Excerpted from The SHRM Blog by Nora Genster

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a profound shift in workplaces across the United States and the world. “Because we’ve always done it that way” is suddenly out the window. Instead, much of the American workforce has had to get creative and find new ways of working.

In the language of workplace disability inclusion, “accommodations” are supports that enable employees to thrive at work. And overnight, we’ve seen millions of Americans using new workplace accommodations. Whether they’re working from home or working with a mask they didn’t need a few weeks ago, many employees are using new supports to get their jobs done.

This rapid adaptation has proven what disability advocates have known all along: When disability inclusion is a natural part of the workplace, barriers will fall and employees will thrive.

Disability inclusion in the workplace is, at its core, a recognition that employees are human. Employees don’t—and can’t—shed the complexities of their physical and mental selves while they’re at work.

After all, we’re people. And everyone’s minds and bodies are affected by the nuances of genetics, accident, disease, and age. One in four adults in the United States has a disability. That includes many employees, doing all types of work. Maybe you’re in that group yourself. Certainly, some of your colleagues or employees are. But many people don’t disclose their disabilities at work for fear of discrimination or retaliation.

That’s why this week the Workplace Initiative by Understood and the SHRM Foundation are proud to announce the launch of Employing Abilities @Work. This certificate program will help HR professionals develop the skills to build inclusive workplaces and hire, retain, and advance employees with disabilities. The program will cover key topics like:
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