DC Metro Business
Leadership Network


Monthly Newsletter: March 2017

DC Metro BLN Driving Success Through Disability Inclusion

   Where is the Pipeline?

By: The Hon. Katherine McCary, CEO, DC Metro BLN

As disability inclusion becomes more of a deliberate corporate focus, in part as a result of Section 503 revisions and the shrinking talent pool in general, BLN employers are constantly asking themselves and their peers, "Where do we go to find talent with disabilities?"

Many of you already know the answer - that there is no one pipeline. Disability is the most diverse of all diversity dimensions. Many individuals with disabilities do not consider themselves to have a disability and many do not use the services of a third party to find careers. Internships and mentoring must also be a key component of your inclusion journey. Still, there are many resources and pipelines that you can and should utilize to increase your talent pool of individuals with disabilities. As you review the list, please recognize that it is your brand and your culture that will depend on whether or not you attract this talent. So finding pipelines is just one part of the equation.

DOL Resources

Thanks to the work of the Office on Disability Employment Policy and VETS in the Department of Labor, there are many resources to support your outreach and learning.To develop and influence disability employment-related policies and practices, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) sponsors five policy and technical assistance resources.  The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) for accommodations resources and solutions, The Employment Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) for resources and customized employer training, and The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT), an on-line portal that shows you why it pays to build and buy accessible workplace technology and how to go about doing so. 

ODEP also leads the efforts for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October and the Campaign for Disability Employment, as award winning public services campaign that includes employer tools ideal for an internal dialog. 

Within ODEP is the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) which is a data base of college students and graduates seeking internships and career opportunities. VETS is committed to helping America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights. VETS provides employers with assistance in finding qualified transitioning service members and veterans in your area as well as an employer toolkit. 

Additionally, the national network of the 80 public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs supports a united or “one company” approach to working with business. The 80 VR Directors have each named a business consultant that functions as the designated point of contact for their agency. These 80 points of contact, through the Council of State Administrators of  Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) leadership and support, form the National Employment Team or The NET. The NET vision statement: To create a coordinated approach to serving business customers through a national VR team that specialized in employer development, business consulting and corporate relations.

Pipeline organizations

There are scores of community-based non profits (CBO) that support transition to work. In 2017, the DC Metro BLN will be creating a list of organizations as well as surveying our members to add to the list. The fact is that because there are so many organizations, it can often be overwhelming. Where do you spend your dollars and time to get success you desire? One thing should also be considered: treat your CBO just as you would any vendor and hold them accountable to your needs. There are also for-profit  businesses (*) that operate in this space for either direct hires or internships(**) that are seeing tremendous growth as the employer demand increases. Here are a few organizations with which the DC Metro BLN partners, 

Please note: This is not a complete list of BLN partners. We will be developing a full list for our members and would like to invite you to share a successful pipeline partner with us. Please email Katherine


    Table of Contents

    Member Announcements  

    2017 USBLN Annual Leadership Awards Now Open

    The USBLN is pleased to announce the opening of the nomination process for its coveted 2017 USBLN Annual Leadership Awards. The awards recognize leading disability workplace, supply chain and marketplace practices. Awardees demonstrate outstanding commitment to promoting disability diversity across their enterprises and clearly embody the highest ethical standards and values in the community.

    The deadline for all nominee submissions is April 7th, 2017 at 5:00 pm EST. Please note that late submissions will not be accepted.

    Visit our website for more info on each award and how to apply!

    May 17 Webinar 

    Assisting Caregiving Employees

    Presenter: John Schall, CEO


    We are pleased to welcome back John Schall, CEO at Caregiver Action Network to address  one of the top concerns of employers who understand that many of their employees are caregivers. Businesses  are seeking ways to support them to retain and help them to remain productive and engaged employees. Over 22 million Americans are working family caregivers – that is one out of five workers. The costs of caregiving to business and industry exceed over $50 billion annually. That is why Caregiver Action Network, in collaboration with Partners on the Path, developed ACE - Assisting Caregiving Employees - to help employers support employees to better manage their caregiving responsibilities.

    Costs attributable to working employee caregivers include:

    Higher employer-related health care costs, estimated to be $13.4 billion per year to U.S. employers

    •  8% more for caregiving employees overall
    • 11% more for blue-collar caregiver
    • 18% more for male caregivers

    Expense of recruiting and retraining new employees to replace caregiving employees, estimated to be $6.6 billion

    Productivity costs primarily due to

    • absenteeism ($5.1 billion
    • shifts from full-time to part-time work ($4.8 billion
    • workday interruptions ($6.3 billion)

    2017 DC Metro BLN Programs

    March Share Forum

    Booz Allen Hamilton strategy and technology consultants


    For In-person or dial in attendance

    Investing in the Future: Empowering Millennials with Disabilities

    March 8, 2017

    8:30 am – 12:00 pm

    Booz Allen Hamilton

    One Preserve Parkway, Rockville, MD

    Join us as we kick of the DC Metro BLN’s 2017 programming calendar and continue the rich Millennial dialog we started in November at Northrop Grumman. We will have the opportunity to learn more about Booz Allen Hamilton’s Millennial engagement strategies and insights gained from Millennial employees to direct the morning’s conversation:

    From the Employer perspective:

    What should companies generally know about Millennials with disabilities?

