'Inclusion at Work' Framework Helps HR Empower All

Resources and insights for National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2018

By Brett Sheats October 11, 2018
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​During National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), HR professionals around the country can find help building inclusive workplaces and make this year's theme, America's Workforce: Empowering All, a reality.

Inclusion@Work, available from the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), is a framework that employers can use to build their disability-inclusive workplace. It outlines seven core components of inclusive workplaces and has a menu of strategies for achieving them. EARN developed it in collaboration with employers that have exemplary track records in disability employment.

NDEAM, observed every October, is a time to honor the contributions of the millions of people in the U.S. with disabilities who add significant value to our nation's communities, businesses and economy. Increasing their participation in the workforce is key to strengthening an already strong economy in which the job openings actually outnumber the job seekers.

But Empowering All resonates on more than one level. A principle larger than economics and employment rates is at play. We must ensure that the U.S. workforce empowers all because the opportunity to work and contribute is at the heart of the country's defining spirit of self-determination. To deliver on this ideal, we must empower all, including those with disabilities, to prepare for and obtain employment and advance in their careers. And we must empower employers to foster flexible workplaces welcoming of everyone's skills and talents. That's where HR professionals come in and where EARN can help.

EARN, a service of the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) Office of Disability Employment Policy, provides a robust collection of resources on disability and employment, including the Inclusion@Work framework. The AskEARN.org website also offers a series of free monthly webinars on strategies for building disability-inclusive workplace cultures and effectively recruiting, retaining and promoting people with disabilities. EARN is a participant in the SHRM Recertification Provider Program, and these webinars are preapproved for professional development credits (PDCs) toward recertification of the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP credentials.

NDEAM offers the nation's employers an annual opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to ensuring that all Americans, including those with disabilities, can put their skills and talents to work for the good of themselves, their families and their communities. At EARN, we also see it as an opportunity to reaffirm—every day of every month—our commitment to empowering U.S. employers to benefit from those skills and talents.

We hope you'll join us in observing NDEAM this year. For more ideas and inspiration, and to order this year's official poster, visit the DOL Resource Toolbox.

Brett Sheats, J.D., is the national project director of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), based in Washington, D.C.

 


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