A Tool for Raising Disability Awareness — Just in Time

Research consistently indicates that the greatest barriers people with disabilities face when it comes to employment aren’t architectural, but rather attitudinal. Although most employers report wanting to be welcoming of the skills and talents of qualified people with disabilities, many simply don’t have the exposure or awareness to foster a disability-inclusive environment.

Now, a new resource from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) can help employers, especially small business employers, and their employees gain or brush up on disability etiquette and awareness. Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence and Competence is a half-hour multimedia training module that starts with the basics, reminding participants that it’s not uncommon to be intimidated by things that are unfamiliar, but that in reality, disability is a common experience most people are touched by in one way or another.

Also addressed are five indicators that a company’s doors are open to people with disabilities, not just physically, but also virtually; tips for communicating with and about people with disabilities; and good practices for managing individuals with disabilities, which for the most part mirror good practices for managing all employees.

Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence and Competence is the latest module in JAN’s “Just-in-Time” training series. Fully accessible, these “turn-key” curricula offer an easy way for organizations to demonstrate a commitment to a disability-friendly workplace — and diligence in ensuring all employees understand their responsibilities in fulfilling it. Each module has accompanying materials and can be viewed by employees individually at their computers or incorporated into larger training programs on a range of hiring and management issues. And best of all, they’re free of charge!

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), JAN is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues and offers a variety of resources for small businesses. JAN provides assistance via phone at (800) 526-7234 or (877) 781-9403 (TTY) or online at AskJAN.org.

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