    When it comes to the engagement and advancement experience, what should companies know and what programs should companies put in place?

    What makes a culture one in which a Millennial with disabilities will want to come to work, self-ID or self-disclose, and stay engaged?

    And from the Millennial perspective:

    What are Millennials with disabilities priorities and are they different from their peers without disabilities?

    What should companies do to ensure they connect with students with disabilities during on-campus recruiting?

    What specific components of the recruiting process are a “must” as a student with a disability? Onboarding?

    What NOT to do?

    2017 Program Calendar

    Lockheed Martin


    5th Annual AAA Symposium and Expo

    (Accessibility, Accommodations and Assistive Technology)

    April 26, 2017 

    8:30 am – 12:00 pm

    Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center

    2121 Crystal City Drive, Arlington VA

    Northrop Grumman               The Arc Northern Virginia


    Making Connections: Corporate and Community Leaders Strategic Roundtable

    May 16, 2017 

    9:30 am – 1:30 pm

    Northrop Grumman

     7575 Colshire Avenue, McLean, VA

    Join us for our 4th Annual Community Partner event focused on bridging the gap between supply and demand. This year we plan a robust dialog between both Corporate and Community leaders addressing solutions. Our two keynote speakers, Sandra Evers-Manly, VP, Global Corporate Responsibility, Northrop Grumman, and Dr. Laura Owens, President, TransCen, Inc will provide the framework of our high-level roundtable discussions which will include:

    • What can employers do to educate providers about their businesses, culture, and environment?
    • What can providers do to help employers understand the value of people with disabilities in the workforce?
    • What can employers and providers do to remove language barriers and perceptions about their respective roles?
    • What can employers do to increase successful employment outcomes?
    • How can employers and providers work together to identify customized employment opportunities?
    • What can employers do to make their company attractive as an employer of choice for people with disabilities?

    General Dynamics


    6th Annual Wounded Warrior Program

    June 20, 2017 

    8:30 am – 12:00 pm

    General Dynamics

    2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA

    Capital One


    Autistic Talent: Recruiting, Interviewing and Retaining Top Talent 

    July 13, 2017  

    8:30 am – 12:00 pm

    Capital One

    1680 Capital One Drive, McLean, VA

    Keynote Presenter

    Job Accommodation Network (JAN)


    USBLN 20th Annual Conference

    Registration is Open

    No DC Metro BLN Programming


    Evolver Agents for Progressive Change


    Mental Illness: Stay at Work/Return to Work Strategies for Employers (JAN)

    September 12, 2017  --- 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

    Evolver, Inc.

    1943 Isaac Newton Square E # 260, Reston VA


    DC Metro BLN 3rd Annual Gala

    Date and Location Pending

    No DC Metro BLN Programming


    4th Annual Federal Updates: ODEP, OFCCP, EEOC, VETS

    **Host, and Date Pending

    If you want to host the November program, please contact Katherine McCary. Our programs feature the Host's Disability Leadership, a keynote speaker and a Share Forum. 

    If you have suggestions for Webinar Speakers or 2017 Gala Speakers, please let us know!!


    2017 Membership

    2017 Annual Membership Levels

     Level  Annual Fee  Program Registration
     Platinum  $10,000  No Program Fees
     Diamond  $5,000  $65
     Gold  $3,000  $65
     Corporate  $1,500  $65
     Non-Profit  $750  $65
     Small Business  $750  $65
     Individual  $175  $65
     Individual/SHRM  $150  $65
     Student  $50  $30

    • Virtual Program Registration (As Available):          $45
    • Webinar Attendee:                                                 $25
    • Webinar Attendee - Member :                                $15
    • Non-Member:                                                         $125

    Effective 2017, Membership Dues may be combined with Gala Sponsorship* for

     ONE combined annual invoice! Contact us to receive an invoice!

    Gala Sponsorships are available

    Platinum $10,000

    Diamond $5,000

    Gold  $2,500

    Silver $1000

    Crystal $500

    * The 2017 Gala will continue the work of the Millennial Employer Collaborative! Stay tuned for details! Sponsors receive Gala tickets and 2018 Program Passes.

    2017 Discussion Board

    We are looking for your Opinions and Ideas! 

    All members have access to the Discussion Board where they can comment on topics including veterans, accommodations, youth and accessibility. Or add your own topic and start a discussion!

    DC Metro BLN Discussion Board             

    Articles of Interest


          VETERANS CORNER           

    Ron Drach

    Ron Drach, President, Drach Consulting, LLC


    A Survey of Disabled Veterans Employment

    From the Disabled American Veterans

    The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) released the results of a survey in November 2016. The survey was conducted in collaboration with Monster and Military.com (a subsidiary of Monster) and is tilted VETERANS TALENT INDEX Insights and Analysis from Veterans, Recrutiers, and Hiring Managers. The entire report can be found at www.monster.com/about/veterans-talent-index.

    A few highlights of this report that may be of interest to our readers include:

    • Most veterans are willing to relocate for a job, but the cost of living is the leading factor in that decision.
    • More employers than ever have established a specific veteran recruitment, hiring and retention program in their companies. (Author’s note – see DCBLN February 2017 newsletter for more about retention).
    • Veterans say finding the job they want is no longer the biggest barrier to employment.
    • Employers want more detail on veterans resumes and feel veterans need to improve their in-person interview skills. (Author’s note – the resume issue has been a topic of discussion for many years. There has not been as much said or written about their interview skills. I believe it is important for those of you who participate in career fairs to do informational or mock interviews with veteran job seekers and offer a critique.


    During the past five years this index in the survey has shown a solid score of 52 to 58 (out of a total of 100). The 2016 survey showed a confidence level of 57 and in 2015 was 58. This survey consists of post 9/11 veterans and shows that just a little more than half of these veterans are confident of obtaining a job. See page 6 of the report for a discussion of Regional differences.

    The number of veterans who think they should receive preferential job opportunities due to their veteran status is decreasing, indicating a stronger sense of self, or more positive outlook, about the possibility of finding a job.

    About two in three (67%) male veterans were “very” or “extremely” confident in succeeding in a job compared to 61% of female veterans feeling the same way.


    This index measures the veteran’s job search activity (0-100) and the current survey shows this to be at 78. Female veteran job search activity is up from 72 in 2015 to 83 in 2016. Male veterans in 2016 was 77. There is no reason given for this increase but some possible reasons could include graduation from college, economic condition has changed, and an increase of female veterans leaving the military.

    In 2015 veterans looking for a job said “Finding a job that matches what I want” was 46% but decreased to 33% in 2016. Again, no reason is provided for this trend. Could it be possible that some veterans have lowered their expectations because they are unable to find such a job or because they have not been successful in finding “what they want”. Veterans like non veterans may take a job out of economic necessity and thus forego their “dream” job. This could contribute to the underemployment phenomenon we hear about.

    Veterans (53%) are seeking employers who are “veteran friendly”. This includes wanting to know if other veterans are working for the company (53%) and if the company has a veteran mentoring group (45%), and whether or not there is a “veteran affinity/support groups” (45%).

    The survey reported that “43 percent of employers…indicated they had a veteran specific mentoring program in place…” The survey two years ago reported only 17% of employers had such a program.

    In February 2017 there was an article about veterans employment retention. This survey revealed that in 2014 68% of employers did not have a specific retention program in place. That has declined to 31% in the 2016 report.


    This index also on a scale of 0-100 measures “1) employers level of hiring veterans; 2) employer views on veterans’ job performance compared to non veterans; and 3) employer motivation to hire veterans.”

    Sixty eight percent of the employers are positive about hiring veterans and remain motivated to hiring veterans. This is down slightly from the past five year average of 71%.

    Military experiences relevancy to civilian careers was reported by 87% of the employers. (Author’s note: this raises a question in my mind about employer comments over the years that employers are sometimes confused about the military skill sets being transferrable to the civilian careers. I don’t know what the question was asked but this 87% could be respondents who have some experience with veterans already employed and not new applicants)

    Surprising to me is 76% of employers believe that “companies should provide preferential job opportunities to those with prior military experience.” Only 59% believed that in 2011.

    The survey reveals that employers are looking for veterans to perform many roles and not just the position for which they have been hired.

    It has often been said that veterans make good employees. More than half (54%) of employers said veterans “perform their job ‘much better’ compared to non-veterans in their organization.” What is your company’s experience?

    Employers were asked “what would help veterans convey their experience more effectively”

    • 56% reported more details are needed on their resumes
    • 48% military skills translation to civilian skills needed more clarification
    • 44% reported the veteran needed to improve communication skills during an interview

    What is your company’s experience?

