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NAWDP Survey Reveals Desire for Training on Job Accommodation, Workplace Flexibility and Working with People with Hidden Disabilities

March 26, 2013

The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) has joined forces with the LEAD Center as a national partner to generate ideas, stimulate change and promote employment as a vital step toward economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.

As part of their commitment to systems-level change, NAWDP circulated a LinkedIn questionnaire to their members to gauge workforce development professionals’ level of knowledge relative to serving individuals with disabilities. Results from the survey have been critical to identifying the level of training and gaps in training needs for workforce development professionals, determining the barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities within workforce development agencies and providing the LEAD Center with information to expand outreach to workforce development professionals for future trainings.

More than 80 percent of survey participants indicated that they serve job seekers with disabilities; however, only one-third felt confident in their ability to serve these individuals. Several respondents cited challenges on educating employers about how to utilize job accommodations in the workplace and the diversity of serving individuals with disabilities. Many agreed that continued training and education was beneficial to serving job seekers with disabilities.

Among workforce professionals surveyed, multiple training topics relative to providing services to individuals with disabilities were identified as needed, and of interest to workforce professionals, including disability etiquette, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other employment legislation, and how to advise individuals on disclosing disability to employers. An astounding 80 percent reported a strong interest in training on two disability-related topics: (1) guidance on available job accommodations and workplace flexibility resources and how to work with employers to obtain them in the workplace, and (2) providing services and supports to job seekers with hidden disabilities.

To answer the call, the LEAD Center will present at the NAWDP National Conference in May in Minneapolis on “Workplace Flexibility,” an issue cited as a critical training need and interest among NAWDP survey participants. This session will review the positive impact workplace flexibility options have for both employee and employer and how workforce professionals can use relevant resources to facilitate workplace flexibility strategies. Participants will increase their understanding of the business case for and value of workplace flexibility and receive tools and resources to provide effective workplace flexibility strategies to employers and employees.

The LEAD Center will also complete a secret shopper initiative in collaboration with its national partner the Autistic Self Advocacy Network to design training tools relative to serving people with hidden disabilities (more information to follow in our next newsletter).

For questions, please contact Karen McCulloh, LEAD Center Project Director, kmcculloh@ndi-inc.org or Alex Kielty, Team Leader for the Demonstrations and Innovations Team CIL Project, akielty@ndi-inc.org.