By Julissa Catalan
The Viscardi Center, a network of nonprofit organizations providing a wide range of services that empower adults and children with disabilities, was awarded a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
The announcement was made on the first day of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which begins Oct. 1.
“In a time when there is heightened awareness of the need to drive a change in hiring practices to improve the labor-force participation rate of people with disabilities, this cooperative agreement gives The Viscardi Center and its consortium partners the opportunity to share our extensive knowledge and expertise to support ODEP’s mission,” said John D. Kemp, President and CEO of The Viscardi Center.
“Only by increasing employment opportunities, and providing companies with the resources they need to access, appreciate and assimilate these qualified professionals into their workforces, will we reach our goal of getting every person with a disability who wants to work a job.
Kemp will discuss best practices to successfully recruit, retain and promote people with disabilities on DiversityInc’s Web Seminar for Disability Employment Awareness Month, on Oct. 7. Click here to register.
Under the $1.8 million agreement, The Viscardi Center will operate a national employer technical-assistance center that will provide new employment opportunities to people with disabilities by increasing the commitment and capacity of employers to recruit, hire, retain and promote this underutilized demographic.
The technical-assistance center is expected to:
- analyze employer research, policies and practices related to disability employment;
- research effective employer-engagement strategies;
- develop and provide outreach and technical assistance to targeted employers, such as federal agencies, federal contractors, small businesses and state governments, in an effort to diversify workforces.
“At ODEP, we work to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to contribute their skills and talents not only for their benefit, but also for the benefit of society as a whole,” said Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy.
“This center will help employers understand these benefits and get them the information and tools they need to successfully employ people with disabilities.”
The Viscardi Center will receive $1.84 million to lead a collaborative of organizations that includes DiversityInc as well as the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL); U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN); George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Center for Applied Developmental Science and Neuroeducation (GSEHD); Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP); Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business; World Institute on Disability (WID); the Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy (CSADP); Concepts Communications.
In May, The Viscardi Center partnered with DiversityInc to host the event Dining for a Difference. Attended by 50 corporate leaders, the goal of the event was to open the conversation and develop action plans to address the talent gap.