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ODEP News Brief. Driving Change - Creating Opportunity

August 12, 2022

State Policy Discussions on Mental Health in the Workplace

During the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit last week, and on behalf of the State Exchange on Employment & Disability’s Mental Health Initiative, ODEP Assistant Secretary Taryn Williams facilitated a discussion on mental health and employment with state legislators during the Women’s Legislative Network Roundtable. Assistant Secretary Williams also provided welcoming remarks and participated in a robust discussion during NCSL’s “Mental Health in the Workplace Listening Session,” hosted in collaboration with SEED. The session included a discussion of state policy trends and examples related to mental health and employment, including addressing the behavioral health care workforce shortage and ensuring the accessibility of mental health care for individuals with disabilities.

Advancing the National Apprenticeship System Online Dialogue and Twitter Chat

In honor of this month’s 85th anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act, the U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue exploring ways to strengthen the National Apprenticeship System and further its reach into new sectors and historically underrepresented communities. To get involved, join @ePolicyWorks on August 16 at 1:00 p.m. ET for a Twitter Chat that will discuss our nation’s current apprenticeship system and explore ideas for future programs. Then, beginning August 18, the public is invited to join DOL’s national online dialogue, “Advancing the National Apprenticeship System.” Participants are encouraged to share their ideas on policies, practices, strategies and approaches that will expand the reach and availability of inclusive apprenticeships and address any barriers to their success.

Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship - New Apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Labor has set a utilization goal for sponsors of Registered Apprenticeship Programs: 7% of individuals enrolled should be individuals with disabilities. PIA’s Apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity Toolkit features tips for apprenticeship sponsors on equal opportunity policies, recruiting apprentices, preventing harassment, providing reasonable accommodations, developing an affirmative action program, and encouraging self-identification of disabilities. By following the guidance in this new resource, it will help put businesses on the path toward reaching the 7% goal and comply with USDOL’s Equal Employment Opportunity regulations for Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

SEED Advances Disability & Veteran Employment Among State Legislators

The State Exchange on Employment & Disability, along with ODEP leadership, participated in the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Legislative Summit in Denver last week to promote disability-inclusive state policymaking. ODEP Assistant Secretary Taryn Williams served on a panel, “Essential but Unequal: The Pandemic’s Toll on Working Women,” to discuss the disparity of employment losses within the female workforce during the pandemic and possible solutions to decrease this gap. Additionally, ODEP Supervisory Policy Advisor Michael Reardon gave remarks during the NCSL Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs panel discussion, which highlighted SEED and NCSL’s recent report on state employment policies for veterans with disabilities.

Upcoming Webinar – Hiring and Supporting Neurodivergent Workers: Strategies for Success

Join the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 from 2-3:30 p.m. ET for a webinar, “Hiring and Supporting Neurodivergent Workers: Strategies for Success.” Learn about the benefits of neurodiversity at work and strategies employers can use to attract and retain this often-untapped talent pool. Neurodivergent people represent at least 20 percent of the adult population and come from every background. With more than 11.5 million current job openings in the U.S., inclusive workplace cultures welcoming of the skills of neurodivergent individuals can assist companies in meeting their workforce needs.