All employees need the right tools and work environment to effectively perform their jobs. Similarly, individuals with disabilities may need workplace adjustments or accommodations to maximize their productivity.
Add Us In Initiative
Add Us In is a new initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The initiative is designed to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. Included within the small business community are targeted businesses that are owned and operated by minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals; women, veterans and people with disabilities.
The ODEP Alliance Initiative is a cooperative program which enables organizations committed to improving disability workplace practices to work with ODEP to develop and implement model policies, initiatives and strategies that increase recruiting, hiring, advancing, and retaining workers with disabilities.
American with Diabilities Act (ADA)
The signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990 was a landmark event in our nation's history. Like other pieces of civil rights legislation, this law works to ensure a more inclusive America, one where every person has the right to participate in all sectors of society and be recognized for his or her accomplishments.
The goal of ODEP's apprenticeship initiative is to increase systems capacity to provide integrated inclusive apprenticeship training to youth and young adults with a full range of disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, and to utilize the increased flexibilities detailed in DOL's newly released apprenticeship regulations.
Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE)
At work, it's what people CAN do that matters. That's the simple message behind the Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE), an ODEP-funded outreach effort to promote the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities.
Attitudes are important influencers affecting the employment and retention rate of people with disabilities.
Communication is an essential part of participating in today's workforce. Reflecting this, ODEP is committed to improving communications access. Communications access means that people with sensory disabilities can communicate (and be communicated with) on an equal footing with those who do not have such disabilities.
Through Customized Employment, the relationship between employee and employer is personalized in a way that meets the needs of both. It's a universal strategy that benefits many people, including people with disabilities. Reflecting this universal strategy, for many years, ODEP has worked to strengthen the capacity of the nation's workforce development system to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities through Customized Employment.
Disability Employment Initiative
The Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) aims to improve education, training and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. ODEP jointly funds and administers the DEI with DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
Disability Employment Statistics
Credible, consistent data on the employment status of people with disabilities is critical to shaping disability employment policy.
Disability Grant Programs
Information on Disability Employment Initiative and Disability Program Navigator
Disability Program Navigator Initiative
ETA and SSA are jointly funding the DPN Initiative in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands where SSA implemented employment support initiatives. This Initiative promotes comprehensive services and work incentive information for SSA beneficiaries and other people with disabilities, through the One Stop system.
Information on Ticket to Work, Youth with Disabilities, Disability-Related Guidance
Disability-Related Laws and Regulations
Information on The Workforce Investment Act, The Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Act
Diversity and Inclusion
By fostering a culture of diversity or a capacity to appreciate and value individual differences employers benefit from varied perspectives on how to confront business challenges and achieve success. Although the term is often used to refer to differences among individuals such as ethnicity, gender, age and religion, diversity actually encompasses the infinite range of individuals' unique attributes and experiences.
Individuals with disabilities should feel as safe and secure in their communities and work environments as individuals without disabilities. Too often, however, the needs of people with disabilities are not considered in emergency planning, despite the fact that the need for such planning has received an increased focus due to recent disasters, both natural and man-made.
Today more than ever, businesses need people with a demonstrated ability to adapt to different situations and circumstances. And perhaps more than any other group, people with disabilities possess precisely these attributes. On a daily basis, people with disabilities must think creatively about how to solve problems and accomplish tasks. In the workplace, this resourcefulness translates into innovative thinking, fresh ideas and varied approaches to confronting business challenges and achieving success.
Employment First is a concept to facilitate the full inclusion of people with the most significant disabilities in the workplace and community. Under the Employment First approach, community-based, integrated employment is the first option for employment services for youth and adults with significant disabilities.
Federal Contractor Requirements
The U.S. Department of Labor recently proposed a rule that would require, among other things, that federal contractors and subcontractors to set a goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be comprised of qualified workers with disabilities. The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs accepted public comment on this proposal from December 9, 2011 February 21, 2012.
As the Nation's largest employer, the Federal government must model effective employment policies and practices that advance America's ideal of equal opportunity for all. Reflecting this, in July 2010, President Obama marked the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by signing an Executive Order that aims to transform the disability employment landscape within the Federal government.
