MSU Resources for National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Written with support from HR Accommodations Specialist, Julie DeGraw, PhD

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which raises awareness around disability employment issues and celebrates the many contributions of workers with disabilities. In observance of NDEAM, we put together this helpful list of resources for awareness of employee disability workplace accommodations.

The theme for NDEAM 2022 is Disability: Part of the Equity Equation, which celebrates the essential role individuals with disabilities play in the workplace. “Disability is and always has been part of the rich diversity of our nation, and, by extension, our workforce,” says the Office of Disability Employment Policy. “During NDEAM, we celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities, past and present. We also commit to ensuring all workers, including workers with disabilities, have equal opportunity to gain skills and put them to work in inclusive, supportive workplaces going forward.”

We all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce where every person is recognized for their abilities – every day of every month. Although many impacts are not physically visible, it doesn’t mean they do not exist. 

MSU is a leader in cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus environment, and we are constantly striving to improve our efforts to meet the needs of persons with disabilities by being more flexible, understanding, inclusive and supportive of those with different abilities.

Resources for Employee Disability Workplace Accommodation Awareness

  1. Are you looking for more information about the types of disability workplace accommodations you can request or more information on your disability in general? You might want to check out the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN allows you to look up suggestions for workplace accommodations by disability, limitation, work-related function, topic or accommodation. Please note: Not all accommodations listed on JAN may be deemed reasonable as it depends on the essential duties of your individual position.
  2. Did you know you have access to discounts on hearing aids? MSU employees and retirees may qualify for discounted hearing aids through partnerships between some MSU benefit providers and TruHearing®. Additional funding can also be provided by our partner organization Michigan Rehabilitation Services. Please contact Accommodation Specialist, Julie DeGraw for more information.
  3. Technology can be a great resource for employees in addressing the impacts of their disability. Some resources are offered for free at MSU without even having to complete the registration process (e.g., screen reader software that reads text aloud)! See the full range of resources at the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) Assistive Technology page.
  4. Employees with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can find a wealth of information and resources through ADDitude. Read the ADDitude magazine, view webinars, download eBooks and more!

If you are interested in requesting disability workplace accommodations at MSU, begin the process by registering with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD)

All medical records and diagnoses are kept confidential from supervisors and units. Undergraduate and graduate employees can also qualify for workplace accommodations. If you need more information or help going through the process, please contact Accommodation Specialist, Julie DeGraw at degrawju@msu.edu or 517-884-0799.

For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month please visit the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s website.

Providing Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities and Working with Pregnant Employees

Employees with disabilities, who would like to request accommodations in their work environment, have a great resource in the Office of Employee Relations (OER). Academic Specialist, Dr. Julie DeGraw (degrawju@msu.edu), leads and coordinates the accommodation process. The accommodation process empowers units and employees with disabilities to do their best work by establishing timely and reasonable accommodation plans that follow the Michigan State University Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Employees begin the process by registering with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Once RCPD determines that the employee fits the criteria of having a disability, they will be referred to OER/Dr. DeGraw to complete the interactive process. Dr. DeGraw will meet with both the employee and the supervisor/unit to review and gather input about the employee’s essential duties and the requested accommodations.   

The employee, or OER on behalf of the employee, may ask units for temporary accommodations until the accommodations process is complete. These temporary accommodations are only in place while the employee is going through the process and may not be approved beyond a temporary time frame. If the unit has any questions or concerns about providing such a temporary accommodation, it should contact OER/Dr. DeGraw.  

Employees who experience an impairment related to pregnancy or childbirth (for example, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia) that substantially impacts their work may also qualify as having a disability or a temporary disability. Reasonable accommodations may need to be provided. Please refer any employee seeking accommodations related to pregnancy or childbirth to OER/Dr. DeGraw. Additional helpful information regarding pregnancy discrimination and reasonable accommodations can be reviewed at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Please let us know if the Office of Employee Relations (HR.ER@msu.edu) can help in any way to support you and your employees.  

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This is a guest post written by HR Accommodations Specialist, Cherelyn Dunlap.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a month-long event held annually to raise awareness around disability employment issues and celebrate the many contributions of workers with disabilities. The theme for NDEAM 2020 is “Increasing Access and Opportunity”.

This year marks the 75th observance of NDEAM, and also commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA provides protections against discrimination of people with disabilities in numerous areas including employment, education, health care, recreation, transportation, and housing.

MSU is a leader in cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus environment, and our efforts to meet the needs of persons with disabilities was heightened this year due to the national COVID-19 pandemic. Extra measures were taken to provide guidance and a streamlined process for employees to obtain technology, accessibility and work arrangements that allowed them to manage the impacts of their disabilities. We continue to remove barriers and create possibilities for individuals with differing abilities.

We all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce where every person is recognized for their abilities – every day of every month. Although many impacts are not physically visible, it doesn’t mean they do not exist. In the midst of these unprecedented times and beyond, let us all strive to be more flexible, more understanding, more inclusive, and more supportive of those with different abilities.  

For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month please visit the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s website at www.dol.gov/NDEAM.