Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Employers are seeking qualified individuals to fill positions within their companies. There is a vast pool of untapped talent that have been historically unemployed and underemployed. That talented pool consists of persons with disabilities. Join us as speakers from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) address strategies for employers to recruit/hire and retain/promote persons with disabilities. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and get helpful insights from the presenters.Speakers
Welcome to the ADA audio conference. I want to do a sound check for the captioner. Okay. Perfect. Great. I think that I am going to review some of the web bin nar features and get those covered so you know how to adjust the platform. So we you know how to adjust the audio features that -- so welcome everyone. Welcome to the ADA audio conference series. My name is Claudia Diaz
Instructions are for telephone futures. If you want to plug in a headset. Your speakers or additional add foin using audio wizard. And this slide you can see the screen shot of the audio and video panel on the left side of your screen you will find the audio and video panel. That's the wizard. Once you click on that it will identify the external devices and you will be able to walk through the -- to get the -- also audio video panel you will see two slider bars, speaker icon and one is for microphone. Participants are in a listen only mode. You can adjust the sound for your speaker. We do have a mobile app available from the Apple store, Google Play store and Amazon store. The mobile app does not have closed captioning. It is for screen reader and voice. We have captions today. Once it is open you can resize your font change the font type, background color and font color. We have designated a Q and A segment at the end of the session. For those you in the webinar room you can put your questions and comments in the chat area. Your questions and comments will be addressed by the presenters. If you are on a mobile device please keep in mind that your questions are visible. We are recording today's session and will be posted in the ADA-board.org website. The white board area is where the presentation is appearing. You will see a dropdown. You can maximize your view. You can resize the and reposition any of the panels on the left side. You will see there is three main sections, audio and video, participant you can see everyone who joined the room. You will see an icon that looks like lines on a sheet of paper. That's your hamburger icon. That will allow you to move that resize and reposition that panel. Any problems with the platform please call our office at 877-232-1990 and any of our staff members will be able to assist you with your issues or you can send them by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can put them in the chat area and I will respond to those as well.
We are now open to the main call. Do a sound check this one. Wendy, testing 1, 2, 3.
Hello. 1, 2, 3. Testing.
Great and Derek.
This is Derek, testing 1, 2, 3.
Hi this is Brett. Can you hear me?
Perfect. You are good to go, Wendy.
Thank you. Sorry for the confusion. This is Wendy with the Northeast ADA center at the Cornell University. Will be serving as the moderator. It is a project of the ADA National Network which is funded by HHS , ACL and NIDILRR. Our session today is being recorded and recording will be available for review within 24 hours of the conclusion of this session. A top copy of the powerpoint presentation for today's session was available for download prior to the start of the session. If you were not able to access them ahead of time you will be able to access these materials via the archive for this session and a link will be posted at www.ada-audio.org within 24 hours following this conclusion of the session. Our presenters will provide some valuable information today and they have designated time for questions at the end of the presentation. And participants in the webinar platform can submit questions in the chat box during the presentation.
You will not be able to view the questions as they are submitted. But they will be viewable to me as a moderator our presenter. Feel free to submit them as they come to mind during the presentation. But we are going to answer them at the end. Let me introduce the presenter. Brett Sheats. And. Derek Shields who is a train for the earn EARN.
Brett Sheats currently serves as project director for employers on the employment of people with dis abilitieds. The employee assist and center, retain and advance individuals with disabilities. Derek Shields is a certified project management professional with 22 years of experience in disability, accessibility and employment and quality of life programs. He has worked in support of global accommodation program, wounded war r warrior transition, domestic violence employer technical assistance and training a host of other initiatives and improving quality of life for youth adults and veterans with disabilities in the workplace and community and health. You can read more about Derek by accessing his posted file on the website. So with that Brett I will turn it over to you.
Thank you very much. Welcome everyone to our webinar today. It is my pleasure to join us as well as Derek. And we look to providing some information for the next hour and taking some questions at the end from you. But just want to share with you first a little bit about earn. It is employer assistance and resource network on disability ib inclusion. Everything that EARN does is completely free for employers and everything that we to is krooe aed with an audience of employers in mind.
So what you will find on our website are best practices, archived webinars, lots of resources all about disability inclusion in the workplace from starting from recruiting, and all the way to hiring retaining and promoting people with disabilities in your workplace.
So it can be a great place to start if you are just starting out on your disability inclusion efforts. Or if you are -- if you have disability as part of your diversity inclusion efforts, there are a lot of things on the website that are going to help you make that even more robust and give you some tips if you have come to in I problems. ODEP has a number of technical assistance centers. You might be frame familiar with the Job Accommodation Network or JAN or PEAT is another one. They provide expertise in different areas. Such as reason ible accommodations and I recommend that you check out those websites if you haven't. There is lots of great resource. And and EARN is a corroborative of many different partners across the country. Derek being one of our trainers, great partners that is often out there as the face of EARN doing trainings with companies and organizations. We work with the public and private sectors. So we do a lot of work in the federal government in D.C. and helping different federal agencies include people with disabilities and also work with state governance and local governance nationwide as well as everyone in the private sectors. We can be a great resource for folks in their diversity and inclusion offices focusing on disability inclusion. For some smaller businesses that don't have the payroll to have a disability in their HR, or someone necessarily devoted to diversity and inclusion we can be a great outsource of information. We can provide that specialized information completely for free. Answer those questions you may have and provide you with the resources in a small business to make sure that you are doing the right thing when it comes to disability inclusion. So we are going to give you a good overview today of one of our tools that's on the EARN website called inclusion at work framework. It is a great example of how we can step folks through the disability inclusion process and provide a lot of resources. Derek and I will be providing some anecdotes and answering your questions at the end of the webinar. All of about disable inclusion. Without if I further ado.
