October 8, 2013
With new regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor on hiring people with disabilities and veterans now in place, companies are rushing to ensure that they are prepared. In response, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) and National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center today announced an important new tool that will help companies across a range of industries assess their own readiness to launch or improve their hiring of people with disabilities and veterans. It’s called the Disability Employment Tracker, and NOD President Carol Glazer says it’s a potential game changer for employers, including those who need to respond to the new federal regulations.
“The rule changes announced recently by the Obama Administration have grabbed the attention not only of federal contractors, but all corporate America, who are now more closely examining their hiring practices for people with disabilities,” said Glazer, during remarks at a luncheon symposium co-sponsored by NOD, energy company Exelon and its nonprofit philanthropic arm, the Exelon Foundation, in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. “With input directly from business executives, this powerful new self-assessment tool comes at exactly the right time for employers who want to expand the diversity of their workforce, as well as those who want to hit these new federal targets.”
In August, the U.S. Dept. of Labor announced new regulations requiring most federal contractors to set a goal of having workers with disabilities make up at least 7-percent of their employees. The benchmark for veterans would be 8-percent.
The Disability Employment Tracker is designed for companies to:
• Confidentially assess their own disability and veteran employment practices
• Benchmark their efforts against leading practices; and
• Use results to educate internal stakeholders on successes and opportunities
“With the heightened awareness of the need to drive a change in hiring practices in order to improve the labor force participation of people with disabilities, now is the time for companies to take a look at solutions that can help them assess their strengths and weaknesses and guide them in developing their own best practices for acquiring and maintaining a diverse workforce,” said John D. Kemp, President and CEO of The Viscardi Center.
With input from Fortune 500 companies, and guidance from leading research firm J.D. Power, the Disability Employment Tracker was developed with Sirota, a leading provider of organizational assessments and employee survey programs. Sirota will administer the Tracker and ensure confidentiality and data security.
“We embrace the talents that people with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and applaud NOD’s work to address unemployment and underemployment among these individuals,” said Exelon Senior Vice President and General Counsel Darryl Bradford, who leads the company’s Individuals with Disabilities Advisory Team. “We and other employers must take a hard, honest look at our performance in this area and strive for continuous improvement, and NOD and NBDC’s new self-assessment tool will help in this regard.”
Glazer says results are confidential and can be used to help improve a company’s disability policies and programs. “As the number of participating companies grows, we will provide customized benchmarking by company size and industry sector,” added Glazer. “We see this as a real value-add that companies need and, more importantly, want. And with J.D. Power on our team, companies can feel good knowing that one of the great research firms has reviewed our methodology and processes.”
NBDC’s services are offered through tiered membership levels or on a consultant basis and assist businesses in developing strategies to implement, grow, measure and create solid disability programs. These include talent acquisition, advancement and retention strategies; customized training seminars and workshops; facility and IT accessibility surveys; and an information hotline for disability-related employment issues. Its initiatives to assist employers with expanding their recruiting of people with disabilities include Job Postings Services that aid in attracting qualified people with disabilities to their companies, the NBDC National Resume Database® that provides access to resume listings 24/7 and the Emerging Leaders summer internship program for college students with disabilities.
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation of America’s 56 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life. The organization’s current focus is on increasing employment opportunities for the 79 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. Current employment programs benefit individuals with disabilities looking for employment, high school students with disabilities transitioning into the workforce, seriously wounded, ill and injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and employers seeking to become more diverse by expanding existing diversity initiatives to include people with disabilities. For more information about NOD, its CEO Council, and employment programs, visit www.NOD.org.