    Most of us who have been advocating veterans’ employment have talked about “soft skills” attained in military service. According to the survey employers are now recognizing this and place a “great deal of importance on soft skills.”

    Employers identified four top soft skills as:

    • 49% -  communication skills
    • 43% - attention to detail
    • 43% - self discipline
    • 41% - confidence

    53 percent of veterans said it was very important for companies to market themselves as a veteran friendly place to work. I reviewed the entire report but could not find anything specific about veterans with disabilities. However, I learned about this report from an article in a recent DAV Magazine titled Survey reveals experiences for disabled veterans, their employers and I have asked DAV’s National Employment Director for further reference. In the meantime the following highlights are direct quotes from the article and a DAV November 8, 2016 news release.

    Magazine Article References

    §  45 percent of employers surveyed feel their work environment is not appropriate for veterans with disabilities and 30 percent have concerns about veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. We [DAV] hear similar concerns about traumatic brain injuries. (Author’s note – From August 2007 until late 2010 the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) had a robust education and outreach program for veterans living and working  with TBI/PTSD. I am not sure why they discontinued it. It was known as America’s Heroes at Work and was a valuable resource for employers, veterans with PTSD/TBI and researchers. I did numerous presentations on this and I know some of our readers are aware of this effort)

    §  84 percent feel employers are accommodating of their disabilities, but only 38 percent of veterans have disclosed their disabilities on a job application. (Author’s note – I view the 84% as a positive that can be used to assure veterans with disabilities can comfortably request accommodations)

    §   The 2016 VTI, released Nov 7 [2016], included nearly a dozen questions specifically pertaining to veterans with disabilities. (Author’s note – as I mentioned there is nothing in the report on those questions)


    November 8, 2016

    Disabled Veterans’ Perspective on Job Hunting:

    • Sixty-five percent of respondents believe their service-connected disability has required them to change career paths.
    • When it comes to their disability, 78 percent of the service members and veterans surveyed do not feel it impacts their value as an employee. Sixty-six percent agree their disability impacts their physical ability only.
    • Of the respondents who indicated they have a disability, 66 percent say it is visibly apparent.

    Employers Perspective on Hiring Disabled Veterans:

    • Of employers who have hired disabled veterans, 81 percent believe their company is a positive and productive workplace. Seventy-four percent believe it has been a positive experience for the company.
    • Seventy-three percent of employers surveyed say their company has confidential resources available to veterans if they need to seek help.
    • Seventy-five percent of employers have confidential resources for managers to help their veteran employees.

    Drach Consulting, LLC is a service disabled veteran owned firm that was established after a successful career that includes 28 years with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and more than 8 years with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).   Ron Drach, President of Drach Consulting, LLC has nearly 50 years experience working on veteran’s issues including employment, affirmative action, vocational rehabilitation, homelessness, transitioning service members, and disability issues.

    The Future of Work: Working with Autism and ADHD

    Lisa Rabasca Roepe                                                    EY Building a better working world

    Lisa Rabasca Roepe 

    As more people with autism and ADHD begin to advocate for themselves at work, some employers are changing their workplaces.

    When Sam Briefer, 23, was hired by Ernst & Young last year, he had two concerns: that he wouldn’t make friends with his coworkers, and that his office environment would distract him from his work.

    These sound like the concerns of any new hire, but for Briefer, they went beyond typical new-hire jitters because he has autism. He was hired after graduating from college as part of the company’s pilot program to recruit employees who have been diagnosed with autism. The company plans to expand this program, says Lori Golden, diverse abilities strategy leader at Ernst & Young.

    Briefer says all of his concerns were unfounded, in part because of the support Ernst & Young provides. He says he is friendly with his coworkers and has socialized with them a few times after work. He’s allowed to listen to music using headphones because it helps him to concentrate on his tasks and, when an assignment to schedule multiple Skype meetings for his team became a bit overwhelming for him, Briefer’s manager and job coach helped him to find the solution of delegating and asking coworkers for help.

    The key to working with employees with autism, says Briefer, is for managers to listen to their needs. "Let the employee explain their learning style, how they like to work in certain environments, and how they would best cope," says Briefer.

    Self-Advocacy is More Common

    The practice of listening to the employee’s preferences has worked well for human resources manager Kelly Burns, who recalls the time an intern told her and a manager that he had Asperger syndrome. "He told us he was working with a coach to help him prepare for life in the workplace," says Burns, who is now an HR manager at Summit Consulting LLC. "He came to us with suggestions about working and interacting with others, and that really took the pressure off his manager." Burns says he even let them know that he might not always laugh at their jokes, and that we shouldn’t take that to mean he wasn’t an engaged or happy employee.

