For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.
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DOL Issues NPRM on Equal Employment Opportunity Regulations in Apprenticeship
The US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) administers registered apprenticeships under the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937. The existing equal employment opportunity (EEO) regulations for apprenticeships have not been updated since 1978. Updating, modernizing, and streamlining the rules will not only help employers to attract a large and more diverse applicant pool, but will also make it easier for sponsors to comply with the rules and will bring the rule in accord with the current landscape of civil rights statutes and developing case law. The existing regulations do not include nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements on the basis of disability. The proposed rule would add disability to the bases protected by the nondiscrimination requirement. It would also add disability as an element of sponsors’ affirmative action programs. Rather than each program conducting an availability analysis specific to its labor market, the proposal would establish a single, national goal that 7 percent of programs’ apprentices be individuals with disabilities. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) has been issued to solicit public comments on the proposed regulations.
ODEP Forms Alliance with Families and Work Institute
In an effort to promote inclusive workplaces that welcome the skills and talents of workers with disabilities, the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has signed an alliance agreement with the Families and Work Institute (FWI), a New York-based non-profit that conducts research to inform innovative solutions to the challenges facing today’s workplaces, families, and communities. The new alliance builds on ODEP’s past work with FWI, which included informing the development of the 2014 National Study of Employers, a joint effort between FWI and the Society for Human Resource Management as part of their “When Work Works” initiative. Together, ODEP and FWI worked to add questions to the study about workplace flexibility around job task, a proven strategy for increasing the employment of people with disabilities.
PEAT Publishes New Report on eRecruiting and Accessibility
ODEP’s Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has published a new report on its national survey on user experiences related to the accessibility of online job applications and other e-recruiting tools: “eRecruiting and Accessibility: Is HR Technology Hurting Your Bottom Line?” With most of today’s employers using some form of web recruiting to evaluate and hire job applicants, it’s more important than ever for organizations to understand why accessibility matters in the recruiting and hiring phases of the employment lifecycle.
NCWD/Youth Releases Career Development Guide for States
NCWD/Youth has released the “Designing Statewide Career Development Strategies and Programs” guide to support states in their efforts to increase college and career readiness among all youth, including youth with disabilities. Statewide implementation of quality comprehensive career development programs and activities is a promising strategy that states can use to achieve the dual goals of college and career readiness for all high school students. This guide provides a primer to quality youth career development systems and an implementation guide including resources, promising practices, and challenges encountered by states that have implemented career development programming in their schools.
The Impact of Employment on the Health Status and Health Care Costs of Working-age People with Disabilities
The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s LEAD Center has released a policy brief titled “The Impact of Employment on the Health Status and Health Care Costs of Working-age People with Disabilities.” This policy brief concludes that employment seems to have a protective impact on health and thus establishes that an added benefit of investing in the employment of people with disabilities – beyond the impact on their income and the possible savings from various social protection programs – would be to lower public expenditures on health care.
Women’s Bureau and Small Business Administration Release Issue Briefs on Workplace Flexibility
The US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau (WB), in collaboration with the Small Business Administration (SBA), has published two Issue Briefs on the subject of workplace flexibility. The “Workplace Flexibility Issue Brief” outlines the business case in supporting flexible workplace policies and highlights workplace flexibility options for small business owners to implement; the “Workplace Flexibility Initiatives Issue Brief” lists the range of workplace flexibility options for small business owners to implement.
Social Security Administration Extends Public Comment Period Regarding Adult Disability Determination Process
The Social Security Administration (SSA) published a September 14 advance notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register regarding Vocational Factors of Age, Education, and Work Experience in the Adult Disability Determination Process, and solicited public comments. SSA provided a 60-day comment period ending on November 13, 2015. SSA has extended the comment period to December 14, 2015, noting “the extension of the comment date accommodates and facilitates public comments we expect in response to the National Disability Forum we are sponsoring on Friday, November 20, 2015. During the forum, we are hosting a moderator-led discussion entitled: The Realities of Work for Individuals with Disabilities: Impact of Age, Education, and Work Experience.”