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.