    There is an increasing awareness in the workplace for certain conditions that are being diagnosed and how these conditions can be considered a disability, says attorney Susan Warner. "We are seeing more requests for accommodations in general," says Vanessa Matsis-McCready, assistant general counsel and human resources manager for Engage PEO, a company that offers HR solutions for small- to mid-sized companies.

    Sensitivity Training Helps Colleagues

    While employers are accustomed to providing ergonomic workstations for employees with repetitive motion disorders or flexible hours for an employee returning to work after surgery, Matsis-McCready says, employers are just beginning to get comfortable accommodating employees for other disabilities. "The best thing for an employer to do when they need to make an accommodation is to start an open dialogue with the employee about what they need," Warner says.

    For employees diagnosed with ADHD or autism, the widespread adoption of open floor plans in the workplace has made it more difficult for them to focus on their work, Matsis-McCready says. Employees with ADHD or autism might need to work in a quiet area with fewer distractions, she says, but their colleagues shouldn’t assume they don’t want to be part of a team or work collaboratively. There are other ways to accommodate an employee with ADHD, Matsis-McCready says, including providing noise-canceling headphones or allowing them to work a flexible schedule that is outside normal business hours, where they come into work a few hours earlier or later than other employees so they have quiet time to complete their work without distractions.

    Burns says accommodations for an employee diagnosed with autism include:

    • Being specific, clear, and concise with directions.
    • Anticipating a lack of emotional response and not interpreting it to mean that person isn’t engaged in their work or with the team.
    • Limiting your team’s use of sarcasm and hyperbole.
    • Looking for opportunities for team building outside the office besides happy hour and team sports.

    Companies Benefit from Another Perspective

    In addition to Ernst & Young, other large companies are developing programs to recruit and retain employees with autism. For instance, SAP has a goal of hiring 650 employees with autism by 2020. So far, the company has hired 116 individuals with autism who range in age from 22 to 59, are located in 17 locations in nine different countries, and spread across 100 teams, says Jose Velasco, head of SAP’s Autism at Work program in the U.S. To help them succeed, SAP provides six weeks of pre-employment training, and once they are hired, they are supported by their manager, who has been given autism awareness training; an office mentor, who has volunteered to help and is from another work team; and a job and life skills coach, Velasco says. SAP and Ernst & Young are informally working with Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard to share best practices for hiring and retaining more employees with autism.

    SAP and Ernst & Young have found that hiring employees with autism bring benefits. They provide a different perspective to problem solving and the creative process, Velasco says. Working with an employee diagnosed with autism can help you become a more effective communicator and manager, says Jamell Mitchell, an associate director at Ernst & Young who manages Briefer and several other employees with autism. "I have found myself pausing and saying, ‘I’m not as clear as I can be,'" he says, "and then taking the time to recraft a communication so it’s clear and I am hitting the key points."

    About the Author: Lisa Rabasca Roepe writes about women in the workplace, parenting, and food and drink. Her articles have appeared in Daily Worth, Men's Journal, Eater, SheKnows, and Yahoo Parenting.

    Making The Case for Disability Recruitment 

    Tracey Klein, Executive Vice President, GettingHired

    It's no secret that there is a growing need and trend for all organizations to focus on increasing inclusivity within their recruitment strategies.

    The impact of 2014 revisions to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act means organizations with federal contracts must have at least seven percent of their workforce made up of individuals with disabilities. Meanwhile, the shortage of sufficient talent across many sectors means businesses should be looking to supplement their recruitment strategies with this highly skilled, often overlooked community of job seekers.

    Indeed, with 20 percent of Americans having some sort of disability, this is a diverse group that offers significant untapped potential for employers. It is therefore a community that companies should be actively targeting within their talent acquisition efforts.

    How can recruitment of people with disabilities help your business?

    One of the most important aspects of any effective recruitment strategy is ensuring return on investment, and with hiring individuals with disabilities this can be easily achieved. 

    Workers with disabilities tend to show greater loyalty to their employer than other groups, meaning there is a greater likelihood of retention of these employees. This provides significant gains in terms of lower costs for replacing those leaving the business and a more long-term benefit of training and upskilling within this group. 

    Furthermore, the American Community Survey highlights that 14% of individuals with disabilities hold either a Bachelor’s or Advanced Degree, meaning that there are potentially millions of job seekers with the necessary skills and qualifications to excel within your business. And for disability recruitment solutions like GettingHired, the skill levels can be even higher - GettingHired’s Voice of the Jobseeker Survey in 2015 found that 54 percent of its job seeker community held a Bachelor's or Advanced degree. 

    Developing a more diverse workforce also helps improve recruitment outcomes in the long-term.  If individuals with disabilities can see from the outset that an employer is inclusive to their community, they are likely to be more inclined to apply for jobs - a self-supporting process that improves with time and investment.

