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Celebrating Equality and Inclusion for Americans with Disabilities

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:53am
Celebrating Equality and Inclusion for Americans with Disabilities Erin Thompson, an administrative assistant who has Down Syndrome, works five days a week handing a variety of tasks. 

Twenty years ago – on June 22, 1999 – America ushered in a new era of equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.

With the ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., the Supreme Court declared that people with disabilities are entitled to the same rights and choices as all Americans – to live and receive publicly-funded services in their communities in the most integrated settings possible. These services include employment services, because for so many of us – whether we have a disability or not – working in the community is central to living in the community.

Today, through the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s work on Employment First, the U.S. Department of Labor continues to advance the spirit of Olmstead by promoting more options for community-based, integrated employment and employment services for Americans with disabilities.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy is committed to providing America’s job creators and workers technical assistance resources to support the recruitment, hiring, and retention of workers with disabilities. Job creators and workers can find additional compliance assistance resources – including answers to common questions about federal labor laws – at Employer.gov and Worker.gov.

Jennifer Sheehy is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy.

tkoebel Fri, 06/21/2019 - 12:53 Jennifer Sheehy Tags:

DOL’s Women’s Bureau: 99 Years of Creating Opportunity

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 4:43pm
DOL’s Women’s Bureau: 99 Years of Creating Opportunity

Mary Anderson, the first director of the Women’s Bureau, stands with U.S. Secretary of Labor James Davis at the White House in 1923. (Source: Library of Congress)

Today marks the 99th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. Established just two months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the Women’s Bureau is the only federal agency tasked with focusing exclusively on working women by safeguarding their interests, advocating for their equality and economic security, and promoting quality work environments.

This year’s celebration comes during a time of unprecedented opportunity for all American workers, and especially women. More than 5.4 million jobs have been created in the United States since 2017. There are 7.5 million job openings in America, and job openings have exceeded job seekers for 13 straight months. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is at its lowest in nearly 50 years. In fact, for adult women the unemployment rate of 3.1% is the lowest in nearly 66 years.

With our economy thriving, job creation growing, and the unemployment rate at generational lows, the Women’s Bureau is continuing our work to increase good, safe, family-sustaining career opportunities for women. We are committed to helping women not only enter the workforce but also advance and succeed in their careers through avenues like apprenticeship and entrepreneurship. In addition, the Women’s Bureau evaluates ways to support the upward mobility of women in today’s marketplace by promoting issues that are important to women and their families – including access to quality, affordable childcare and paid family leave.

We recognize the need to position women and families to succeed by creating opportunities that provide women the right work-life-family balance. Actions like the Department’s efforts to encourage states to adopt occupational license reciprocity and reform have significant benefits for military spouses (92% of whom are women) and others by making it easier for them to remain employed when moving to a new state.

The landscape for women workers has changed greatly since 1920. From the famous “Rosie the Riveters” to the bold entrepreneurs who helped pass the Women’s Business Ownership Act, to today’s working moms who are the role models for our future workforce, women’s contributions to the workforce have been immense. At the Women’s Bureau, we are proud of our role in helping women access more opportunity throughout our history.

We recognize that we have more to do to support women and families as they pursue family-sustaining career opportunities. And, while it’s impossible to predict what the next hundred years will hold, we can say with certainty that working women’s futures will be bright.

 

Erica C. Wright is the acting director of the Women’s Bureau.

lmcginnis Wed, 06/05/2019 - 17:43 Erica C. Wright Tags:

Fall Prevention: Safety Is a Full-Time Job

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 12:39pm
Fall Prevention: Safety Is a Full-Time Job

Last week, I was joined by the Manhattan Construction Co. and more than 1,600 workers, employers, and other stakeholders at the site of the new Texas Rangers’ stadium in Arlington, Texas, to kick off the sixth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls.

Throughout last week, employers hosted more than 1,800 events in all 50 states, educating workers across the nation by discussing how fall injuries are preventable and demonstrating preventive safety techniques. Since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began this campaign six years ago, nearly 10 million workers have been reached through stand-down events.

OSHA launched the stand-down campaign because falls were the leading cause of fatal injuries in construction and consistently one of OSHA’s most cited hazards – unfortunately, this is still the case.