Derek Shields is going to provide the meat and potatoes of today's presentation. I will forward the slides and hand it over to you Derek.
Thanks Brett. Really appreciate that and thanks to Claudia and Peter at the Great Lakes ADA center and Wendy for facilitating today out of the Northeast center. My name is Derek Shields and everyone has done me quite a bit of justice in the setup and I appreciate that and it is a great opportunity to be with you all today to talk about EARN's approach to disability inclusion at work. And so we will talk about the inclusion at work framework. And the setup together. I think the biggest thing I have been watching folks again and I don't know where everybody is from but I have a hunch that the majority of are not employers and we think of the classic case but more of service providers and partners in the work to build pipelines to employment. And obviously you are critical to make sure that we have employment success. What we do is EARN is reach out to employers to help improve awareness of resources that are out there like service providers but also about the opportunity that exists in today's race for talent in the country. Let's start by looking at the prevalence of disability and here is a graphic of disability impacts all of us. About 20% of the population in the United States had a disability. It is important to recognize that the CDC recently released data that shows one in four has a disability in the United States or around 26% and that's 61 million adults. And that each of us may experience a disability in our lifetime. And in a sense we at EARN do think that our community is impacted by disability and as employers we do not turn away from that but perhaps lean in to that.
And with that in mind we do on behalf of the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Labor represent secretary Acosta and secretary Acosta has highlighted since he has been at the department the untapped ability of disability. The Department of Labor and office of disabilities employment policy are committed to ensuring that the more Americans with disabilities experience the independence and pride and community that come with having a job. Unemployment is dipped so low that is in fact, full unemployment. We have untapped potential of one segment that could help employers fill their needs. So the time has come to build these bridges to once and for all the increase opportunities and close the 40% employment gap in the United States. And at EARN we have the inclusion at work framework. This framework is really a pathway and this is how we engage employers. It is developed input from a range of employers stellar track records in disability employment and outline seven core components of a dis ibility inclusive workplace. This is a proven framework for building a disability inclusive organization and importantly for us, it provides flexibility for the employers, and for the community partners to be creative in solution building that makes sense for the sector, and for the community.
So what we are going to do is go through these seven segments today. So you could have more awareness of how we engage with employers and also hopefully find innovations to approach employers in a way that they will recognize is use ful for their needs. We are going to turn now to the first segment, lead the way. In leading the way it is really getting senior leadership's buy in to designing and implementing an inclusive business culture. And how we do that is, of course, dependent upon a variety of techniques. First and foremost it is making equal employment opportunity and that goes beyond a saying and it goes in to cultural engagement. And so when you have senior leaders implement a series of comprehensive training sessions, these could be looked at Equal Employment Opportunity initiatives, it is to go the infrastructure of inclusion, if the leaders of the organization are out front doing this and have the so-called C suite team engaging with employees, then there is trust that the direction is truly inclusive and less so of how shall we say it, an October event where see some organizations celebrate disability employment awareness month and forward a lot of energy in October and then as soon as our November comes around those efforts dwindle and then we don't see that focus throughout the year. Not just start that practice, best practices show that developing and communication a policy statement is certainly the No. 1 illustration for a foundation for the commitment to disability diversity and inclusion. So our website askEARN.org there is a sample policy statement and we will work with companies on adopting that and implementing it. With those other ways, other company as commitment are pretty important and we will look at an example of that next. So a policy statement, and let's remember EARN sits at the office of the disability employment policy and we are seeking to enhance change and implement policies that will remove barriers to employment. And when policies are in place that offer inclusion then the practices will follow. So a real examination of other policies that have barriers in them. And in this process it is -- I am going to grab a different part in their journey and we look to work with employers to suggest that it is a maturity model and some will come in when they are only focused on compliance and others are going to be moved beyond compliance to a real diversity inclusion model and then some larger employers in the country notably that have attained a little bit more of the business case model where it is beyond compliance, it is not just about diversity and inclusion, but it is getting the rewards of diversity and inclusion to be able to turn on the investment in the human resources that are more inclusive of disability.
Innovation driving ROI. When the organization starts looking at emergency management planning and thinking about can more inclusive in disaster assistance, then you know you are in the talking about the front end of this compliance process. So we like to use that example. If our leaders are looking at this in a wholistic manner then the examination is across the board of policies and not just in building the front door in the pipeline. So moving on from there, obviously seeking input regarding the existence of an accessible or disability inclusive workplace, is pretty important. And how that's done between leadership and employees or community partners is up to the organization. We know that employers that have a created affinity groups or some type of enterprise wide team like an Employee Resource Group or Business Resource Group is finding better outcomes. Because it creates the engagement between leadership, between supervisors and between the disability community at the employer and that's how culture changes with that engagement and we know a when the culture changes there has been good research done, including by researchers at the university of Michigan that when disability is part of diversity then we see innovation come out of that diversity. So lever arranging affinity groups or ERGs to engage in the leadership is a conduit for that innovation to be realized. So this is the first segment inclusive business culture or lead the way. And when we look at this, I like to look back a little bit and say well, recognize an employer best practice here. And so today we will call on Microsoft and we will suggest that they have done this in a leading way. And many of watch them in the market. They are doing some fantastic work. If you go to the Microsoft website and you request to the values within a couple of clicks you can learn about their corporate values around disability as part of diversity and inclusion. And directly understand their Employee Resource Group and what they are doing. And find ways to apply to the company as a member of the disability segment.
So did Microsoft get here overnight? No. In fact, this has been at least a 20-year journey and I happen to be it the audience at Washington D.C. and they made a commitment to accessibility inclusion and now we are starting to see how that commitment plays out. And at that time I don't think Microsoft knew that they would be employing a senior leader like they have today, but president Netella of Microsoft has just unrolled this fabulous act campaign Fireside chat and he happens to be a parent of a child with a disability and is showcasing how his company can move together forward and address real inclusion in sectors, and including their own employment practices. So they launched Microsoft's involvement, made by dyslexia. Helping dyslexic students thrive with technology. We talked to employers about where are you in this journey and leveraging practices of others but finding your own way. So we like to call them out for doing great work.
