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.