ODEP Policy Development and Technical Assistance Resources
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is the only non-regulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities. To support this mission, ODEP sponsors the following policy development and technical assistance resources:
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) helps employers recruit, hire, retain, and promote individuals with disabilities by responding to their need for effective and innovative strategies to optimize their workforce. EARN analyzes policies, practices, and existing research on disability employment; conducts its own research on effective employer engagement; and provides technical assistance to employers including private sector businesses of all sizes, Federal contractors, and federal and State governments. Annually, EARN provides free, confidential technical assistance and resources to thousands of employers through webinars, in-person trainings, and through the EARN website (www.AskEARN.org).
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations to employers as well as to employees, job seekers, family members and service providers. Beyond accommodations, JAN provides information and assistance to individuals with disabilities who may find that self-employment is their best career choice. It also provides easy-to-understand technical assistance and training to employers on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability employment-related laws and regulations. JAN annually responds to more than 40,000 individual requests for assistance via phone, email and/or chat services. Sixty percent of the requests are from employers. JAN also conducts nearly 100 trainings per year for employers, employer organizations, Federal, State and local governments, and service providers in person, via webinar, and/or by teleconference. More than 8 million visitors use JAN’s comprehensive website, www.AskJAN.org, to access publications, tools, and online training on job accommodations and the ADA. JAN conducts the ongoing study, Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact, to demonstrate that the benefits employers receive from making workplace accommodations far outweigh the low costs of the accommodations. Finally, JAN continues to share information on best practices on accommodations and the ADA through its outreach campaigns.
The Leadership for Employment and Economic Advancement for Individuals with Disabilities (LEAD Center) works with States to leverage the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to increase the employment, financial literacy and self-sufficiency of their citizens with disabilities. LEAD helps State agencies improve cross-agency coordination and collaboration so they can more efficiently harness resources to deliver critical services and supports to individuals with disabilities. LEAD also provides training to States and localities on innovative practices, such as customizing employment, that can help people with disabilities find and stay in jobs. It also provides State and local governments with information on financial tools, such as credit score awareness strategies, that are often a prerequisite for successful employment. The LEAD Center manages a website (www.leadcenter.org) that regularly updates both national and State-specific data that can be used to measure progress on increasing disability employment. On a monthly basis, the LEAD Center reaches over 4,000 stakeholders via its Listserv and its WIOA/Disability webinars are typically attended by 500-1,000 State and local representatives.
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) increases the ability of both generic and disability-specific youth programs and systems to improve employment and post-secondary education outcomes for youth with disabilities. To aid them in integrating evidence-based policies and effective practices for improving transition results for young people with disabilities into their service delivery systems, NCWD/Youth provides technical assistance, training, and information to the workforce development system, youth programs, current and former DOL grantees, and other federal grantees that serve youth. The technical assistance provided focuses primarily on career development, youth development and leadership, and the professional development of youth service professionals. NCWD/Youth’s website (www.ncwd-youth.info) houses a variety of publications and resources about employment, education, and workforce development regarding youth, including youth with disabilities. On a monthly basis, NCWD/Youth reaches over 7500 stakeholders via monthly newsletters, and social media. In addition, thousands of visitors visit the NCWD/Youth website each month to view and download publications related to disability disclosure, career development, and other youth-related topics.
The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) promotes the employment of people with disabilities through the development, adoption and promotion of accessible technology policy. PEAT brings together employers, technology developers, accessibility thought leaders, government policymakers and consumers and provides a mix of resources, outreach and collaboration, to serve as a catalyst for innovation and policy development related to accessible technology in the workplace. To ensure new and existing technologies can be used by people with disabilities, PEAT connects with the world’s leading companies yielding tangible results. For example, Oracle, which owns Taleo one of the world’s leading HR software providers has cited PEAT’s call to action as the primary motivator that moved them to develop a fully accessible Taleo product within a year’s time. Similarly, ADP recently unveiled an accessible version of their new software platform for their 600,000 clients and credit PEAT’s work with helping them understand the competitive market advantage accessibility brings to the company.
PEAT’s website (www.PEATworks.org) offers a central hub of online resources and opportunities for collaboration to employers and IT companies interested in adopting accessible technology as part of everyday business practices. In keeping with ODEP’s mission to develop national policy, PEAT created a microsite for policymakers called Policy Matters that includes a host of policy resources, such as analyses, policy briefs, court decisions, and technology-related news updates. PEAT also created TalentWorks, a robust online resource that helps employers and HR professionals make their eRecruiting technologies accessible to all jobseekers.