    Offering more than just access to talent

    Organizations that partner with GettingHired can be assured they will receive only the highest standard of service when seeking to find the best candidates to expand their workforce. By partnering with us, you will receive a full service model - not simply access to talent, but also support in training and development of your recruiters and promotion of your employer brand across the disabilities community.

    Detailed metrics enable GettingHired to provide insight for our clients for hiring people with disabilities within their industry and beyond.  Our years of experience in specializing in this field mean we are able to get your jobs more easily in front of a receptive and responsive community of individuals with disabilities.

    For those interested in learning more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and why your business should increase its talent acquisition efforts in this area, contact our expert team here.

      GettingHired Empowering Individuals & Veterans with Disabilities

    Recruiting Employees with Disabilities


    By: Carol Glazer and Howard Green

    SOURCESodexo, Inc.

    For the 57 million Americans living with disabilities, the largest barrier to Quality of Life is finding employment. There are 30 million Americans with disabilities of working age but  only 20 percent of them participate in the workforce.

    The barriers to employment usually stem from stigma about what individuals with disabilities can achieve and contribute to the workforce. A survey that we worked on with PwC found that many people try to hide their disability out of fear that stigma will keep them from getting a job or limit their job options.

    That’s a huge waste of talent at a time when the American workforce needs it most. With Baby Boomers retiring and new jobs being created, there will be an estimated 47 million new job openings in this decade, according The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

    Additionally, hiring people with disabilities can have unique benefits for employers. A 2012 study by Walgreens found that workers with disabilities had 48 percent lower turnover rates than the nondisabled employee population, 67 percent lower medical costs, and equal rates of accuracy and productivity.

    Here are a few ways to ensure your organization is taking advantage of this talent pool:

    Foster a disability-inclusive culture

    Employees with disabilities are looking for a work environment where they feel safe discussing a disability with coworkers and leaders. A firm’s leaders can play an important role in starting and sustaining the conversation internally around disability, creating expectations and driving accountability for disability inclusion initiatives.  Include content and images addressing employees with disabilities on your company’s materials, social media and employee intranet, and review your disability policies and processes to ensure that these workers do not go unsupported.

    The National Organization on Disability offers a suite of Disability Employment Professional Services that provide strategic guidance and practical steps customized to enhance each company’s organizational culture and improve hiring and retention rates for employees with disabilities.

    Commit to a disability employment initiative

    Create a program with the specific goal of hiring people with disabilities. Create hiring goals and a strategy to achieve them.  Look for new places to find candidates, including disability-specific job sites or campus disability services offices. Depict people with apparent disabilities in your external recruitment materials and on your website. And educate recruiters and hiring managers on alternate interviewing techniques, as some wonderful candidates may have difficulty with traditional interviewing formats.

    In addition, train your recruiters and managers on disability etiquette and awareness to help ensure that they understand the needs of candidates and new hires with disabilities—and current employees with disabilities, too. The most successful disability employment initiatives are multi-faceted and include both external outreach efforts and internal culture-change efforts.

    Build a comfortable working environment

    Set aside a central accommodations budget, so that employees with disabilities can access job tools and aides, without affecting departmental budgets. A study from the Job Accommodation Network found that 59 percent of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500. The study found that providing accommodations led to retention of valuable employees, improved productivity and morale, reduction in workers’ compensation and training costs, and improved company diversity.


                  Autism Speaks Job Portal                         


    Autism Speaks, the leading autism organization, launched TheSpectrumCareers.com to connect employers with qualified individuals with autism and other disabilities.

    The way it works is simple:

    • Leading businesses quickly post open job requirements and recruit qualified job seekers with autism and other disabilities.
    • Job seekers will upload video resumes to demonstrate their skills and interests to prospective employers.
    • Employment service providers and job coaches can provide autism-specific resources and support to both parties, if necessary

    TheSpectrumCareers.com is easy to use and FREE to all users. Visit TheSpectrumCareers.com and watch our videos to see how easy it is to join. Questions? Want to join? Contact Autism Speaks Adult Services at AdultServices@autismspeaks.org.

    Job Accommodation Network Consultants Corner

    How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Apply to Employees Who Have Infertility?

    Linda Carter Batiste

    From the desk of Linda Carter Batiste, J.D. 

    With a few exceptions, the ADA only applies to employees who meet the ADA’s definition of disability, so the first question is whether an employee with infertility has a disability. The answer depends on what causes the infertility. To have a disability under the ADA, a person must have an impairment. Infertility refers to the inability of a person to reproduce, but may not always be caused by a diagnosed impairment.