Financial Education, Asset Development, and Work and Tax Incentives
Financial education and asset development are critical to improving the economic self-sufficiency of all workers, and may be especially important for people with disabilities. Learning how to stretch wages further, invest wisely, avoid debt and plan for retirement is essential to avoiding the poverty level income connected with most disability benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).
Flexible Work Arrangements
With a growing demand for flexible work arrangements, both employees and employers are interested in implementing practical solutions to help America's workforce balance their many commitments. Employers also want their firms to have a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talented employees.
ODEP utilizes grants to assist in developing policies and identifying effective practices that lead to increase employment for people with disabilities. More information about grant opportunities, as well as ODEP's active and concluded grants is below.
The Department of Labor is a federal government leader in creating a clean energy economy, Broadly defined, green jobs are those involved in economic activities that help protect or restore the environment or conserve natural resources. ODEP is committed to increasing the participation of people with disabilities in green jobs nationwide.
Everyone depends on health care products and services to stay well and live, work and participate in our communities. But for many Americans with disabilities, access to adequate and affordable health care coverage and services are significant obstacles to independent living, employment and full inclusion in society.
HIV / AIDS
Employment is an essential part of leading an independent, self-directed life for all people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. Reflecting this, DOL is one of six federal agencies responsible for implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States released by President Obama in 2010.
Having a place to live is a key aspect of entering and remaining in the workforce. However, for many people with disabilities, finding affordable housing that is readily accessible can be difficult. Without housing near jobs or appropriate transportation, qualified individuals with disabilities cannot benefit from employment opportunities in their communities.
Integrated employment refers to jobs held by people with the most significant disabilities in typical workplace settings where the majority of persons employed are not persons with disabilities. In these jobs, the individuals with disabilities earn wages consistent with wages paid workers without disabilities in the community performing the same or similar work; the individuals earn at least minimum wage, and they are paid directly by the employer.
Know Your Rights: Disability Rights
OFCCP Protects Individuals with Disabilities from Discrimination
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2013 is "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task."
Today, a confluence of factors is prompting America to change the way it thinks about age and work. The economic downturn, shifting perceptions of retirement, increased workplace flexibility and the aging of the "baby boom" generation are all contributing to people working longer.
Personal Assistance Services
For many individuals with disabilities, Personal Assistance Services (PAS) help make employment possible. Some people use PAS to carry out activities of daily living. Depending on the individual, such activities might include getting up and ready for work, bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning or running errands.
Recruitment and Retention
The goal of the hiring process should be to attract and identify the individual who has the best mix of skills and attributes for the job available. Ensuring that all qualified individuals including individuals with disabilities can participate in the process is key to achieving this goal.
To support its efforts to develop and influence disability employment-related policies and practices, ODEP sponsors a wide variety of research and evaluation activities. Please see below for more information about these projects and the organizations that assist ODEP in conducting them.
Return-to-Work Toolkit for Employees & Employers
An organization's workforce is its most valuable asset. And when an employee can't work due to illness or injury, it impacts not only an organization's productivity, but also its morale.
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act: OFCCP Final Rule to Improve Job Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
On August 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced a Final Rule that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503) at 41 CFR Part 60-741. Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs), and requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals.
Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship
Self-employment has long been an option for individuals seeking a new or better career. And today, many individuals with disabilities are turning to the flexibility self-employment offers in assisting them to meet both professional and financial goals. Starting one's own business can offer similar flexibility, allowing people to make a living while maintaining a lot of latitude in choices such as work hours, nature of tasks and income.
Tax Incentives for Employers
Private-sector businesses that make structural adaptations or other accommodations for employees or customers with disabilities may be eligible for tax incentives.
Accessible and usable workplace technologies, and various types of assistive technology, are paramount to helping people with disabilities succeed on the job and deliver for their employers. Reflecting this, ODEP has a long history of exploring policies that will advance the development and adoption of accessible, interoperable and usable information and communication technologies (ICT) in the workplace.
