Every October, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) leads the observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a nationwide campaign celebrating the skills and talents that workers with disabilities bring to our workplaces. In the past, we discussed reasonable accommodations, focused on empowering entrepreneurship, highlighted resources from the Spanish-speaking community, and looked at the wide array of employment research from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere. This month, we’re focusing on resources for employers, hiring managers, and human resources specialists to help them create and sustain an inclusive workplace.
First and foremost is the ADA National Network. Ten regional centers offer information, training, and technical assistance to employers and employees on their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. Find your local center or just call 800/949-4232 to speak with a specialist.The ADA National Network Centers also offer regular webinars on a wide range of topics such as Top Reasons to Hire an Applicant with a Disability (Oct 5th) and Hot Topics in Reasonable Accommodations (Oct 27).
Many individual NIDILRR-funded projects focus on improving employment outcomes for people across the disability and age spectrum, from young people with autism to older workers aging with and into disability. Here are some of the resources they’ve developed to help employers to support their employees with disabilities:
- Purchasing new office technology? The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment Outcomes for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired has a course, an Introduction to Technology Accessibility in the Workplace, developed by Aaron Preece and technical consultant Doug Bedsaul. The course discusses different types of technology that are traditionally inaccessible, and the additions and modifications that can be made to make it accessible to someone with a visual impairment.
- What are other employers doing to build their inclusive workforce? The RRTC on Employer Practices Related to Employment Outcomes Among Individuals with Disabilities surveyed human resources professionals to find out about their disability inclusive hiring practices and policies and what difference they really make. They also looked at the literature on this topic.
- Do you have an employee returning to work after a disability? Check out these important considerations for employers to consider for an employee returning to work after a stroke from the RRTC on Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals who Experience a Stroke, or this webinar on cancer and employment issues from the Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research.
- Are you reaching out to Veterans with disabilities? The ADA National Network has 10 tips to help you connect with qualified Vets in your area.
- Considering adding young people with disabilities to your team? See how the Pathways RTC integrated young people with serious mental health conditions into their project staff, including the challenges managers faced and how they addressed them.
- Wondering how to support your employees as they age? The New England ADA Regional Center’s Oce Harrison explained how universal design principles can help in a letter to the editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The NE ADA Center also laid out the need for accommodations and universal design in the workplace to support the “aging workforce.”
- Need more support to help your hiring managers and human resources (HR) staff? Turn to the Northeast ADA Regional Center and their Disability and HR: Tips for HR Professionals. Consider contacting the Northeast ADA Regional Center and ask about the Leading in a Disability Inclusive Workforce program, also called the Just-in-Time Toolkit. The 10 tools in the toolkit are based on disability-related situations or issues managers typically encounter in leading their work teams. The program is tailored to your company’s needs.
In addition to these, we cannot say enough great things about the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Browse their A to Z of Disabilities and Accommodations Library, search the Accommodations Database, or call one of their very helpful information specialists!
Curious about research in this area? Take a look at research on employers, hiring, and human resources from the NIDILRR community, as well as US and International research on the topic, available from our collection!