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HOW ODEP GUIDELINES ON PROVIDING EQUITABLE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES POLICY, ... (399 hits)


For Immediate Release From Office of Disability & Employment Policy!


Providing Equitable Employment Opportunities for People With Disabilities


The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the Labor Department turns 20 this year.

“In the past two decades, ODEP’s policy coordination role has proven extremely effective,” said Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary at ODEP. “We try to look broadly at what it takes for people with disabilities to be successful.” ODEP’s mission “is to develop and influence policies and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”
Dividing and Conquering Policy

ODEP works broadly across many areas impacting disability employment. To accomplish this, it divides its policy works among six critical teams:

an employer team (focused on helping employers attract and retain talented workers with disabilities), an employment-supports team (focused on those support elements needed to maintain a job such as accommodations and transportation), workforce systems team (focused on the public workforce system), a youth team (focused on helping youth transition from school into careers), a research and evaluation team, and an outreach team.

Since it is a small agency of about 50 employees, ODEP also relies on collaborating with teams within DOL and across the federal government, as well as with state governments and the private sector.

Workforce Recruitment Program

ODEP is home to the Workforce Recruitment Program, which has a database of resumes from college students and recent graduates with disabilities.

“We pull all these resumes from wonderful, talented [applicants] for the purpose of helping mentor them and then hopefully connect them to internships or full-time jobs in the federal government,” said Sheehy. She explained that federal employees will interview students and help them prepare for federal jobs.

The database accumulates around 2,500 resumes a year. The database can be used for Schedule A hiring. Schedule A is a special appointing authority that agencies can use to non-competitively appoint individuals.

The 2021 database for the Workforce Recruitment Program is available now for federal employers and hiring managers to access its diverse talent to fill open positions.
Tackling COVID

Programs are vital now when many people are dealing with unemployment due to the COVID-19 recession.

Currently, ODEP is researching the pandemic’s effects on young people with disabilities. This work is done through its youth policy development center, the Center for Advancing Policy and Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth).

ODEP is also managing pilots in eight states called Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN). Through RETAIN, the participating states are testing early intervention strategies, including coordinating health care and career services, to improve stay-at-work or return-to-work outcomes of individuals who experience a work disability while employed. While the program existed before the pandemic, it is now playing a critical role in helping employees who are recovering from COVID-19.

Policy Through an Intersectional Lens

Sheehy acknowledged the new administration’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and how it affects ODEP’s mission. President Joe Biden has already placed a focus on people with disabilities in his National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness Plan. Biden’s focus on diversity will provide many opportunities for ODEP.

“I think we will be very, very busy,” said Sheehy. “It’s been extremely exciting to see all the executive orders that have come out that mention disability. We love to be part of the national priorities. I think it’s really important to ensure that people with disabilities are not an afterthought.”

Sheehy stressed the importance of intersectionality when discussing disability policy. “People with disabilities need to be considered in the national racial equity discussions and policy considerations, and racial equity needs to be considered when we look specifically at disability policy in employment. So, both directions are going to be critical,” said Sheehy. Sheehy referenced the higher prevalence of disabilities among people of color. Additionally, mental health conditions often go untreated in communities of color, and racial trauma plays a role in mental health.

Learn more HERE!: https://www.govloop.com/providing-equitable-employment-opportunities-for-people-with-disabilities/?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ODEP_Newsletter_3-5-21



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How an Innovator for Disability Policy Makes Work More Inclusive


Jennifer Sheehy’s devotion to disability employment has not gone unnoticed. As the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s (ODEP) Deputy Assistant Secretary, she received the 2019 Presidential Rank Award, the Accenture Women in Government “Rising Leader” award, and the Diet Coke/Glamour magazine “Women at Their Best” award.

While recognized for her work in government, Sheehy originally started out in the private sector. When Sheehy first entered the workforce, she worked in marketing with companies like Anheuser Busch. After a spinal cord injury at a pool party in 1994, Sheehy began using a wheelchair. She returned to graduate school after rehabilitation. “Out of business school, I ended up going to the National Organization on Disability, and then joined the Federal Government in 2000,” said Sheehy.

Sheehy reflected on her dual experience of being in the workforce with and without a disability and how it gives her a different perspective.