Safety is a full-time job. That’s why it is important for workers and employers to remain focused on fall hazards every day – not just during the stand-down. Employers can educate workers on fall hazards not only through participation in stand-downs, but also through safety meetings, the creation of or improvements in safety and health programs, and simple measures like a harness check.

The immediate success of the stand-down will be measured by the number of workers reached and the number of worksites participating because those are numbers we can easily tally. However, the true success of this week will be a statistic we may never know: the number of lives saved by preventing falls.

The vast majority of employers strive to keep their workplaces and workers safe. OSHA provides compliance assistance materials and programs to help employers to keep their workers safe. The On-Site Consultation Program, for example, offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

Every worker in America should return home from work safe and healthy at the end of the day. The time to act is now to reduce the number of fatal falls. Workers’ lives depend on it.

Loren Sweatt is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

 

tkoebel Fri, 05/10/2019 - 13:39 Loren Sweatt Tags:

#MySafeSummerJob: Five Tips to Stay Safe This Summer

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 10:41am
#MySafeSummerJob: Five Tips to Stay Safe This Summer

As the school year quickly comes to a close for college and high school students, many young workers will soon be starting summer jobs.

Summer jobs are an opportunity to meet new people, earn money, and to build work experience – and they should always be a safe experience.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants all workers, including young workers who may be starting their first job this summer, to know they have the right to a safe and healthy workplace no matter where they work or how old they are.

Here are five workplace safety tips for young workers to remember:

  1. Get training about workplace hazards and always use required safety gear
  2. Ask questions if you don’t understand instructions or if something seems unsafe
  3. Immediately report unsafe conditions to your supervisor
  4. You can contact OSHA at 1-800-321-6742 to ask questions or to report an unsafe workspace
  5. No one can punish you for reporting unsafe conditions or injuries, or for contacting OSHA

For more information on maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for young workers and ways to make sure your workplace is a safe one, please visit OSHA’s website for young workers. Follow the hashtag #MySafeSummerJob on Twitter and help us spread the word about the importance of workplace safety to young workers, educators, parents, supervisors, and employers.

OSHA offers compliance assistance materials and programs to help workers and employers learn about workplace hazards, and keep workers safe. OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

Loren Sweatt is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

 

tkoebel Thu, 05/02/2019 - 11:41 Loren Sweatt Tags:

Using Emerging Technology to Support American Workers

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 9:08am
Using Emerging Technology to Support American Workers

At the U.S. Department of Labor, we’re eager to adopt and implement the latest technologies. The key is determining which technologies offer the right solutions, and offering continuous training for our staff to implement those solutions.

 

I had a chance to discuss our efforts recently on a panel with other emerging tech specialists at FedScoop’s IT Modernization Summit. I was proud to highlight some of the Department’s more recent accomplishments, such as our use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help veterans find jobs in the civilian workforce. For example, AI helps us match Military Occupational Specialty codes for service members with related opportunities in the civilian workforce. AI also powers the Apprenticeship Finder tool on Apprenticeship.gov through a Python-powered application that identifies apprenticeship opportunities in public job listings.

CIO Gundeep Ahluwalia participates on a panel at FedScoop’s 2019 IT Modernization Summit. Photo courtesy of FedScoop.

Emerging technology means always looking forward to the next project, finding new ways to improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety. Could we use AI to reduce casework backlogs or improve response rates to inquiries from the public? Could AI-piloted drones survey hazardous work environments or areas affected by natural disasters? How else can we use technology to support the Department’s mission?

 

Our goal in the Office of the Chief Information Officer is to improve security, connectivity, and innovation, positioning the Department at the forefront of federal tech innovation and providing the best service to our coworkers. The end result: Better service to the American public.

 

Gundeep Ahluwalia is the Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

tkoebel Tue, 04/23/2019 - 10:08 Gundeep Ahluwalia Tags:

Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 3:15pm
Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day

On behalf of all of us at the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), we would like to wish you a wonderful World Autism Awareness Day. We encourage you to join us in recognizing the talents and skills of people on the autism spectrum both today and throughout National Autism Awareness Month in April.

In the spirit of raising awareness on how to better support individuals on the autism spectrum in the workplace, ODEP has provided a list of helpful resources and tools from our organization and from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), one of our partners at the U.S. Department of Labor:

We encourage you to share these resources with your colleagues. For more information on the work ODEP does, visit our website today.

tkoebel Tue, 04/02/2019 - 16:15 Jennifer Sheehy Tags: