calling for a doubling of the number of annual STEM graduates by 2015. In addition to graduates with bachelor’s degrees, there will be a need for more STEM technicians with associate degrees and certificates. Unfortunately, many U.S. students arrive at a decisive point in their education without the requisite foundational skills to pursue these opportunities. A recent report from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, "Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century,"posit that career and technical education is an essential component in attempts to enhance the employability of American students. This can be assisted through the adoption of career exploration, career clusters, career pathways, rigorous programs of study, and the integration of academic learning, career education, and technology. In addition, encouraging students to pursue STEM pathways early enough in their schooling will help to build interest in STEM careers, leading them to acquire the academic preparation essential for higher- level positions in these occupations. The issue of promoting STEM training and employment is critical for persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are under-represented in STEM training and careers.
As of July 2011, there is a 40 percent gap between the employment rate of people without disabilities and that of people with disabilities. The Disability Employment Initiative, or DEI, is a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy and its Employment Training Administration to facilitate systemic change in the workforce system in order to “increase the effective and meaningful participation of people with disabilities in the workforce” (DOL, 2010). One year ago, nine states were awarded DEI grants and set forth to change policy, practices, and, ultimately, culture, as they relate to the employment of people with disabilities. In tandem with this effort, a comprehensive evaluation was launched to maximize this opportunity to learn from each state’s implementation of the DEI. As DEI progresses, the evaluation will also be able to answer key questions related to the initiative’s outcomes and impacts. This first synthesis report on the Evaluation of the Disability Employment Initiative reviews DEI evaluation activities through July 31, 2011.
On January 3, 2012, DOL/ETA issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) No. 21-11, "Strategies to Meet One-Stop Career Centers' Business and Job-Seeker Customer Needs for Employment-Related Transportation Services." The purpose of this TEN is to: 1) provide successful strategies to the public workforce system for connecting individuals with disabilities and other multiple challenges to employment with transportation to jobs and training; and 2) help business access a diverse workforce. Transportation is a key asset for future workforce planning, business creation, and economic development. On an individual level, transportation can sometimes be overlooked as a critical service for jobseeekers, employees, or individuals needing training.
On February 16, 2012, GAO 12-419T, GAO issued a Report entitled,"Innovative Collaborations Between Workforce Boards and Employers Helped Meet Urgent Workforce Needs." This testimony discusses collaboration between workforce boards, employers, and others. Workforce board officials and their partners in the 14 initiatives cited a range of factors that facilitated building innovative collaborations. Almost all of the collaborations grew out of efforts to address urgent workforce needs of multiple employers in a specific sector, rather than focusing on individual employers. The partners in these initiatives made extra effort to engage employers so they could tailor services such as jobseeker assessment, screening, and training to address specific employer needs. In all the initiatives, partners remained engaged in these collaborations because they continued to produce a wide range of reported results, such as an increased supply of skilled labor, job placements, reduced employer recruitment and turnover costs, and averted layoffs. While these boards were successful in their efforts, they cited some challenges to collaboration that they needed to overcome. Some boards were challenged to develop comprehensive strategies to address diverse employer needs with WIA funds. For example, some boards’ staff said that while their initiatives sought to meet employer needs for higher-skilled workers through skill upgrades, WIA funds can be used to train current workers only in limited circumstances, and the boards used other funding sources to do so. Staff from most, but not all, boards also said that WIA performance measures do not reflect their efforts to engage employers, and many boards used their own measures to assess their services to employers.
The NTAR Leadership Center has recently released a report, Using Braided Funding Strategies to Advance Employer Hiring Initiatives that Include People with Disabilities, on using braided funding strategies to advance employment of people with disabilities Using Braided Funding Strategies to Advance Employer Hiring Initiatives that Include People with Disabilities. Many state and local disability employment services are operated by a number of different public and nonprofit agencies (e.g., the vocational rehabilitation system, the local school system, the One-Stop Career Center system, and many community-based employment service providers). These organizations often find it necessary to access funds from more than one program, agency, or funding stream. As a result, many program administrators and staff face the challenge of developing effective strategies to braid disability employment funding. This report profiles four employer-responsive programs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and Connecticut that have implemented braided funding strategies to support hiring initiatives with key business partners. These cases demonstrate advantages to braided funding strategies, particularly where participating businesses are able to deal with a single point of contact for funding and disability employment services.
Learn how to develop effective partnerships in order to build Career Pathways in your community, region, or State. This newly released guide provides a step-by-step outline, with integral tools, that you can use when convening workforce, education, human and social services, employers, organized labor and other partners.
On April 11, 2012, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, issued a publication entitled, "Promoting Workforce Strategies for Reintegrating Ex-Offenders." When formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into the community, they face a number of barriers to employment. By providing ex-offenders with the supports and services they need to find and maintain employment, states can reduce recidivism. Participation in comprehensive education and employment programming while incarcerated and a continued connection to education and employment services after release have been shown to reduce recidivism. Using strategies such as progressive sanctions that hold ex-offenders accountable but that also keep them in the community connected to family and employment, can be just as effective, if not more effective, than a costly revocation. When ex-offenders are productively engaged in their communities, working and supporting their families, the community is safer and their families are more economically secure. According to the Pew Center on the States, there has not been significant improvement in the performance of corrections systems in many states despite the massive increase in corrections spending. More than 4 out of 10 adult offenders in the United States return to prison within three years of their release. This is not just significant for ex-offenders and their families but also for the communities in which they live and the taxpayers in the state. Strategies for Policy Makers 1.Enhance workforce preparation during incarceration. 2.Improve placement services. 3.Expand partnerships with employers. 4.Remove barriers to employment for ex-offenders. 5.Promote access to transportation by amending driving restrictions 6.Promote access to health care. 7.Support opportunities for affordable housing.
In April 2012, the New America Foundation issued "The Assets Report 2012: An Assessment of the Federal Asset-Building Budget." Excerpts... While recovery from the Great Recession appears be taking hold, economic hardship remains pervasive. Poverty is still on the rise and many families feel that the forces of recession have displaced them from the middle class. Expanding opportunities for upward mobility has become a common call. The spotlight remains focused on the American Dream, what it takes to achieve it, and the role of government in that process. We think of “success” as being able to raise a family, educate our children, buy a home, start a business, and live securely in our retirement years...Being able to save/accumulate assets is an essential foundation for success. Over time, these resources can be invested productively in ways that promote economic mobility and well-being. It is the mobility and resiliency features of savings and assets that justify the wide range of Federal policies and programs intended to promote their accumulation. In our calculations, direct spending programs and policies that are embedded in the tax code together account for $548 billion in pro-savings and asset building resources for fiscal year 2013. Given the scale of these commitments and the importance of their objectives, these policies deserve scrutiny to insure that these investments are achieving their intended outcomes. Our assessment of policy, however, reveals several fundamental inequities. The poorest Americans, who have had the most difficulty saving and for whom appropriate interventions would have the greatest impact, are instead offered less accessible or meaningful ways to accumulate assets compared to middle- and upper-income families. If we are to broaden savings and asset ownership, we must understand how the Federal government’s policy affects asset building for low and moderate-income Americans, including persons with disabilities.
Minnesota's career , education, and job resource Newsletter, ISEEK, just issued an article, entitled, "Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace: Do You or Your Co-Worker have a Hidden Disability?" This article gives examples of hidden disabilities (non-visible), information on disclosing non-visible disabilities (including the pros and cons, and when to disclose).
On April 17, 2012, DOL/ETA issued TEN No. 38-11, "Benefits of Collaborating Between State/Local Workforce Investment Boards and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program)." The purpose of this TEN is to encourgage the workforce system to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Commerce's MEP Program to provide assistance and support to small and medium-sized manufacturing firms with the ultimate goal of supporting economic growth while preserving and creating jobs.
The U.S. Census Bureau issued, "Americans with Disabilities, 2010, Census Bureau Report"(July 2012). About 56.7 million people, 19 percent of the population (nearly 1 in 5 people), had a disability in 2010 with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe. This report provides estimates of disability by status and type. According to the report, the total number of people with a disability increased by 2.2 million over the period, but the percentage remained statistically unchanged. Both the number and percentage with a severe disability increased, however. Likewise, the number and percentage needing assistance also both increased. The report shows that 41 percent of those age 21 to 64 with any disability were employed, compared with 79 percent of those with no disability. Along with the lower likelihood of having a job came the higher likelihood of experiencing persistent poverty; that is, continuous poverty over a 24-month period. Among people age 15 to 64 with severe disabilities, 10.8 percent experienced persistent poverty; the same was true for 4.9 percent of those with a nonsevere disability and 3.8 percent of those with no disability. The statistics are from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which contains supplemental questions on whether respondents had difficulty performing a specific set of functional and participatory activities. For many activities, if a respondent reported difficulty, a follow-up question was asked to determine the severity of the limitation, hence, the distinction between a “severe” and "nonsevere" disability. In addition to the statistics from this report, the Census Bureau also produces annual disability estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS). While the ACS uses a different definition of disability than in this report, it produces estimates of the population with disabilities at subnational geographies like states, counties, places and metropolitan areas.
The Kessler Foundation and the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development released a new research brief on disability and employment," "Strategies to Support Employer-Driven Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities." It explores a growing trend among employers to establish initiatives to increase the participation of workers with disabilities in their workplaces. These initiatives involve partnerships with local workforce and disability service organizations. Coordinated by a single agency (or small number of agencies), employers gain access to assistance and support services for recruitment, training, and job retention for employees with disabilities. This new brief, one in a series on disability and employment, examines the successful partnership initiatives that have enabled employers to hire people with disabilities. The brief profiles the following successful disability employment initiatives: 1. Walgreens Distribution Centers, which exceeded its target of hiring 30% of its Anderson, NC center's workforce through a partnership with disability service providers, and found that efficacy increased by 20%. 2.NOD's Bridges to Business program, which helped Lowe's establish a successful and sustainable hiring initiative for its distribution centers. 3.The Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services' Industry-Specific Training and Placement Program, which provided grants to five community rehabilitation providers to partner with major employers, eg, Lowe's, HomeGoods, Mohegan Sun Casino, CVS and Walgreens. 3. Wal-Mart's partnership with Project SEARCH, a school-to-work transition program, provides real-life work experiences that help young adults with disabilities explore careers and sample jobs that suit their skills and interests. 4.Reddwerks, a software company based in Austin, disability-friendly distribution management systems software has enabled employers to expand their pool of job candidates with disabilities.
On July 18, 2012, there was a Workforce3One webinar entitled,"Understanding the New Department of Labor Civil Rights Guidelines Governing Criminal Background Checks and Federally-Funded Workforce Development Programs." ETA Assistant Secretary was joined by DOL's Civil Rights Center and the Office of the Solicitor, as well as the National Employment Law Project, and the Oakland Private Industry, Inc. Reintegartion of fornerly incarcerated persons into communities is a priority for this Administration. Secretary Solis stated: "When someone serves time in our penal syutem, they should not face a lifetime sentence of unemployment when released..." DOL initiatives support reentry-Federal bonding protection for employers who hire people with a criminal record, reentry grants and programs and TEGL 31-11.
Accommodating Employees in Manufacturing Settings According to the U.S. Department of Labor, manufacturing accounts for 9% of all jobs in the United States. Productivity is up 40% as factories have adopted new technologies and production processes. As a result, the industry demands more skilled, better trained workers. For new workers with disabilities and as our working population ages, it is imperative to consider providing job accommodations to enhance the productivity of these valuable workers. The Job Accommodation Network(JAN)developed this publication as a way to share accommodation situations and solutions from manufacturing industry jobs. For a more in depth discussion, access JAN's publications at AskJAN.org/media/atoz.htm. To discuss an accommodation situation with a consultant, contact JAN directly.
On August 13, 2012, DOL/ETA issued TEN 5-12, "Online Career Tools Updates and Virtual Demonstrations." This TEN announces ETA's suite of online career tools for jobseekers, students, workforce professionals, and businesses, including CareerOneStop, Certification Finder, the Worker Reemployment Portal, the Veteran Reemployment Portal, mySkillsmyFuture, My Next Move, My Next Move for Veterans, and the Healthcare Virtual Career Network.
The Partnrship for Workplace Mental Health just issued, the "Business Case for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Literature Review." There is a compelling business case for effective treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. Access to quality mental health/addiction care - sometimes called behavioral health care - is essential because of the high prevalence of these conditions in the workplace and their impact on other health care costs and the corporate bottom line when left untreated. Thousands of clinical studies have shown a high degree of therapeutic effectiveness for mental health and substance use treatment and relapse prevention. There is solid evidence to support that businesses benefit from overall cost savings from medical and disability cost reduction and increased productivity when mental health/addiction treatment is provided. In the United States, 30 to 40 percent of the population experience mental health and substance use disorders at some point in their lives, with about half of these people (15% to 20%) requiring professional care each year. Close to ten percent of workers are classified as ?heavy alcohol users? who drink large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. The general prevalence of illicit drug use among U.S. workers is eight percent. There is also significant co-occurrence of mental disorders and substance disorders (up to 25%) and significant co-occurrence of mental and substance use disorders with other chronic medical conditions. Unlike most other costly health conditions, mental health and substance abuse disorders typically first take hold in adolescence or young adulthood and thus affect people in the prime of their working years.
The National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) will hold its annual Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, Sept. 10–16, 2012. The National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week is designed to raise public awareness of adult education and family literacy, assist adult learners in need of literacy services, leverage local resources, and support increased access to adult education and family literacy programs. The NCL works to advance adult education, family literacy, and English language acquisition in the U.S. by increasing public awareness for the need to increase funding and programs; by promoting effective public policy; and, by serving as an authoritative resource on national adult education issues. Adult education supports our nation’s priorities: individuals with more education are more likely to get and keep jobs, lift themselves out of poverty, reduce healthcare costs and take better care of their families. Education also better equips adults to support their children’s education and break cycles of illiteracy and poverty; and, helping people attain the basic skills and training they need to reach their goals not only benefits them but also their families and the nation. Keenan offered keynote addresses covering OVAE priorities on college completion, career pathways, teacher effectiveness and high-quality instruction. Visit the NCL website for more information on the coalition’s work, and Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, and to access their new adult education fact sheet.
This Guide was provides employers, human resource personnel, hiring managers and supervisors with relevant Federal, state and local level information around their legal obligations, along with resources that can assist in identifying, paying for, and implementing effective accommodation strategies, in hiring and/or retaining qualified employees with disabilities.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released annually updated findings on the costs and benefits of workplace accommodations. This JAN study has been on-going since 2004. The study results have consistently shown that the benefits employers receive from making workplace accommodations outweigh the cost. Employers reported that providing accommodations resulted in such benefits as retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers’ compensation and training costs, and improving company diversity. In addition, the employers in the study reported that a high percentage (57%) of accommodations cost nothing to make, while the rest typically cost around $500. Study findings include the following: 1. Of the employers who called JAN for accommodation information and solutions, most were doing so to retain or promote (83%) a current employee. 2. Of the employers who gave cost information related to accommodations they had provided, 336 out of 590 (57%) said the accommodations needed by employees cost nothing. Another 221 (37%) experienced a one-time cost. Only 24 (4%) said the accommodation resulted in an ongoing, annual cost to the company and 9 (2%) said the accommodation required a combination of one-time and annual costs. The typical one-time expenditure by employers was $500. 3. Employers who made accommodations for employees with disabilities reported multiple benefits as a result. The most frequently mentioned direct benefits were: (1) the accommodation allowed the company to retain a qualified employee, (2) the accommodation increased the worker’s productivity, and (3) the accommodation eliminated the costs of training a new employee.