So that's the lead the way segment.
And now we are going to move in to the second segment and this is building the pipeline. Inordinate amount of time is spent by individuals in this area. Outreach and recruitment includes many of you all that are on the webinar today. We have great partners to the Department of Veterans affair offices, partners at Social Security ticket to work employment networks and our colleagues working at the centers of independent and other local disability organizations. It always isn't lost on taxpayers. We are supporting all those entities and everybody is doing great work to find integrated solutions to build pipelines and now we have universities and colleges which are graduating students are disabilities with the highist rates in our nation's history and we have apprenticeship and mentorship and mentoring programs. So we spend a lot of time working on models and including the workforce recruitment program for college students with disabilities and sometimes we wonder what are the results from these models. So I highly encourage employers to visit these locations. Sometimes we find by visiting we start to understand this is how the state rehab agency actually operates and this is how I can identify to that partner my needs. These are my high turn over positions. These are our operating locations. And how could you filter through the business relations specialist candidates that will fill my employment requirements. Often employers haven't visited. So I suggest a service providers that are on this list, that invite them. Get them out of the offices and get them in and see your organizations and create the bridge and that bridge could come in the form of an official letter of agreement or understanding. And that would help provide ongoing candidates. Let's go to the next slide. In building these pipelines there is some tactics on this slide, we do recommend community partner briefings. And as I mentioned we can establish the referral arrangement. Sometimes it helps to host where we bring all the of the venders together, the agencies and the pipeline providers. That -- and when bringing multiple employers together. It is reverse training opportunity. If they are going to build the partnership it has to be in cluesive and understand how to have successfully connecting pipeline pieces. And example of of course is an employers front door is accessible for an online application, so our colleagues as Brett mentioned or PEAT, will leverage TalentWorks to help our employer understand if their application is accessible or not. There is also some older school techniques and there is a lot of sources companies. In fact, there seems to be a trend right now in the country where four or five different disability consultants are starting to work with sourcing companies that will ensure that disability inclusion is part of the sourcing company's pipeline building efforts. The next bullet join disability focus employer networks. We encourage employers who are new to this wishing. Some employee networks may be like disability: IN has a national organization or having affiliates across the country or the national Organization on Disability and these entities allow for best practice sharing and what's great about our work in the disability inclusion and employment field put the competition aside and share best practices where you see organizations like northropGrummond. We find that the companies some of that I just mentioned sends recruiters to events that have disabilities. What they are more likely to attract candidates with disabilities and it makes sense but again that's another step for the employer is making an intentional move to employ let's say a deaf recruiter and then that deaf recruiter would go to the national technical institute for the deaf at Gallaudet University to represent authentic engagement and attract the new deaf recruit to work for them.
And then the last bullet here participating in career fairs, targeting individuals with disabilities, and I just wanted to get in to that one point a little bit more. So on this slide we have building more productive pipelines and while we engaged and earn with a lot of employers across the country and I am sure that many of you do as well, our analysis shows that although you can improving poll sis and practices but we often encounter is image on the left which have and we are trying to move to the image on the right, that's more outcome and output. And we see in other segments like women in STEM where is the looeking happening and how can that be fixed. How can we apply those techniques to disabilities employment and not just getting in the front door but being promoted. I have to give a couple of tips on this that I have picked up on working with some folks across the country. The idea is going to recruiting fairs and what employers do on campuses. So before going to the campus making sure that employers understand that there is disability services, career services and then also the campus disability advocacy groups, right? These are youth lead organizations of students with disabilities and that the employers might be able to connect with all three. Or connect at some campuses with the centralized integrated office. There is a few of those in the country. To establish linkage agreements with these universities to access those qualified students and then potentially, you know, partnering with other companies in holding recruiting events. That way you get -- you don't dilute the effort you both get more for your time investment. Recruiters are representative of the audience. Having recruiters with disabilities. And then providing disability education and training and holding information sessional sessions. In some cases that could be in the federal sector about schedule A or around disability strategies or objectives at the company to make sure that those individuals know these are priorities. And what we do with this and it seems like we have been for a long, there is a lot of effort but not necessarily a lot of result from some employers. And so we really talk to the employers about evaluation of those recruitment efforts, especially on campus efforts and to try to change to get better outcomes and stop the leaking. And so while you are educating campus contacts prior to going, are you leveraging social media prior to going to inform students and recent graduates of your interest in employment. And if you are going to the campus hiring fair, are you evaluating where the relationships are providing positive results versus some campuses that aren't and then providing strategies to all those hot spotsor are. Using techniques like a heat map to show where your investments are. What I call the northeastern university model, I had a chance to work with folks at Boston's Northeastern University. They had a campus wide career fair but prior to that they are doing employer and residency for local employer that's interested in hiring upcoming graduates with disabilities. And this is an effort that's conducted by the disability resource center in partnership with their career center and the employer and residency is -- they do it about four different entities. So they are the company's senior leaders. They will have the employees with disabilities come in mainly from the employee resource group and some folks that will do some networking and mentoring and then they will have some functional representatives come in, maybe some programmers, maybe some accountants and then the last group that comes in on the HR side, and talk about how you can get employed. So it is a higher investment of time but it is authentic representation of the organization's true commitment and then they have the career fair and this employer and residency are collecting more attention because of the up front investment time. I call it the northeastern model and I imagine other universities are doing it. But it is one that I want to share with you today. We do a little reset now. That was leading the way and outreach and recruitment and now we move to hire and keep the best talent acquisition and retention. We about midway through the hour. So with this, you know, talent acquisition and retention can come down to a lot of areas. We don't have time for a deep dive for this today. We wanted to share with you that EARN along with our colleagues, ODEP do spend a lot of time talking to employers about disclosure, invitations to self-identify along with qualifications and job announcements. When it comes to the hiring process, how to authentically onboard somebody and not have a screw up out of the gate and career development and advancement. We are going to focus a little bit more today though on reasonable accommodations retention and promotion. So reasonable accommodations is the next segment of the inclusion at work framework. So before we get to there we will go in to retention promotion. I'm sorry. We will look at reasonable accommodation as begun to retention and promotion.
