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. This includes the initiative’s flagship tool – a series of online collaborative workspaces where stakeholders can learn and contribute to the conversation about the intersection between employment, disability and specific policy areas. The featured workspaces below focus on the following disability-related employment supports: Health Care, Technology and Transportation. In addition, the Incubator workspace allows national policymakers to share information, engage in collaborative efforts and shape effective agendas.
A key feature of these workspaces are eWorkgroups – private online workspaces where subsets of members can collaborate on ad hoc projects and more specific issue areas. Below, you can learn more about some current eWorkgroups facilitated by ePolicyWorks partners.
Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID)
The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) is a key mandated part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The committee consists of both federal officials and private citizens from specific groups identified in the WIOA legislation. Members will provide findings, conclusions and recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on methods to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and the use and improvement of the certificate program carried out under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Black Lung Clinics Program
Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy (HRSA/ORHP) provides grant funds to 15 clinics around the country located in areas with significant numbers of miners. HRSA/ORHP is using the ePolicyWorks workspace to improve access to health care and coordination among programs by engaging and communicating more frequently with the grantees and their clinics, as well as soliciting their feedback to improve future grant guidance and processes.
Cloud Computing and People with Disabilities
Cloud computing offers many potential benefits for people with disabilities. The Cloud Computer and People with Disabilities eWorkgroup brings together a variety of backgrounds including people working on exploring this potential; people with disabilities; disability advocates; and people in federal agencies interested in cloud computing technology. Discussion in the eWorkgroup will help all participants assess cloud computing and its possible contributions in making workplace accommodations significantly easier to provide, enhancing access to online educational resources, and facilitating civic participation.
Cross-Team Technology Policy
The Cross-Team Technology Policy Workgroup focuses on accessible technology policy in employment. The work in the group concentrates on policy issues that integrate with the work of ODEP’s four policy teams and align with ongoing implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The goal of the eWorkgroup is to support collaboration both within ODEP and with other federal agencies that address issues related to technology policy in employment.
Hosted by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Accessibility and Innovation’s initiative, Developing with Accessibility (DevAcc) is a two-day event aimed to spur unprecedented collaboration among developers from industry, consumer and government sectors. DevAcc members use ePolicyWorks to support and further their collaboration with other developers from industry, consumers and governments and to continue activities started during the kick-off event held September 6-7, 2012. ePolicyWorks is one of a number of electronic mediums being used to promote collaboration in support of the DevAcc event.
Employer Engagement Collaborative
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) developed the Employer Engagement Collaborative eWorkgroup to serve as a a virtual community of practice through which employer organizations can add their voice to the ongoing conversations to about how best to increase the workforce inclusion of people with disabilities. This group reflects ODEP’s commitment to working in concert with employers on issues related to workforce inclusion.
The Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (EFSLMP), initiated by the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), aims to help targeted states facilitate the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and community life. EFSLMP provides mentoring as well as other intensive technical assistance and training to facilitate the alignment of policy and funding at the federal, state and local levels. Through the use of ePolicyWorks, ODEP seeks to continue the evolution of an EFLSMP and disseminate information, share knowledge, collect data and identify best practices in working with state Employment First teams as they tackle challenges posed by systems change.
ePolicyWorks Ad-Hoc Advisory Group
This eWorkgroup provides a collaborative online workspace in which ePolicyWorks team members and advisors can exchange ideas and information regarding the services that ePolicyWorks provides to policymakers, key stakeholders, and the disability community.
HIV/AIDS & Employment
The HIV/AIDS & Employment eWorkgroup works to implement President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, in partnership with the National Working Positive Coalition (NWPC). The HIV/AIDS & Employment eWorkgroup continues discussions and collaborations that advance the employment of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Interagency Accessibility Forum
The Interagency Accessibility Forum eWorkgroup was developed in support of the 2016 Accessibility and Technology Forum to be held on October 11, 2016. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with several federal agency partners sponsoring the forum use the eWorkgroup to share documents such as meeting notes, workshop proposals, schedules, lists of vendors, and other related topics, and the planning calendar to keep track of deliverables and deadlines. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and the conference highlights technology accessibility as an essential ingredient in successful employment for people with disabilities.
The National Disability Institute (NDI) LEAD Center is a collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations dedicated to a common goal: improving employment and economic advancement opportunities for people with disabilities and supporting their full inclusion in integrated community employment. The LEAD Center uses ePolicyWorks to collect direct input from the disability community and other key stakeholders and identify and share best practices and policy solutions that will improve the lives and workforce participation of individuals with disabilities.
Miners Health Collaborative
The Miners Health Collaborative brings together stakeholders from academia, the medical and legal communities, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA), and Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) who are interested in improving the overall health of the nation’s miners. This platform serves as a venue to share information and ideas; develop resources; create consistent guidance; and identify topics that need additional attention across multiple stakeholder groups.
ODEP’s Employee Engagement Group
The Employee Engagement Group was created in early 2016 to improve the culture of our workplace. We are a group of managers and bargaining unit employees who are committed to building trust, ensuring fairness, and fostering the professional growth of all ODEP staff. The group efforts are supported by Acting Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy and Vice President of Local 12 Gregory Green. Since the group formed, we have collected data on employee satisfaction using various methods, analyzed all data to determine steps needed for culture change, and drafted a report that was recently submitted to the Secretary’s Office. Our plan is to form workgroups on each area of need identified in the data. Workgroups will be made up of bargaining unit employees, and the leader (chosen by the Vice President of Local 12) will report to the EEG once a month. Ultimately, the workgroups will generate recommendations (action steps) on how to improve each of the areas of need identified in the report.
Partnership for Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT)
PEAT is a multi-faceted initiative working to advance the employment, retention and career advancement of people with disabilities through the development, adoption and promotion of accessible technology. It brings together employers, technology developers, accessibility thought leaders and government policy makers around the topic of accessible technology and employment. Built on a foundation of partnership and crowd-sourcing, PEAT provides collaborative opportunities to impact policy development around accessible technology. PEAT is funded by ODEP and is a demonstration of ODEP’s commitment to promoting a future of universal design, where all technology applications are accessible, interoperable and useable.
Professional Development for Youth Service Professionals
The Community of Practice on Professional Development for Youth Service Professionals is led by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), a national technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). This ePolicyWorks online workgroup provides a collaborative space for members of this community of practice—experts and innovators from national organizations, federally-supported national technical assistance centers and government agencies that support efforts for transition-age youth, ages 14 – 30 years old, in and across various systems and agencies—to share information and resources, as well as hold discussions related to professional development.
State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED)
The Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s (ODEP) State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED) is a program that advances effective policy development and adoption at the state and local levels, with the goal of fostering a nationwide workforce more inclusive of people with disabilities. (Learn more about SEED.) Through the SEED collaborative online workspace, policymakers can connect with disability policy experts, access resources and engage in an ongoing dialogue among states and with the Federal Government on policy that promotes an inclusive workforce.
Stay at Work/Return to Work
The Stay at Work/Return to Work (SAW/RTW) group supports ODEP by advancing policies and programs that promote positive SAW/RTW outcomes for workers who experience a sudden or chronic illness, disability, or medical condition. Members identify, develop and share policy steps on SAW/RTW-related topics; develop new resources for stakeholders, such as federal and state agencies and policymakers, workforce and disability associations, and employers; and create and execute a plan to distribute information and products to stakeholders and target audiences.
United We Ride eWorkgroups
Several United We Ride eWorkgroups contribute to this initiative of the federal government’s Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility. Subworkgroups include: Back to Work, the Brainstorming Team, Communication, Education, Marketing, Technical Assistance, Outreach (CEMT), Emergency Preparedness, Health, Wellness, and Transportation and Policy.
Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative
The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI) is an innovative, federally coordinated partnership that will make it easier for U.S. veterans, active service members, military families and others to learn about and arrange for locally available transportation services that connect them with work, education, health care and other vital services in their communities. VTCLI members use ePolicyWorks to improve the coordination and delivery of affordable transportation services for America’s active and retired service members and their families. The collaborative effort will optimize existing government, nonprofit and private-sector resources to support the military community’s transportation needs and better connect stakeholders with jobs, health care, education and their communities.