Get to know ODEP

DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) creates disability employment policy, builds partnerships and provides data on employment of people with disabilities.  With OFCCP’s increased focus on disability outreach and the newly released Section 503 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), this is a part of the DOL you want to keep your eye on.

On the policy side, ODEP contracted with Economic Systems Inc “to assess existing affirmative action policies applicable to people with disabilities and disabled veterans.  Specifically, the policies set out in the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 503) and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) were evaluated to determine whether and how Federal contractor affirmative action programs might be modernized as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce barriers to employment and eliminate earnings gaps.”  The results are in two volumes Data Sources & Models and  Modernizing Affirmative Action along with an executive summary.

ODEP has also been collaborating and building partnerships with the HR community.  In partnership with SHRM, they launched a Disability Employment Resource Page that offers “a wealth of resources, articles and links to help source, recruit, retain and develop people with disabilities.”

Finally, ODEP releases monthly disability employment statistics and July’s have been released.  “In July 2010, the percentage of people with disabilities in the labor force was 21.5. By comparison, the percentage of persons with no disability in the labor force was 70.6.”