There is no need to give kudos to the Job Accommodation Network for providing over 30 years of outstanding services but that's what we do all the time at EARN. Our sister partner JAN does amazing work. So when EARN gets involved with this we talk about it from the framework perspective. And we highlight a couple key areas but then really point to the resources and technical assistance from JAN to detailed employer supports. The areas that we like to champion the most are definitely written policies and procedures for processing requests. Having those in place with an annual refresher to the policies and procedures and an annual training for all employees, supervisors, managers and all personnel. To make sure that they know who is responsible for what in the process.
Unfortunately that is easy for me to say but it seems really hard for employers to do. And so we remind them that it is not okay to do it once in awhile but that you have employees who acquire disability. So if it was in your handbook when they got it on Day One, they don't know about it whatever five years and two months when they acquire their disability. Let's make sure that's readily available through refresher training. The second bullet says develop centralized accommodation fund and source of expertise. They will talk about Bank of America who implemented a centralized accommodation procedure and why they have done that and how that helps individuals find both the subject matter expertise and in that case put a budget line in to that program so it removes the cost barrier to employer -- to the local employer.
Analyze with employers those options. Decentralize or centralize for their culture and how they would select that practice. And last on this one, maybe we talk about leveraging an online tracking or database. Allowing different levels for approval and assigning a full time director of disability services. Employers that focus on yes, meeting the legal obligation of reasonable accommodation under the ADA or the Rehab Act is critical, but focusing on getting people productive as quickly as possible. So that that person is a productive member of the workforce and able to stay on the job.
So again that's the reasonable accommodations area. And now I'm going to turn to retention and promotion.
So adopting a disability management and prevention program is pretty critical. So not only do we want to attract the talent but we want the tal lent stay and stay at work and return to work programs are critical and key of ODEP's strategy. Working with Employee Resource Groups to identify specific strategies could include something like a mentoring program. These sfrat strategies are based on a lot of data that's gathered by employers. That could include surveys, or stay or exit interviews where they talk about how that data reforms retention strategies. Why do we recruit and employ people with disabilities just to lose people as workers compensation claimants or beneficiaries who go out the door. And really what we are talking about is the same population if you look at it wholistically. So we want to develop and disseminate procedures that would help with the retention and also along the way realizing that not only people with disabilities the most unemployed segment, diverse segment in our country but also the most underemployed. And so we bring that to the attention of the employees and talk about having to potentially have a promotional policy that would highlight disability among the positive selection factors.
So there are employers in the country that do this and we recognize that it is a best policy practice that could be done by other employers.
One of the strategies in place in training on the tactics such as workforce flexibility, including flexibility around both the location but also the job task. And these could be forms of reasonable accommodation,s such as job restructuring, job sharing or job creation but the notion of flexibility is a cultural tool with and how that aids in driving disability inclusion, including retention and promotion. So when we looked at all of this together it addresses a large issue as how there is a -- occupational safety and health administration estimates that 14 mol nonfatal injuries -- so if we look at this and we start to count it we talk to employers about the impact of these individuals actually turn to federal disability benefits. And that the impact to employers and taxpayers is significant and we can collectively do something to avoid having this impact as community, as an employee group and really as a nation. And that's at the gist of ODEP's retaining of employment and talent. This initiative is expanding in fiscal year 2019 with take some of the tenants of work being done in Washington state and moving it to eight other states to redirect the pipeline of long-term disability benefits and bring employees back to work as quickly as possible. Lever ageing work as recovery. Last point is one on mentorship. I also spend a lot of time in the mentoring as an inclusive strategy space ab and I wanted to smoe show case a mentee of mine. I met her several years ago and if you were wondering what I look like. I'm the guy that's with Nicole. Mentor something a great reciprocal way to engage with employees that have been brought in and could have a safe trusted relationship with another individual in the organization outside of the supervisor chain. We know when employers tap mentorship ERGs in other programs it is the ult imate win, win where you can engage with other people and discuss challenges or barriers to remove them. I was lucky to meet Nicole through that mentorship program and talking to employers around the country we love to highlight mentoring as a disability inclusion strategy.
So that's the final segment there. Hire and keep the best. And now we will turn to communicate. The communicate section has external and internal communication of companies and policies and practices and each one has a few supporting points of the external communication I like to start this off with employers to say when you are as an employer go to create your content for your own disabilities inclusion brochure or Web page, or event, what is it like when you go out there to have authentic media? Most of the time there is somebody like me. Nondisabled individual. For years we have seen what Don Evans calls disabled mimicy where there is a model without a disability in the wheelchair looking at the ocean with their arms raised. Clearly this is not an inclusive or authentic image. And in order to externally communicate what an employer is doing around this space they have to stop and think right then how are you going to do that in a way that shows inclusion and authentic inclusion. And so that's what we talk about. We identify to employers either stop doing it and use practices of choice. We recognize that sharing visibility disabilities in advertising is important. We like to compliment that with nonapparent or invisible dis abilities should be showcased in other ways. You use a quote from them about irinclue participation at the employer. In communication we talk about job fairs. That's a great way to get the so-called face of the organization out and we invite disability organizations to create so we can communicate with them as well. Sometimes it is great to have those communications externally with union officialsance there are some employee best practices. And that posting on the companies disability inclusion policy statements or statements online. So those are the exclusion -- sorry, external practices. And I just like to highlight the disability collection that's -- the disability collection.com. It highlights how Verizon and company took this on in 2018. We have around 26% of the population with a disability A. So if you want to learn more about authentic portrayal in the media.
