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

“All About Skills: Tapping the Power of Neurodiversity”
Several major companies that engage in robust disability inclusion strategies are now pursuing efforts towards recruiting and hiring with a focus on neurodiversity, including people who are on the autism spectrum. In a blog in observance of National Autism Awareness Month in April, Dr. Susanne M. Bruyère, Professor of Disability Studies and the Director of the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University’s ILR School, examines a program called “Autism at Work” at enterprise software developer SAP, who has started hiring people with autism in a wide range of job categories. The program was highlighted at the recent “Autism at Work Summit,” which also featured similar initiatives in other businesses such as Microsoft, EY and Hewlett-Packard.

LEAD Center Sponsors Online Dialogue on ABLE Act – Through May 12
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows states to establish programs that offer tax advantaged savings accounts, known as ABLE accounts, to qualified individuals with disabilities. The LEAD Center is holding an online dialogue, “The ABLE Act: A Tool for Financial Stability and Employment Outcomes,” to help potential ABLE account owners, their families, and those who provide them with various supports and services to better understand and create plans for how these accounts can be used to assist youth and adults with disabilities in securing and maintaining competitive integrated employment. Dialogue topics include how ABLE accounts can be used to support employment or self-employment/entrepreneurship, and how ABLE accounts can be used to increase economic empowerment and financial self-sufficiency. The dialogue is open through May 12.

CDE and AUCD to Host May 11 Twitter Chat on Supporting Workers with Mental Health Disabilities
In recognition of Mental Health Month, ODEP’s Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) are hosting a Twitter chat on Thursday, May 11, from 1:00-2:00 PM ET. Titled “#CDEMentalHealth: Supporting People with Mental Health Disabilities in the Workplace,” the chat will feature special guest Andy Imparato, Executive Director of AUCD. Don’t miss this chance to engage with Andy and others in an online discussion about the importance of supporting the employment success of people with mental health disabilities, along with workplace strategies for doing so effectively. To participate in the conversation, please use the hashtag #CDEMentalHealth.

“Do-It-Yourself Accommodations” – New from the Ask JAN Blog
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has posted a new blog on its Ask JAN blog site. Matthew McCord, JAN Consultant, presents several ideas for accommodations that can be created by an individual without having to purchase any equipment or technology. Examples include raising or lowering the height of a desk using cinder blocks, and converting a tennis ball into an assistive writing device for someone with pain and cramping in the wrists and hands.

Employer Success Stories Featured on EARN Website
Employers who have had success in hiring, retaining and advancing employees with disabilities often have compelling stories to tell. The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) website features several of these first-hand experiences from small and large businesses in a variety of industries, including Best Buy, Kirtland Air Force Base, Lockheed Martin, Prudential and the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company.

Free Curriculum Helps Young Workers Strengthen “Soft” Skills
ODEP offers free career development materials designed to sharpen the interpersonal, or “soft,” skills of young workers. The “Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success” suite of materials includes a classroom-style curriculum and a set of videos with an accompanying discussion guide. Both resources can help young people, with and without disabilities, develop the critical attributes necessary for career success—such as communication, networking, enthusiasm and a positive attitude, teamwork, problem-solving skills, critical thinking and professionalism.