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From the EDI Director: EDI 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Debra C. Chew Esq.

Dear NIH,

In 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act became law to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and equal opportunities as every other American in public accommodations, employment, and state and local government services. In continuation with our commitment to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity, diversity, and inclusion, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) will celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) with a series of events and programs. At NIH, we want to make greater strides toward increasing diversity and utilizing resources to improve inclusion. In recognition of NDEAM, it’s important to highlight the significance of inclusivity in the workplace. Under the theme "Enhancing Possibility Through Accessibility", we will present our groundbreaking Reasonable Accommodation Program (RAP) through a series of activities, trainings, and vendor showcases.

EDI’s RAP is staffed with skilled Accessibility Consultants (ACs), who work in collaboration with NIH managers and employees to provide well informed guidance and consultation on Language Access, Reasonable Accommodation, and EEO policy and regulations. The RAP has three main purposes: (1) to assist management and employees with processing RA requests in a timely manner; (2) to train the NIH community on RA; and (3) to collaborate with the NIH community to explore more inclusive, innovative methods and resources to support management and the disability community.

Currently, an in-house Accessibility Intake Center is in development, where employees will be able to test the latest accessibility equipment and software technology.

Together we can create inclusive spaces, so people with disabilities can feel more comfortable asking for accommodations—and management will be more willing to partner with their staff to provide them. It is important to create a workplace culture that encourages disclosure and reduces the stigma and negative responses for employees or applicants who trust the Agency with their disability and need for accommodation.

Sincerely yours,

Deb Chew

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