    For example, a middle-aged woman who is having problems conceiving may not have an impairment, but rather is simply confronting difficulties because of her age and normal changes to her reproductive system. Without an impairment, she would not have a disability under the ADA.

    Even when an impairment is the cause of infertility, to have a disability under the ADA a person also must show that the impairment substantially limits a major life activity. For people with infertility, that major life activity can be reproduction, which is specifically designated as a major life activity in the ADA Amendments Act.  For example, a person who had cancer may have great difficulty reproducing as a result of radiation or chemotherapy and therefore likely has disability under the ADA.  

    Assuming an employee with infertility has a disability under the ADA, he/she is protected from discrimination on the basis of that disability and is entitled to reasonable accommodations that are needed because of the disability.

    The most common type of accommodations needed for infertility are modified schedules or leave for treatment and stress reduction.

    Regarding discrimination, the most common issue that comes up is insurance coverage for medical treatment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency that enforces the employment provisions of the ADA, addressed this issue in an informal guidance letter:  https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/letters/2000/ada_infertility_benefits.html 

    Employment decisions related to infertility treatments also may implicate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. For more information, see https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_guidance.cfm#IA3c 

    How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Apply to Employees Who Have Infertility?

    From the desk of Linda Carter Batiste, J.D. 

    With a few exceptions, the ADA only applies to employees who meet the ADA’s definition of disability, so the first question is whether an employee with infertility has a disability. The answer depends on what causes the infertility. To have a disability under the ADA, a person must have an impairment. Infertility refers to the inability of a person to reproduce, but may not always be caused by a diagnosed impairment.

    For example, a middle-aged woman who is having problems conceiving may not have an impairment, but rather is simply confronting difficulties because of her age and normal changes to her reproductive system. Without an impairment, she would not have a disability under the ADA.

    Even when an impairment is the cause of infertility, to have a disability under the ADA a person also must show that the impairment substantially limits a major life activity. For people with infertility,

     that major life activity can be reproduction, which is specifically designated as a major life activity in the ADA Amendments Act.  For example, a person who had cancer may have great difficulty reproducing as a result of radiation or chemotherapy and therefore likely has disability under the ADA.  

    Assuming an employee with infertility has a disability under the ADA, he/she is protected from discrimination on the basis of that disability and is entitled to reasonable accommodations that are needed because of the disability.

    The most common type of accommodations needed for infertility are modified schedules or leave for treatment and stress reduction.

    Regarding discrimination, the most common issue that comes up is insurance coverage for medical treatment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency that enforces the employment provisions of the ADA, addressed this issue in an informal guidance letter:  https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/letters/2000/ada_infertility_benefits.html 

    Employment decisions related to infertility treatments also may implicate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. For more information, see https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pregnancy_guidance.cfm#IA3c 

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    We are happy to publish newsworthy articles that address the business perspective of 

    disability issues.

    Share your news via email kmccary@dcmetrobln.org for the

    April 2017 Newsletter no later than March 20, 2017.

    Upcoming Events in the DC Metro Area & Beyond

    Virtual Job Fair

    Great Candidates with Disabilities. Zero Travel.
    Register by March 3, 2017

    Register at www.careereco.com/events/disability 

    Virtual Career Fair Date: March 15, 2017 


    Access the untapped talent pool of people with disabilities.
    Including Veterans with disabilities
    National candidate participation


    Connect with a dedicated and talented labor force.
    Reach Business, STEM, & Liberal Arts majors
    Pre-screen candidates to expedite the selection process


    Eliminate travel and reduce recruiting and outreach costs!
    Our prior Virtual Fairs each included over 1,500 jobseekers with disabilities
    Recruit nationwide from the convenience of your office 

    Webinar about the Power of Virtual Fairs - Review the recorded webinar 


    The Virtual Career Fair technology platform is accessible.
    Bender Consulting Services is a USBLN Certified Disability-owned Business Enterprise.
    For information:
     bender@careereco.com or 770.980.0088

    Stay at Work/Return to Work 

                                                                                     Friday, March 103-4:30 pm ET 

    The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Policy Collaborative invite you to participate in a follow up virtual discussion, Part 2: Replicating and Adapting Centers of Occupational Health and Education (COHE) Strategies.

    Through this online event, we are convening experts and interested stakeholders to learn about and discuss COHE, an effective Washington State initiative to reduce long-term disability for injured workers by providing trained health services coordinators who work directly with medical providers, employers, and injured workers to coordinate care and facilitate return to work.