“Some of us who experience a disability later in life feel lost because we might not have had exposure to services or people with different disabilities before. Now we have better exposure because people with disabilities are more included everywhere,” she said. “For me, it was helpful to have the perspective [of] someone who didn’t have a disability, who worked in the private sector. The contrast of how I was treated, before and after having a disability, led to work with the private sector, trying to change attitudes and help them incorporate inclusive policies,” Sheehy added.

Equity and Bias

When it comes to making workplaces more equitable, we must check our unconscious bias. Sheehy explained that hiring managers may scrutinize the resumes of employees with disabilities more than they would for other candidates. She also mentioned how hiring managers can doubt the abilities of employees with disabilities without letting the employee explain themselves.

“We need to help them get beyond that, so that they let the person with the disability tell them how they’re going to do the job, as opposed to thinking in their heads automatically that the applicant can’t do the job because they haven’t seen a person with a disability do that job,” Sheehy said.

Sheehy believes that these attitudes are one of the biggest factors preventing inclusion in the workplace. However, we can combat these attitudes strategically.

“One strategy to battle the attitudinal barriers is to tell all new employees about the agency’s accommodation policy upfront. You don’t know if someone is disabled or not. Most disabilities are not apparent to the eye,” explained Sheehy. “You also don’t know if someone will acquire a disability in their work life. You want to message an inclusive culture by making sure all employees know that they could get accommodations, and how to do it in an agency, starting at the very beginning of employment and then repeat it at least once a year.”

Spreading Awareness

Sheehy explained that representation can greatly conquer our bias.

“The more we get out information about what people can do, the success stories of people with disabilities in nontraditional jobs and occupations, and share resources, the more people will understand that disability is everywhere,” she said.

Read the full article HERE!: https://www.govloop.com/how-an-innovator-for-disability-policy-makes-work-more-inclusive/?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ODEP_Newsletter_3-5-21


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Customized Employment Works for Veterans Videos

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and Veterans' Employment and Training Service, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, released two videos featuring businesses that meet their hiring needs by using Customized Employment to hire veterans with disabilities. The videos on "Customized Employment Works for Veterans: A Job that I Love" http://www.drivedisabilityemployment.org/customized-employment-a-job-that-i-love and "Customized Employment Works for Veterans: A Win-Win Strategy" are available for viewing http://www.drivedisabilityemployment.org/customized-employment-works-for-veterans-a-win-win-strategy.


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Office of Disability Employment Policy Resources

BadCredit.org posted a blog on Office of Disability Employment Policy resources for people with disabilities, including information on financial literacy. "The Office of Disability Employment Policy Promotes Resources to Help Those in Need Avoid Debt" outlines the information available for people with disabilities from ODEP's resources including the Job Accommodation Network, Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion, Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology, LEAD Center, and more.

Read "The Office of Disability Employment Policy Promotes Resources to Help Those in Need Avoid Debt" https://www.badcredit.org/news/odep-helping-people-with-disabilities-avoid-debt/?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ODEP_Newsletter_3-5-21


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Facilitating Disability-Inclusive Telework during COVID-19

The National Conference of State Legislatures released a report examining the rise of telework amid COVID-19 and the unique opportunities it presents to reengage underserved segments of the U.S. workforce, including people with disabilities. The report on "The Promise of Telework" highlights examples of effective federal and state telework programs and provides recommendations on how states can ensure their telework policies and programs include individuals with disabilities. The report is the second in a series developed in collaboration with the State Exchange on Employment & Disability on the opportunities and challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the employment of people with disabilities.

Read: https://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/the-promise-of-telework637471656.aspx?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ODEP_Newsletter_3-5-21


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Need health insurance? Enroll at HealthCare.gov

You can enroll in health plans due to the COVID-19 emergency through May 15, or anytime if you have certain life changes or qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, at HealthCare.gov.

Enroll in Health Plans HERE!: https://www.healthcare.gov/?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ODEP_Newsletter_3-5-21


OPEN ENROLLMENT EXTENDED UNTIL MAY 15, 2021!
Posted By: agnes levine
Friday, March 5th 2021 at 11:25AM
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