The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) monthly newsletter has a new feature called Spotlight. In this section, EARN recognizes employers’ successful practices for outreach, recruitment, hiring, and accommodating workers with disabilities. EARN invites employers who would like to highlight their effective practices in employing people with disabilities to submit articles for future issues of the EARN newsletter. This month, EARN spotlights Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) for its proactive approach to ensuring the inclusion of individuals with disabilities when developing specialized skills among employees.
STRATEGIC SOURCING RESULTS IN A COMPETITIVE MARKETPLACE EDGE
CSC, a global leader in providing technology-enabled business solutions and services, has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, particularly in the area of employment of people with disabilities. Over 13 years ago, CSC entered into a strategic partnership with Bender Consulting Services, Inc. The CSC/Bender Partnership for Freedom provides competitive employment to entry-level professionals with disabilities.
In 2010, CSC was seeking talented professionals with Remedy skills to perform critical work for its clients. Because Remedy is a specialized technical skill, CSC decided to take a proactive approach to grow and nurture this talent while providing employment opportunities across the globe. CSC worked with Bender consulting to establish and execute a Remedy Academy to train entry-level employees in this technical skill. The Remedy Academy was filled with entry-level professionals with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities. Participants combined classroom instruction and hands-on learning that would prepare them to utilize Remedy as CSC’s tool of choice in handling customer calls, managing alerts from their systems, and ensuring fulfillment of customer requests. Following completion of the Remedy Academy, these Bender consultants went on to become direct associates of CSC, as part of the Global Enterprise Service Management team, where they now provide quality service to CSC’s clients.
The Remedy Academy serves as a best practice example of how CSC’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, corporate responsibility, and the competitive employment of people with disabilities intersected with its business objectives. The Remedy Academy was not only the right thing to do for people with disabilities, it also made good business sense; it gives CSC a competitive edge in the marketplace.
The iPhone and iPad will soon be even simpler to use for people with a wide range of disabilities thanks to a new software update available this fall. A new “Guided Access” feature will be especially beneficial for students with disabilities like autism. The new software will also include added screen reader functions to allow those with vision impairments improved access to maps and other features. Click here to read more.
PREPARATION IS KEY FOR HIRING VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES
Many government contractors are anxious to support returning service members, who are now home and trying to integrate back into society, civilian life and the workplace. Hiring a veteran with a disability requires a bit of preparation from the business owner and/or the company but the benefits are always worthwhile — and in most cases, priceless. Some considerations include accommodating specific physical or mental health impairments, and dealing with reintegration issues like cultural adjustment, motivation, and disability mindset. Thankfully for employers and veterans, there are many organizations that have set up mentoring programs for veterans in their community.
DVNF OFFERS RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS WHEN HIRING VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES
The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), a non- profit organization that supports men and women with emotional and physical wounds after they return to America from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, is urging employers to utilize the resources rendered by agencies like DVNF when hiring veterans with disabilities. “There are many resources available to employers to hire, train and support veteran employees with disabilities so that both the employer and veteran can be successful,” said Raegan Rivers, Chief Administrative Officer of DVNF. “Employers need our help understanding what they are required by law to do, but also how they can help their veteran employees be successful by providing them the proper workspace and environment to increase their productivity.” Click here to read more.
VRAP A CATALYST FOR VETERANS’ CAREERS
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), a joint program sponsored by the Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides funding and training for unemployed veterans ages 35 to 60 for high demand occupations. VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to eligible veterans through March 2014. Participants must be enrolled in a VA approved education program offered by a community college or technical school. VRAP is part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act signed into law by President Obama in 2011. Click here to learn more.
CEO SUMMIT LAUNCHES PUBLIC-PRIVATE INITIATIVE TO REMOVE OBSTACLES TO EMPLOYING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Top-level executives from more than a dozen major U.S. companies joined with government officials to launch a nationwide public-private sector initiative to advance the employment of people with disabilities. The companies and officials plan to work together to achieve common goals, including identifying and resolving employment barriers facing people with disabilities, sharing experiences and best practices, raising visibility and awareness, and expanding participation. Click here to read more.
*InJune 2012, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 27.4% for persons with disabilities compared with 70.8% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 43.4%, not seasonally adjusted.
ADA ANNIVERSARY PROMPTS REFLECTION, OPTIMISM
July marks the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), many people will claim that the unemployment situation for people with disabilities has not improved since the ADA was signed into law, and that in some cases the situation has worsened. However, after seeing the workforce open up for various groups over the years, including women and minorities, Senator Harkin believes the country is on the verge of substantial gains in welcoming people with disabilities into the workforce. Click here to read Senator Harkin’s article.
MANUFACTURING SKILLS GAP ADDRESSED AT INDUSTRY SECTOR SUMMIT
ODEP and its Alliance Partner, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), co-hosted an innovative and interactive discussion with more than 300 human resource professionals in the manufacturing industry sector summit during SHRM’s annual conference in Atlanta, GA last month. This half-day solution-oriented event provided a learning opportunity for the SHRM and ODEP leadership and offered effective practices, resources and support for participants to help combat the skills gap facing their organizations. Click here to read more.
DOL PUBLISHES “PLAIN LANGUAGE” GUIDEBOOK FOR FMLA
The complexity of the FMLA process can be confusing to employers as well as employees. In an attempt to clarify the FMLA application and implementation process, the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued a 16-page summary entitled “Need Time? The Employee’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act.” While the booklet is directed primarily to employees, it also provides a roadmap for employers detailing obligations for successfully navigating the FMLA application process, and explains how the DOL believes the FMLA process should be implemented. Click here to read more.
COLLABORATION BETWEEN MANAGERS, HR, LAWYERS KEY TO ADA, FMLA RESPONSES
Judy Young, associate director of training and development at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and manager of the National Employer Technical Assistance Center (EARN) funded by the US DOL Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP), presented at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference on June 26 with Cornell colleague Susan W. Brecher. Speaking about how to navigate the interplay between the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act and FMLA, the presenters emphasized that ongoing communication between line managers and human resources practitioners is key to effectively responding to employee leave requests whether it is for a serious medical condition or due to a disability. Click here to read more.
The Department of Transportation joined the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and Joining Forces to announce that 500 companies and organizations from America’s railroad industry will hire more than 5,000 veterans in 2012. This commitment from DOT, AAR and its members builds on the Joining Forces initiative to recognize, honor, and support veterans and military families during their service to our country and throughout their lives. Click here to read more.
OLDER WORKERS ENJOY STRONGEST JOB GAINS
Older workers benefitted the most from employment gains over the past two years, according to a study based on analysis of Bureau of Labor statistics released last month. The study shows that job seekers 55 and older accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total employment growth since January 2010. Click here to read more.
ILR SURVEY: DISABILITY RESOURCE GROUPS IMPROVE INCLUSION
Disability-focused employee networks are key to retaining and advancing workers with disabilities, according to Cornell University’s Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR) School research released with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in June. Such employee affinity groups are “very effective,” according to 54 percent of human resource professionals surveyed by ILR’s Employment and Disability Institute; another 20 percent ranked them “somewhat effective.” Click here to read more.
EARN is funded by the
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy