The National Disability Employment Awareness Month is October, and this was the time that the US Department of Labor chose to unveil their new interactive toolkit on Workplace Flexibility. Funded by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, in partnership with the department’s Women’s Bureau, the toolkit offers valuable information and resources to employees, employers, policymakers, and researchers.  The DOL says that the website is useful “particularly for workers and job seekers with complex employment situations, such as parents of young children, single parents, family caregivers, mature workers, at-risk youth, ex-offenders, and individuals with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities and people with HIV/AIDs.”

According to the DOL, “workplace flexibility is a universal strategy that can meet the needs of employers and their employees, which includes when, where, and how work is done.  Essentially, flexibility enables both individual and business needs to be met through making changes to the time (when), location (where), and manner (how) in which an employee works.  Flexibility should be mutually beneficial to both the employer and employee and result in superior outcomes.”  The toolkit’s design enables employees, employers, policymakers, and researchers to search for resources by time, place, and task.  Resources include case studies, fact and tip sheets, issue briefs, journal articles, online resources, reports, other related toolkits, and other websites.  Users may also look at commonly posed questions of these four target audiences.

While it is difficult to obtain the number of persons with disabilities in North Carolina, the US Census provides data on individuals living in the State who may benefit from this toolkit (in 2011, population in the State was 7,287,107):

•    Number living below the poverty level:  1,129,502
•    Percentage of families living below the poverty level:  11.4%
•    Number with less than a high school diploma:  1,006,055
•    Number of unemployed persons, age 16 and over:  406,142
•    Parents with children in the labor force:  1,477,377
•    Single male head of household:  154,400
•    Single female head of household:  473,166
•    Grandparents responsible for grandchildren:  95,027
•    Veterans:  747,052