When it comes to doing business, being inclusive of people with disabilities — in recruitment, retention and advancement — can offer companies a competitive edge. People with disabilities are experienced and creative problem solvers. What’s more, they mirror an important and increasingly expanding customer base representing 1 billion individuals worldwide (World Report on Disability 2011).
Sound like the type of employees you’d like working for you? If so, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) can assist. EARN helps businesses employ qualified individuals with disabilities through free consultation, education and training, as well as through confidential phone assistance that is available toll-free from 9 am to 5 pm EST at 1-855-AskEARN (1-855-275-3276) (Voice/TTY). For those seeking to obtain information on-line, AskEARN.org offers a comprehensive searchable database which includes lists of state and local organizations that can assist in identifying job seekers with disabilities.
EARN also provides employers access to the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a database of more than 2,000 pre-screened, qualified college students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking internships or permanent employment. Through this program, EARN helps employers not only augment their human capital today, but also build a pipeline of talent for tomorrow.
EARN is part of the National Employer Technical Assistance, Policy, and Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
All employees need the right tools and work environment to effectively perform their jobs. People with different abilities, strengths, or limitations may need different tools or user interfaces to maximize their productivity. This is where Broadened Horizons can be a valued partner. We focus holistically and comprehensively on the employees ability to succeed and can provide a comprehensive employment accommodation plan and recommendations at no cost. Most accommodations are simple, low-cost, and similar to needs of any employee (plus tax-deductible sometimes making many disabled employees work tools less expensive than nondisabled): a mouse controller or telephone with different user interface, and a desk or workspace economically optimized for the individuals needs is well-known to optimize productivity. We can address door access and security, often overlooked emergency preparedness and evacuation, work-related travel needs, even recreation and inclusion in company culture. Human resources are your greatest investment, Broadened Horizons can help you realize the greatest potential from and protect that investment.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an accommodation is considered any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability to apply for or perform a job. The term also encompasses alterations to ensure a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities. The obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for job applicants or employees with disabilities is one of the key non-discrimination requirements in the ADA's employment provisions.
Most accommodations are low cost yet yield considerable direct and indirect benefits. In fact, data collected by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) over the years reveal that more than half of accommodations cost employers nothing, and of those that do cost, the typical one-time expenditure is $600 — an outlay that most employers report pays for itself multiple-fold in the form of reduced insurance and training costs and increased productivity.
The following resources provide more information about job accommodations for people with disabilities:
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN) — ODEP-funded service that provides free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and other disability employment issues. Live phone service is available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET by calling (800) 526-7234 or (877) 781-9403 (TTY). Assistance is also available in Spanish, both via phone and the JAN en Español Web page. Specific resources include:
- A to Z of Accommodations and Disabilities
- SOAR (Searchable Online Accommodation Resource)
- Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact
- Employees' Practical Guide to Requesting and Negotiating Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Employers' Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) — The federal government's centrally funded accommodation program. Provides assistive technology and services free of charge to federal agencies.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — Federal agency that administers and enforces the employment provisions of the ADA.
- ADA National Network — Network of 10 regional centers that offer businesses, government agencies and individuals information, guidance and training on the ADA, including its employment provisions.
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