With communication, internal, communication of company policies and practices. We do spend a good amount of time helping employers look at policies and practices internally. Having a single office that's responsible for disability inclusion with a disability inclusion lead is a best practice. That organization could work with the public relations group and external authentic information. But they could also work internally to share information whether that's publications or just releases. Conducting trainings to foster the disability inclusive culture. That could be with employees through the Employee Resource Group or it could be with pi partners from external organizations coming in to discuss perhaps different areas of disability that we employees or employer is less familiar with. We talk about taeb establishing a policy that supervisors take on responsibility to the successful implementation of the inclusion policy. This doesn't happen as much but when it does, it starts to get the supervisor's performance evaluation involved and then that gets the attention. So if we really want to diversify in an authentic way we can do that. And, of course, having for supervisors with disabilities can help drive that as well. The model talks also about Employee Assistance Program. EAPs are in that model as well. And then I mentioned before stay and exit interviews along with the developing a recognition program for employees with disabilities. So that's the communicate segment and now we are in to the final two segments, be tech savvy and then grow success. With be tech savvy that's accessible information and communication technology. So that means designing around some regulations. You could have those as if you are in the federal sector, maybe Section 508 or adopting the WCAG 2.1 standards. It is getting employers to recognize that they have to have that commitment and adopt practices for the team to design or bake in accessibility. Most organizations are not there across -- you might do well on the web or might do well in some areas but they haven't made it with databases or perhaps creating accessible PDFs and get feedback and prioritize their next steps are the ones that are continuing to find more inclusion through sharing of accessible content.
And having those formal policies and practices and procedure is critical if that that's goes corporate wide that everyone has been trying to cross the enterprise and can have that annual evaluation and be held accountable. EARN works closely with the partnership Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. They are one of our sister organizations at ODEP of we selected a few things to highlight from PEAT's organization. It covers information communication and technology laws and regulations. Also have something called call buy it, buy IT it is an accessible purchasing guide. We point employers to that to make sure that the procurement organizations are adopting accessible helmets. They have the TechCheck benchmarking tool and have talent works e-recruiting and accessibility that I mentioned before. I will tell you that I love PEAT's training resources. They have done some great podcasts. So those of you you are looking to learn go tap in to PEAT's training resources and look up the podcasts from the past year. There are some really jut standing content around current trends. Including things like how do we make online sourcing companies or platforms accessible and who is responsible for making them accessible as the employment models themselves change.
So and now our last we have 11 minutes to go and we are at the final segment of the 7 segments inclusion at work, this is grow success. And to be honest, we talk about it with employers but employers tend to focus on the first six segments a little bit more than the 7th. And that we want them to do is have an analysis of evaluation and accountability plan to improve. And if we know what gets measured, gets done, and we have been measuring this, at least as a nation the labor force participation rate since the early '70s and we have a 40% employment gap in the country then clearly we have employers that are probably not measuring and analyzing the data close enough to drive improvement. So we try to bring this point home that says let's have accountability measures in place and let's see how we move the needle forward. Certainly federal contractors lever arranging Section 503 and putting towards a 7% goal allows them to strive to achieve that and then once they do, to put a new goal if place. That model could be extracted to other organizations that are also interested in disability inclusion. And who is responsible for that? Like a chief inclusion officer or the head of disability inclusion and who does that person report to. There is a direct connect to the C suite or to the chief executive. And just a book a quick anecdote book in 1998 Microsoft made a comitment to accessibility and to inclusion. And 20 years later they have a CEO that's working closely with a broad array of experts and disability inclusion and accessibility as part of their team. I don't think they knew 20 years ago that they would lead to a place where autism at work hiring program with embedded peer mentoring to have the outcome that it had. But they knew it was the right value to go towards. And as they realized it, they were able to hire somebody like Kyle who works for them that was part of the team, Kyle is an autistic adult and he is part of the team that because they changed their hiring policies and their practices they had a project based interview, they hired Kyle and Kyle is part of the team that imbedded the voice activation system inside of Xbox or added Cortana. Xbox.
I wanted to add in there that example really is a big thing with inclusion at work model that you saw there. It is different steps but they are not steps that are in in order. I had kwred them components of a larger inclusion strategy. So you will see things like making sure that your job poortal is accessible. That's certainly fits in the accessible technology portion of the model but certainly also systems recruiting and hiring. They work in conjunction with each other. Making sure that your job is accessible and getting the right people in the organization will substantially change the culture and strategy and the ability to market segment of consumers. That will affect everything that you do. So we look at all of them and see how they interact with each other. And kind of the next step once you put in to play and take your organization to the next level. I wanted to mention that because I thought the Microsoft example was a good time to mention that real quick. Derek back to you.
Thanks. yeah. So I thefshg we will turn it back to Wendy to see if there is any comments or questions.
That was very interesting. Robert as the operator, can you please deskib how people on the phone can ask questions? And others can put questions in the chat box. So that we can address them once we go to the phones.
Certainly. If you would like to ask a question during these time simply press STAR and nen the No. 1 on your telephone keypad.
There is a question on the chat box while we wait. Are there any good examples of state employment of persons with disabilities?
I'll start. To call out a specific state right now, yes, I know some examples. Some of us are a familiar with the work that the governor in Delaware. There is a projected called state employment initiative and that might be a great location to go and read one of their annual reports. Brett do you want to add to that?
