For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Jewish Federations of North America Hosts Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheehy

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Jennifer Sheehy addressed the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly on November 12 in Washington, DC, speaking on a panel to an audience of more than 3,000 professionals and philanthropists. Sheehy discussed the importance of disability inclusion from not only a programming but also employment perspective, emphasizing how individual federations’ efforts to increase workplace inclusion internally can have a strong effect on other organizations.

Invitation to Participate in Online Dialogue on Disability Inclusion & Section 503

Now through November 23, members of the public are invited to participate in a national online dialogue, “Advancing the Conversation on Disability Inclusion: Strategies for Achieving the Goals of Section 503.” Hosted by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and its Employer Technical Assistance Center, the event — akin to a virtual, nationwide brainstorming session — is designed to gather insight into successful strategies federal contractors are using to achieve their goals under the new Section 503 rules. Information gathered through the dialogue will be used to further develop and enhance technical assistance materials to help more covered employers foster a disability-inclusive workplace culture.

“Ban the Box”: Good for People with Disabilities

In a November 9 post on the US Department of Labor’s blog site, Day Al-Mohamed, senior policy advisor in the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), discussed the “Ban the Box” campaign and its effect on people with disabilities. “Ban the Box” aims to persuade employers to remove the question “Have you been convicted?” from job applications and delay that inquiry until the final stages of the hiring process. This month, President Obama took an historic step by directing the Office of Personnel Management to take action to ban the box in federal employment. In her blog, Al-Mohamed highlighted a program in California that, as part of ODEP’s Add Us In initiative, has spent the last five years focusing on providing employment services to difficult-to-place candidates with disabilities. That includes those who have a history of addiction and other mental health disorders, which are so often intertwined with homelessness and incarceration. Noted Al-Mohamed, “Given that many individuals with criminal records also have mental health disorders, banning the box has an important ancillary effect: it can also be a key strategy in helping to raise the employment rate — and thus economic self-sufficiency — of people with disabilities.”

Beyond NDEAM: Year-Round Employer Strategies for Advancing Disability Inclusion

Although National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), celebrated in October, has ended for 2015, there are many ways to highlight the importance of recruiting, hiring, and retaining people with disabilities in the workforce year-round. ODEP has compiled a list of ten ways to foster the NDEAM spirit throughout the year.

American Chemical Society Presents “Science and the Congress Project” Briefing

Since 1995, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has operated the “Science & the Congress Project” to educate and inform Members of Congress and their staffs on the importance of science and technology to solving national challenges. The Science & the Congress Project has conducted well over 100 congressional briefings on important and timely policy topics, relying on panels of knowledgeable and diverse experts to provide comprehensive, balanced presentations about chosen topics, and to increase the level of scientific and technological literacy on Capitol Hill. On November 18, 12:00-1:30 PM EST, at the Russell Senate Office Building, ACS will present “Americans with Disabilities: Growing the Workforce” to discuss the importance of hiring people with disabilities in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and healthcare fields.

Social Security Administration Issues RFP for Early Intervention Mental Health Demonstration Study

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a contractor to implement and evaluate an Early Intervention Mental Health Demonstration Study (EIMHDS). Responses are due by December 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM EST.