    The Washington COHE model includes several elements that might be of interest to other states including:

    • Health Services Coordinators
    • Emphasis on occupational health best practices such as: 
      • Rapid reporting of work-related injuries
      • Completing an Activity Prescription Form (APF) on the first office visit or when patient restrictions change
      • Two-way communication with the employer when patients are off or expected to be off work
      • Assessing and documenting patient's Barriers to Return to Work (BRTW), and developing a plan to overcome the barriers.
    • Certified occupational medicine physician for each COHE who serves as medical director and medical advisors who serve as a resource to doctors and health services coordinators
    • Financial and non-financial incentives to providers who demonstrate occupational health best practices
    • Standards for medical providers who treat injured workers
    • Provider outreach and training in occupational health best practices
    • Community outreach to business and labor groups 

    Register for the discussion, or view a recording of Part 1: Replicating and Adapting COHE Strategies

    To learn more about the Policy Collaborative and Community of Practice visit the website. To request to join the Community of Practice, send an email with your name, title, organization, and state to saw-rtw@impaqint.com

    Please share this invitation with your colleagues and others who may be interested- we look forward to hearing from you! 

    The Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Policy Collaborative is committed to improving stay-at-work and return-to-work outcomes for individuals experiencing disability resulting in work limitations. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor under a contract with IMPAQ International.  

    Preparation of this material was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Contract No. DOL-OPS-16-U-00178. This document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

                                                                       ODEP Office of Disability Employment Policy

    ADA In Focus Webinar Series


    Transcen Inc. Career and Workforce Development  Mid-Atlantic ADA Center

    ADA In Focus Webinar Series

    Presented by TransCen, Inc. and the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center

    Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace


    Wednesday, March 22, 2017
    2:00 - 3:30 PM ET

    Register for the 20th National USBLN Conference



    2017 USBLN 20th Annual Conference and Biz2Biz EXPO
    Orlando, August 21-24

    Please join the USBLN on August 21 – 24 for our 20th Annual National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo entitled, “Disability: A Catalyst for Innovation.” The USBLN is the only business-to-business NATIONAL membership organization, with local affiliates, that focuses on sharing and developing proven strategies for including people with disabilities in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace.

    This premier event provides the best and brightest in disability inclusion with cutting-edge educational sessions, enhanced networking, exciting interactive programming plus high-profile speakers. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando

    Save the Date!

    24th Annual Mid-Atlantic ADA Update

    September 13 -  September 15, 2017

    New Location This Year: 

    Sheraton Tysons Hotel

    8661 Leesburg Pike

    Tysons, VA, 22182

    The Mid-Atlantic ADA Update is the region's leading conference on the  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

    To receive notice of registration availability, send a message to: ADATraining@transcen.org.

    About Us

    The DC Metro Business Leadership Network is an employer led non-profit that uses a business-to business model offering education, training programs and resources to change attitudes and address concerns of businesses so that they learn how to proactively include people with disabilities in the workforce, marketplace and supplier diversity.

    Myra Wilder, Chair

    Marriott International

    Andrea Hall, Vice Chair


    Brooke Thomas, Secretary

    Lockheed Martin

    Ellen de Bremond, Treasurer

    The Choice, Inc.


    • Jenn Bassett, JBG Companies
    • Karen Cook, Gallaudet University
    • Michelle Crabtree, Hyatt 
    • Dan Ellerman, Northrop Grumman
    • Sophie Howard, GDIT
    • Patricia Jackson, Booz Allen Hamilton
    • Misty Koper, EY
    • Charlesiah McLean, Leidos
    • Eduardo Meza-Etienne, eSSENTIAL Accessibility
    • Dan Sullivan, KPMG
    • Jacqui Winters, Deloitte & Touche

    Advisory Board

    • Dinah Cohen, Dinah Cohen Consulting, LLC (CAP Director, retired)
    • Ron Drach, Drach Consulting, LLC (Chair, Wounded Warrior Committee)
    • Donnielle DeMesme, Golden Key Group
    • Rikki Epstein, The Arc of Northern Virginia
    • Denyse GordonCACI
    • Tisha Herne, AudioEye
    • Karen Herson, Concepts, Inc.
    • Rich Luecking, President Emeritus, TransCen, Inc.
    • Dorothy Meekins, Evolver, Inc.
    • Bryan Moseley, TCS Associates
    • Chrissone Palmer, EY
    • Ann Rader, Healthcare Transformation, Strategy Execution & Management Consultant Leading Innovative Solutions
    • Jenn Sharp, KPMG
    • Kia Silver Hodge, Lockheed Martin
    • Sue Werber, C5 Consulting, LLC (Chair, ME Committee)

    CEO, Executive Director: The Honorable Katherine O. McCary, C5 Consulting, LLC

    Copyright © 2017 DC Metro BLN. All rights reserved.
    Contact email: kmccary@dcmetrobln.org
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