Sure. Yeah, on ODEP website you can request to their SEED page they are collaborating all over the country, legislatures, they work with a lot of states to changing policies in states to be more inclusive and to include supply chain initiatives for suppliers that are disability one. I would also call after you take alike at Washington state. A lot of good initiatives, the governor's council is trying to put together some new policies and making sure that their state is the best employer itself. So people with disabilities within the state government. Take a look at that SEED page on the ODEP website and you can get in touch with the folks writing that initiative if you would like to dive a little deeper.
Robert any questions on the phone yet?
Not at this time. But I will prompt again if you would like.
TThat's fine. I have plenty of questions in here. Let me know if you get any in. So the next question is a rather specific question, but if it can be answered that it would be awesome. How can employer approach or handle a situation when an employee cannot get to work because weather conditions have become a barrier for their ability to travel?
I will start quick. That's going to to me sound like a request for reasonable accommodation for someone that might be having transportation or mobility issues. Once again a lot of different things that you can do there. But instead of -- here is what I would recommend. Go to the JAN website and you can look transportation issues. The first thing they are probably going to recommend is telework if that's possible depending on the type of job. Telework has allowed a lot of folks with mobility issues to be as product tive as possible and take away the difficulties that had reaching the office in the advent of Internet and working remote. You can call JAN during the office hours of it is complete anonymous and ask that came question. They work with tens of thousands of employers every year and this question I know in particular I talked to the JAN. And they have -- they have fact sheets on website and talk to the counselors on well specifics of the issues and they can recommend things them have seen that have worked for employers in the past. Anything I missed?
No. I think you got it.
Okay. So the next question is considering reasonable accommodations at the time of interview, and the question is how do you make interviews accessible? How can can employer ask the question when setting the interview time? And they gave an example for bringing a service animal to the interview.
That's an interesting question. I'll take a crack at it.
I think I will save the service animal part.
How do we make the interview accessible. It starts with the front door to recruiting we have there policy statement. We are looking to employ people with disabilities and then the next phase is when somebody applies, asking them, do you need a form of reasonable accommodation, then unity process and give them the opportunity to request one. If they do not, that individual comes to the interview without having filled that obligation to identify, their need for a communication perhaps accommodation. The service animal part, you know, had a few stories about service animals in interviews. We need to look back at EEOC guidance and what is deemed legal a service animal. It is incumbent upon the candidate to request the accommodation for the interview and it becomes an obligation for the employer to employ the accommodation. I think that sometimes the employer is a little surprised because they haven't requested it in advance. Is there a need for accommodation for a successful interview experience.
That's an important distinction under the ADA. It is perfectly legal to ask that you don't want to get in to any more specifics of what Derek seat. Asking if they need a reasonable acomaddition in the hiring process completely allowed under the ADA.
Someone wondered if you could define SEED?
We just threw that out there. But define it.
I always forget. I want to stay it is the state exchange unemployment and disability but I don't know if that's exactly right.
I Googled. It is state exchange unemployment and disability. If you go to dol.gov/ODEP you can find the SEED details that that referred and to and a lot more because they list the employment for states as well.
Okay. The next question it says I work for the state of Missouri and we have provided accommodations for interviews such as brernt interpreters and also allowed I haves to bring a service animal which was a dog to an interview. So it is not really a question.
But Brett and I were in Missouri last week. So we appreciate all you are doing.
Okay. So the next question is have you heard about specific strategies that disability service provider organizations are using to work with employers?
I am sure that Derek has a bunch. What comes to mind the quickest is getting employers, one of two things. I think a lot of interaction is over e-mail and via phone. If you can have an employer have a job fair where they bring in folks just to see the -- see what a physical ground of the organization is and have people there to talk about jobs that may be available and they can partner with local service provider to bring in people with disabilities and might be interested and getting a feel for the culture. That that goes so far. Not only in gaining the trust between local service providers and employers but also between the local community of people with disabilities and know that this organization is really doing what they -- saying what they mean. And are serious about learning to people with disabilities and bringing people with disabilities on your campus as an organization what a better way to ensure that accessibility, and just to learn about what people are looking for and see if they might be a good match. That's a good tip that I see work across the country.
That's a great one, Brett. This is no, not so specific. But what I challenge people to do how to you manage your time compared to what you say you are trying to achieve in disability inclusion. And I give an example. I talked to a bun chb of recruiters in Washington D.C. area and I asked them directly how many of them had met the career officer director at Gallaudet university that was only eight miles away, and only one person in the room out of 30 knew her name and had met her. Told me her time allocation was not being used in a way to build a deaf employment pipeline from a partner na was quite nearby. So sometimes we need to sit back and say what are you doing and who are we doing it with and there is disconnect between the aresults we have trying to achieve.
Are there certain industries where you have seen employers doing a better job of employing people with disabilities?
We have a best practice out of the seat of South Dakota, the seat South Dakota retailers association has done a fantastic job working with ODEP and EARN along the way. They realize that low unemployment rates in five years in South Dakota. So they need to tap resource a pool and the South Dakota retailer as association worked close with the state and have done a magnificent job of finding new talent. It is statewide. And, you know, honestly it is a pretty rural location. Some of the things that we see in large cities, you know, these practices aren't just there. They are across the country. But that's one really good example you look the South Dakota retailers association and find their details online.
The tech sector has been doing a good job. People with the autism spectrum and we are trying to de sign their products to be useable for the greatest amount of consumers that they can. And so not bringing in people with disabilities to help design the products and ensure that are accessible for taking them out of the package without having to download an app or an add on is meaningful to them and opens up very product as usage to a huge wedge of the American and and world pub lik. These are tools that are being used every day they need to bring in folks to up their bottom and ensure that this are not missing on consumers that would want to use their product. I challenge other industries to feel the same way about what they do and it is not quite the same as a computer or a Smartphone but a tablet. Any sort of consulor product or service that you are providing. I think they are on the edge of understanding that being inclusive profits from their business.