The Workforce System
ODEP works to ensure meaningful access to employment and training programs and services for people with disabilities through public systems as well as private organizations and employers. Recognizing the need for a national policy to promote a more inclusive workforce, ODEP works collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders to promote capacity building and systematic changes that increase the employment and economic status of youth, adults and mature individuals with disabilities.
We all rely on different forms of transportation to go to job interviews, get to work, and participate in work-related trainings. Accessible, reliable transportation is one of the most critical and perhaps least appreciated components of becoming an active, productive member of the workforce for many Americans with disabilities. The best job, skills, or employment program provides few benefits if there is no reliable means of getting to work.
Universal Design (UD) is a strategy for making products, environments, operational systems, and services welcoming and usable to the most diverse range of people possible. Its key principles are simplicity, flexibility and efficiency. And whether we realize it or not, most of us benefit from UD on a daily basis.
America's wounded, ill and injured Veterans deserve a return to civilian life that respects their sacrifices and honors their right to live full, productive lives. ODEP supports a number of initiatives to help Veterans and returning Service Members with disabilities understand training and employment services that may be available to them. Additionally, it provides educational resources to help employers hire and support wounded warriors.
Workforce Recuitment Program
The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.
ODEP works to influence national policy and promote effective workplace practices to ensure that today's and tomorrow's workforce is inclusive of all people, including people with disabilities. As a result, one important policy focus area is youth transitioning from school to adulthood and the world of work.
Know Your Rights
Savings and Investments
Employment and Training
America's Heroes at Work
A U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) project that addresses the employment challenges of returning Service Members and Veterans living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Employment Services Information
Veterans' Employment & Training Service employment services information.
Gold Card Employment Initiative
The Gold Card provides unemployed post-9/11 era veterans with the intensive and follow-up services they need to succeed in today's job market. The Gold Card initiative is a joint effort of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).
This website provides employment resources for veterans and employers
Licensing and Certification Information
The U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) works with the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, the employment and training community, employers, unions, and Federal and state licensing agencies to help ensure that the certification and licensing process works more effectively for veterans.
My Next Move for Veterans
On My Next Move for Veterans (www.MyNextMove.org/vets) veterans will find a simple and quick search engine where they enter their prior military experience (branch of service and military occupation code or title) and link to the information they need to explore information on civilian careers and related training, including information they can use to write resumes that highlight related civilian skills.
Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Information
The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) was established to meet the needs of separating service members during their period of transition into civilian life by offering job-search assistance and related services.
Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers
Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers, also known as the "Trauma Guide," was created to address the psychological and mental health needs of women veterans.
Equal Employment Opportunities and Veterans Preference
Employment Law Guide - Employment Discrimination and Equal Opportunity for Certain Veterans Who Served on Active Duty and Special Disabled Veterans
Describes the affirmative action requirements of covered contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, recently separated veterans, and any other veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.
How to File a Complaint
Employees of and applicants for employment with a covered contractor or subcontractor have the right to file a complaint with OFCCP if they believe that the contractor or subcontractor has discriminated against them on the basis of veteran's status.
Veterans' Preference Information Page
Provides links to Web-based information on Veterans' Preference.
elaws E-VETS Resource Advisor
Helps active duty personnel, veterans, reservists, Guard members, and their family members sort through the vast amount of resources available on the Internet.
elaws Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Advisor
Helps employees and contractors understand veterans' employee eligibility and job entitlements for reservists and National Guard returning to private employment. Allows service members to submit a USERRA complaint form electronically.
elaws Veterans' Preference Advisor
Helps veterans examine preferences they may be entitled to with regard to federal employment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
19 Frequently Asked Questions
Employment Law Guide - Uniformed Service Members
Describes the basic provisions and requirements of reemployment rights and veterans' preference afforded persons who perform duty, voluntarily or involuntarily, in the uniformed services, which include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Public Health Service commissioned corps, as well as the reserve components of each of these services.
Veterans' Preference Information
Veterans who are disabled, who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over others in hiring for virtually all federal government jobs.
"Your Rights under USERRA"
Employers are required to provide to persons entitled to the rights and benefits under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a notice of the rights, benefits and obligations of such persons and such employers under USERRA.