What is ePolicyWorks?
Launched by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), ePolicyWorks is a Web-based approach to policymaking that engages citizens and stakeholders in new and innovative ways. The initiative leverages the latest technology to address barriers to employment for people with disabilities and fosters real-time collaboration and communication around key issues.
Participants in the ePolicyWorks initiative benefit from a variety of tools and features to help them stay informed, build relationships and partner on important policy developments. These include e-newsletters and RSS feeds, Web-based dialogues on key issues, and the initiative’s flagship tool – an online collaborative workspace where stakeholders can learn and contribute to the conversation about the intersection between employment, disability and specific policy areas.
A key feature of ePolicyWorks is the ability to offer eWorkgroups – private online workspaces where subsets of members can collaborate on ad hoc projects and more specific issue areas. Learn more about current eWorkgroups facilitated by ePolicyWorks partners.
ePolicyWorks’ goal is to break down barriers to employment for people with disabilities. The initiative’s first phase – ePolicyWorks Health Care – is fostering policy advancements related to employment, disability and health care. An expansion into other issues areas, such as accessible technology and transportation, is underway.
The ePolicyWorks initiative offers experts and like-minded individuals the opportunity to work on policy-related projects – large and small – related to the employment and support of people with disabilities. It empowers members to work together faster and more effectively with its built-in collaboration tools. ePolicyWorks helps members:
- Overcome organizational challenges – The universally accessible and secure ePolicyWorks workspaces enable access to files and background any time, from anywhere.
- Share ideas and extend reach – ePolicyWorks features tailored discussion forums, social networking features and collaboration tools to enhance communication to an expanded network.
- Increase productivity – Members can actively engage in real-time conversations without having to organize meeting space or arrange travel. ePolicyWorks tools manage document sharing, tracking, storage and document versioning.
- Build relationships – ePolicyWorks connects members virtually and in-person. Members have the opportunity to partner on existing policy developments, and discuss ideas for future policies related to disability and employment.
- Meet deadlines – Powerful time management tools include ePolicyWorks team calendars, task lists and project workflows.
- Stay informed – ePolicyWorks e-newsletters and workspaces offer the latest news on employment, disability and related issue areas.
- Receive timely feedback – ePolicyWorks modernizes the concept of constituent feedback. Tools facilitate national dialogues and online discussions to engage federal partners and stakeholders in real-time.
Effective policymaking is collaborative policymaking. And today, a confluence of developments is creating opportunities to engage citizens in the policymaking process in new and innovative ways. Coupled with the rise of collaborative technology and the federal government’s transformation to a more open, “green” and transparent environment, the way our democracy functions is undergoing drastic change. ePolicyWorks is a timely example of federal information sharing and participatory policymaking through interactive technology. It reflects a paradigm shift in how stakeholders connect and collaborate, and as a result, it is increasing policymaking efficiency. ePolicyWorks has the power to promote positive, lasting change and fulfill America’s promise of equal employment opportunity for all citizens.
The Advisory Group was formed to help set the direction for ePolicyWorks, support the goals of open government and to improve collaboration in the federal government’s policymaking process. The Advisory Group meets on an ad-hoc basis to share best practices, address ways to advance ePolicyWorks, recommend outreach strategies, suggest new tools, and more.
Members of the Advisory Group are policy and thought leaders from across the federal government and include:
- Lindsey Teel, U.S. Department of Labor
- Dan Munz, U.S. Department of State
- Jamal Mazrui, Federal Communications Commission
- Kevin Connors, U.S. Department of Labor
- Justin Herman, General Services Administration
- Michael Reardon, U.S. Department of Labor
- Bryna Helfer, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Zuhair Mahmoud, Library of Congress
- Dan Morgan, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Mario Damiani, U.S. Access Board
- Michael Nesbitt, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Nadia Ibrahim, U.S. Department of Labor
- Mohammed Yousuf, U.S. Department of Transportation
- Janni Lehrer-Stein, National Council on Disability
How to Get Involved
Members of ePolicyWorks receive the latest news, events, reports, regulations and legislation related to disability and employment, as well as access to the initiative’s online collaboration tools. Federal agencies and national stakeholders interested in becoming ePolicyWorks members or building a collaborative workspace for their issue area are encouraged to contact: ePolicyWorks@dol.gov.