So our next question is about how employers can find out about having a disability. They said since Section 503 was passed employers have to ask people if they have a disability but they thought they couldn't because of the ADA. Could you clarify the difference between these two?
Sure. It is a good question. I don't think a lot of people ask it but I think a lot of people think it. On the invitation to self identify as having a disabilities is what Section 503 employs and that invitation to self-identify allows an employer to know. It doesn't mean that that employer can share that information in terms of having like a disclosure. So that information is gathered but it is gathered for reporting purposes and it doesn't mean that you could say oh, yeah, now Susie and Johnny have disabilities. Let's invite them to our moi e resource group. It is ind kind of self-contained information. The ADA offers the opportunity for individuals to have privacy around their disability unless they have a requirement to disclose for something like reasonable accommodation. There is a fence between the two and it is designed to ensure that an individual that you once sought privacy around their disability has that right.
Derek hit the nail on the head. This question is the question we receive the most at EARN. Derek, self-identification is anonymous and it is for statistical purposes only. The paper that a person would mark self-identifying as having a disability would nobody a separate file. Their choice to self-identify take in to account anything like promotions retentions layoffs. So it is just for so organization can provide statistics under 503. And that goal that the government has set for hiring people with disabilities for the organization. And the difference between self- identification is self-discloegs sure which is much more of a person saying I have this disability and you might do that because of a reasonable accommodation and may be to want to provide mentorship or leadership to folks at the organization and to show them that the person with a disability is not something that's going to be health against or a negative mark in your personal file at that O. If you go to the askEARN website, find it under our topics or resources. We have lots of good information about how to encourage people to self-identify and how to build a culture in your organization that makes people feel at ease and happy to say yes, I do have a disability whether it is just anonymously self-identification or through self-disclosure to help get productivity. Definitely we recommend check out this stuff and askEARN we do webinars.
The same participant had a follow-up question about asking current employers if they had a disability. He wonders if can ask current employers if they have a disabilities. ?
They can. So that's something that doesn't happen just at hiring but any means. It is something you want to toonously do. When you sent sendz out the hooel to the organization hey we going to be ask people to self-identify, survey, to work here, that's your only communication that goes out to your workforce about disabilities, I can't tell you for sure but you are not going to get a lot of folks self-identifying because this kind of come out of the blue. I don't know if I should do this or not. What negative effects have on my. They are probably going to have some fear. So in independent of those e-mails that you send out about identifying every so often, need to be other events and other things that you are doing October, is disability awareness month is a good time to start, to make people feel this is something that my employer embraces diversity and inclusion is something that makes our team stronger and going to make this organization a better place to work. Then yes, I feel very comfortable self-identifying. Check it out again on askEARN.
One more follow-up question in the same thread. What is the benefit for the current employee to self-identify when they get that survey?
Self-identification for Section 503 and that individual could benefit themselves by showcasing they work for an employer that values bis r disiblgts inclusion and if enough employee does that then the collective would show that the employer is moved to this 7% goal or above. The idea is we are trying to loft employment. We work for a company that is improving in these categories. They are all able to bring their true selves to work, evening the engagement is working and inclusion is happening. And then I can be myself. So it helps when a company getting recognized for improving in this area. And if the employer do that it means they find a trust space to do so. There is no neglect te ramification for them not to do so. They don't have to do it. And many times they don't. But the positive side would be if they their collective voice speaks and their employer is recognized for doing the right things and then we can sustain momentum and get more employers doing this and then our community can have an authentic voice at work. And then inclusion will drive innovation.
I agree. We ask at some point for people to think outside of themselves in terms of making sure that their organization can be healthy and set an example for new employees to feel comfortable as well. One thing I would mention we were talking about retaining talent. The segment of the population a that is growing in percentage of people in that segment of disabilities is our older workers. That makes sense, as folks get older they have a greater chance of being injured that would cause them to have a need for accommodation. Maybe you have been surveying people every few years and they never felt the need because they didn't have a disability or perceived that they didn't have a disability and now after a fall or worsening eyesight or whatever it may be they say wow, you know, if I had X, Y and Z boy I could be a lot more productive. I would be able to see that I make less mistakes. Whatever it may be. And this can be an invitation for them to say we made the people disability status change. Just as anything else changes and we want you to know that instead of this person can't dot job anymore we are going to get rid of them and replace which is prohibtively expensive for employers and hey if all of you needed a screen reader, magnifier or all you need is a standup desk or you got to telework every once in awhile when you are having a problem with chronic pain, the cost of that is going to be miniscule. So I think once again that gives older workers just a reassurance that they are not going to be discarded. They have a lot. Time left where can be productive members of the organization and working and earning a paycheck and it doesn't have to be coming to a close.
Pl there is a question that is related that I will ask next. Older workers are not likely to identify as having a disability. To recognize the requests from aemployee that doos not say they have a disability or use the phrase reason ebl accommodation.
That's a great one. Older workers are often not speak in to inclusive culture and it seems to be something that is more recently. Generation after millienials are more -- find this more intuitive stooiments. You might have an older worker that doesn't use that terminology. Oftentimes we tell managers if you can see someone's performance is slipping it is usuallying --s in not usually a voluntary thing. They didn't sudden ly become worse at their could be. Is there anything that I can do to help you hey I noticed that you are not coming on time or I see you have more errors in your spreadsheets. Anything that you can do to help you out or anything, are not bringing up disability. You -- you are not -- because it may be a sticky situation about asking specifically about disability. Is there anything that I can provide. Now you understand and can help work around or hey, man I just -- I had a tough time seeing the numbers on spreadsheet. I am getting a little older. It is a two way street. The communication, the and the trust between the manager and the employee is paramount there. Derek anything else that you would add there?
