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Friday, May 23, 2014

New Resources for Federal Contractors as Historic Employment Policy Reforms Begin in Hiring Veterans and Others with Disabilities

as shared by National Organization on Disability ...

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NOD Shares New Resources for Federal Contractors as Historic Employment Policy Reforms Begin

March 24, 2014, Falls Church, Va. – On the day when significant new policy reforms affecting disability employment begin, the National Organization on Disability today invited federal contractors and other organizations to start working now towards the seven-percent hiring goal for people with disabilities suggested by the U.S. Department of Labor. While today represents the official effective date for the rule change, many companies will not be subject to the changes until early 2015. In an effort to assist employers who may find reaching these new goals challenging, NOD is adapting its services to help businesses to effectively recruit, hire, train and retain job-seekers with disabilities.
“While it never received the attention that came with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nearly a quarter century ago, the rule changes that go into effect today have the potential for far greater impact and scale than even the ADA in terms of employment,” said NOD President Carol Glazer, who addressed a conference hosted by global security company Northrop Grumman to share best practices on hiring and employing veterans with disabilities. “Federal contractors like Northrop Grumman and their ‘Network of Champions’ show the good work that can be done in hiring veterans with disabilities. We encourage federal contractors – and all employers – to embrace the historic opportunity before us. If they do, not only will more than 600,000 people with disabilities, veterans and non-veterans alike, soon have a job – but employers will reap the benefits of a more diverse, creative and engaged workforce.”
Northrop Grumman created Operation IMPACT to assist severely injured service members with their transition from the military to civilian careers. In this effort, they have partnered with other companies and created a group, known as the Operation IMPACT Network of Champions, who share the same commitment.
“We are extremely proud of Operation IMPACT and our ability to hire wounded warriors and help their families,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation and vice president of Northrop Grumman Global Corporate Responsibility. “Northrop Grumman employs thousands of veterans and Operation IMPACT is an extension of that commitment to those who serve our country. We actively seek to hire our disabled veterans and other disabled employees because of the tremendous value they bring to the workplace.”
The Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) revised the rule implementing Section 503 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) regulations in 2013 to update and strengthen federal contractors’ affirmative action and nondiscrimination responsibilities. The framework articulating contractors’ responsibilities to hire individuals with disabilities and protected veterans have been in place since the 1970’s. However, substantial disparity in the employment rate of individuals with disabilities—including a growing number of veterans—persists.
The new regulations, which take effect beginning today, include a seven-percent disability employment goal for nearly 200,000 federal contractors, as well as an eight-percent hiring benchmark for protected veterans, under VEVRAA. The goal was created to give contractors a yardstick against which they can measure the success of their efforts in outreach to and recruitment of individuals with disabilities.
“The rules emphasize action and call for employers to track the numbers of applicants and actual hires of veterans and people with disabilities, assess their practices, and make improvements if they don’t meet the goals,” said Glazer.
Glazer noted that the Disability Employment Tracker, which NOD introduced in partnership with the National Business and Disability Council (NBDC) and Sirota Consulting, mirrors that approach. The Tracker is one example of how NOD is adapting its service model to support employers who are working to meet the new reforms. The Disability Employment Tracker is a short and simple self-evaluation tool focused on leading practices. The report employers get back from NOD provides a clear, actionable roadmap for improvements where employers don’t measure up. It also helps them gauge their practices against those of other employers, enabling companies who want to be “employers of choice” for people with disabilities, and “leaders among peers,” to see how they stack up. For more information or to sign up for the Tracker visit www.NOD.org/tracker.
About NOD
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation of America’s 56 million people, today with a focus on employment. Current employment programs benefit individuals with disabilities looking for employment, seriously wounded, ill and injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and employers seeking to become more diverse by expanding their diversity initiatives to include people with disabilities. For more information about NOD, its CEO Council, and employment programs, visit www.NOD.org.

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