I would support all of that. I think this idea of us assuming how people feel without educating everyone is kind of what (inaudible) and that once we talked to aging workforce about what is available, then they become a little more interested in that identification and disclosure. The part that I will add here is that an individual need to the say I need a reasonable acome addition to be asking for a reasonable accommodation. So if an older worker has loss of eyesight or says I am experiencing pain that in effect could be a request for a reasonable accommodation and they need to be educated on what that means. We are missing -- employers are not educating enough and they get yet the content is there. If the network of ADA center has a tremendous amount of knowledge and resources. Just on this alone. Let alone the job accommodation network. Getting that content to employees, in most cases not frequently enough, especially when it comes to aging workforce.
Great. So the next question has to do with applicants. The question is does an applicant have to disclose a disability to an employer and if not, is there a way to incentivize applicants to do so?
The answer to the question is no. They are not required. Incentivizing that, that's a difficult -- that's a nuanced question. Because there are identification with the ODA, I'm trying to rack my brain if there is something that I can think of that doesn't run afoul of the ADA.
This is like a signing bonus, if you are a key player in a sport or something. It needs to be around join our team to join inclusion. Like so if, you know, we have a disability and we are hiring, and this gets in to that area, like we have an autism at work hiring initiative. Does that mean that people with autism then can apply that people without autism can't apply? And it is kind of like oh, we have the opportunity to identify or disclose because this employer seeks diversity with disability. But then if it goes to the other cell then we are going to seek one segment and this came up as another question. So the incentive is the company seeks diversity to be part of that team and they will be more confident in doing so. Because there an ERG for a mentoring program and because they know that the organization is looking to promote people with disabilities, think differently. We want a more narrow diverse workforce. And we look at challengeless differently. That's the incentive to disclosure as opposed to, you know, some other form or call it a signing bonus.
Yeah. That makes sense to me. One thing I would say, you know, I used to do a lot of work with wounded veterans and companies looking to recruit and hire veried rans and one thing that I always told them to do in fact, is usually the first thing I told them to do look alt your job descriptions. Key job requirements and the experience necessary to apply for the job. Make sure that those things are there absolutely necessary. Because folks, you know, if you are looking at inclusive hiring practice and folks feel like that they are not qualified for the job due to those job requirements that can be far reaching and look at those super often and they can be out of days that can make your hiring more ex-includive than you want it to be. A great best practice that I really recommend organizations to use is at the end of every job description that's on the website or shoot outs or whatever is that you strongly encourage people with disabilities and veterans to apply. And this is more on the veterans side of things. Like, for example, you may say we require this project manager to have a bachelor's or PMP or X amount of experience managing projects in this sector. But it may be excloouding a veteran who has eight years of managing an organization anywhere from 6 to 40 people that you can teach you got to know how to use sales force. I have managed peep forethe last eight years and -- what do you want to at least consider that person and we will teach you how to use sales force because you have everything on the table that we want. Make sure you look at those job rirms and people with diddy abilities and veterans as well know that there may be some flex inltd and would be willing to provide some training or reasonable accommodation if necessary on those job requirements.
Great. Only a couple more questions. I'm store to put you through the ringer here. So the next question is do you have any advice for businesses who insists on seeking adults for autism IT jobs, vids with autism are not only ones who would be great in a technical job. Any advice to help guide business with this ideology.
I started -- I you a loouded to this I think it is a great question. I had a conversation with the California director of vocational rehabilitation, I think it is DOORS out there. Just last week. So in this the notion from the California perspective they want to build pipelines but they don't want to build exclusionary pipelines. Let's focus on skill sets and capabilities and ensure that all qualified can dits are considered. Also want to bring forward that there is lot of marketing around the autism at work initiative. And so I tried to pull it back a little bit and find out how much is happening here. Who is getting excluded that has these technical skills. So SAP has been doing groundbreaking around the nation. 144 autistics to do technical work. They have done amazing work and only able to hire 144 individuals and maybe they have hired more than of employee with disabilities that are nonautistic. Let's not make too many assumptions. There are these programs and consider deaf employment the same thing could happen help. You would be recruiting only this one communication skill set. And the idea is to focus on the skill sets competencies and knowledge and skills that are just needed and not on the disability when approaching this segment.
Great. Thank you. So last one, for employers who haven't thought about accessibility what's a good very first step for them?
Go ahead and get on to PEAT works or ask JAN and find their where to start tab. They both have them. It is going to give you a good overview of just so you can have the lay of the land so you can -- so you can know what you don't know. You can call JAN up and say hey, here is where I am. I'm -- awant to make sure that what we have add is accessible. Whether informational technology. Maybe it may be. And they will be happy to walk you down that road. There is a truly world class resources. I also recommend if you do have relationships at other employers in your sector who may have already done this, learn from them. There is no need to recreate the wheel. I think a lot of organizations have been very giving and been very grateful that they have been willing to share their best practices and they can be great Inspiration and source of knowledge for what you are looking for.
Those are great tips. We didn't begin until we began. Employers are great at strategizing. They need to assign leads to disability inclusion and bringing community partners and fill their strategic object tirs. They can be informed by JAN, by PEAT and there are other groups that are doing fabulous work. We need to start. Like we haven't started and we are wrapping up 2018 as employers we are far behind. En couraging people to support with these farlt ners because with that network we will have more confidence and once we get going it will part of the employer's DNA.
Thank you so much guys. This concludes today's webinar. We may still have questions. Feel free to reach out to your we are onnal ADA center at 800-949-4232. Thank you very much to our Derek and Brett from EARN and theiring share expertise and information with us today. Last reminder that today's session was recorded and will be available within 24 hours at www.add-audio.org. Join us on December 11th it will be titled access to cultural programs and the arts: Serving patrons with disabilities. E-mail to webinars at ada-audio.org. Thank you very much. You can now just close -- you may now disconnect by closing your browser. Thanks everyone.
This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.