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HomeCareer DevelopmentEnhancing the Office With Neurodiversity With Dr. Scott Robertson, ODEP

Enhancing the Office With Neurodiversity With Dr. Scott Robertson, ODEP


I like to emphasise a strengths primarily based perspective. So I believe that employers ought to know that neurodivergent individuals like myself deliver key strengths, skills, expertise, information and skills that may assist improve work and the office. Plus, employers can drive efforts to recruit, rent, retain and advance neurodivergent individuals like me to faucet these property and undertake enhanced work helps and lodging. Working with business intermediaries and suppliers of providers may help assist this objective.

 

Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive office chief. Be part of host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founding father of Workology.com as she sits down and will get to the underside of traits, instruments, and case research for the enterprise chief, HR, and recruiting skilled who’s bored with the established order. Now right here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:59.45] This episode of the Workology Podcast is a part of a podcast collection powered by the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship, or PIA. PIA is funded by the U.S. Division of Labor’s Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage, or ODEP. In November of 2020, ODEP launched PIA to make sure all apprenticeship packages are inclusive and accessible to individuals with disabilities. PIA collaborates with employers and apprenticeship packages to assist meet employer expertise wants and allow individuals with disabilities to profit from apprenticeships that improve their alternatives for lifelong entry to high-growth and high-demand jobs. Earlier than I introduce our visitor, I need to hear from you. Please textual content the phrase podcast to 512-548-3005. You may ask me questions, depart feedback, and make options for future visitors. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity and I need to hear from you. The Workology podcast is sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Examination. These are two programs for HR certification prep and HR recertification that Workology affords. At this time, I’m joined by Dr. Scott Michael Robertson. He’s a Senior Coverage Advisor with the Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage, or ODEP. That is within the U.S. Division of Labor and he’s an autistic particular person. Scott is a coverage skilled and a social scientist with experience in areas starting from accessible rising expertise to inclusive employment, training and neighborhood residing. He beforehand served as a Joseph P. Kennedy Junior Fellow on the U.S. Senate Committee on Well being, Training, Labor and Pensions, or HELP. Scott has additionally served because the Founding Vice President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Community, or ASAN. It’s a Nationwide 501(c)3 nonprofit group primarily based in Washington, D.C. Scott accomplished his PhD in data sciences and expertise at Penn State College. He acquired his grasp’s diploma in human laptop interplay on the College of Laptop Science at Carnegie Mellon College. He earned his bachelor’s diploma in laptop science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and graduated summa cum laude. His current honors embrace a Henry Viscardi Achievement Award for exemplary world leaders and a NextGen Public Service award for championing range, fairness and inclusion. Scott, welcome to the Workology Podcast.

Scott Robertson: [00:03:33.06] Good day Jessica. Thanks for having me at this time. It’s nice to talk with you for the podcast and glad Neurodiversity Week 2023. Since we’re audio, I believed it might be useful to present a brief, visible description of myself. I’m a white autistic man with blue eyes, brown hair and eyeglasses, sporting a blue shirt at this time.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:03:51.06] Superior. Properly, I’m so excited to have you ever on. Let’s soar in and speak about your background. What led you to your present position as senior coverage advisor at ODEP?

Scott Robertson: [00:04:00.77] So, that could be a nice query. I’ve a really atypical background as a coverage adviser, senior coverage advisor right here. I’ve had an curiosity for a very very long time on enhancing entry to life alternatives for individuals with disabilities. A few of my curiosity in that house comes from my lived expertise as an individual with vital disabilities, together with my autism. And so I believed it might be an excellent alternative to assist enhance entry to gainful, aggressive, built-in employment for individuals with disabilities. And a gap occurred to be accessible right here on the Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage in 2015 after I joined the U.S. Division of Labor. And I had simply left the Hill a  yr earlier than and was on the lookout for nice alternatives on this house that would match my expertise and skills and my curiosity once more on enhancing entry to alternatives for individuals with disabilities. And I maintain a number of key roles for my job right here as a Senior Coverage Advisor on the Employment-Associated Helps Coverage Group on the Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage or ODEP right here within the U.S. Division of Labor, DOL. First, I function a Federal Challenge Supervisor for the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship, PIA,  to enhance entry to profession pathways in high-growth, high-demand areas reminiscent of data expertise and well being care.

Scott Robertson: [00:05:26.73] I advance nationwide insurance policies and practices to assist foster inclusive apprenticeships and assist inclusive expertise pipelines for these profession pathways. Second, I direct efforts to drive neurodiversity at work and improve nationwide autism insurance policies and practices, together with for our core priorities underneath the federal Autism CARES Act. As an example, I function a key subject material skilled for ODEP’s undertaking on analysis assist providers for employment of younger adults on the autism spectrum. We name it REYAAS for brief. And I characterize ODEP on the Federal Interagency Workgroup on Autism. I additionally function the alternate federal consultant for DOL on the U.S. Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee or the IACC. Each my lived perspective as an autistic particular person and my skilled experience improve this work and assist form my concepts for improved helps. I’ve additionally helped drive insurance policies and practices for accessible rising expertise. This focus has included fairness and entry for synthetic intelligence or AI and automatic automobiles because it pertains to employment.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:34.15] Wow. What an fascinating background and thrilling areas that you simply’re actually capable of impression. For this podcast, I wished to deal with the subject of neurodivergence. So perhaps for these in our viewers who will not be acquainted, are you able to outline what neurodivergent means for us?

Scott Robertson: [00:06:54.31] Positive. That may be a nice query. First, let me assist outline neurodiversity in order that the viewers can acquire a clearer perspective on this context. Neurodiversity, which stands for neurological range, refers back to the various considering, studying, and notion of life experiences amongst all individuals right here in the US and world wide. It advantages the office in the identical method that biodiversity and wealthy ecosystems with various animals, vegetation and different species assist planet Earth to thrive. Neurodivergence refers to a subset of people that might imagine, be taught and understand the world slightly atypically, and we regularly present up as outliers on cognitive testing. Numerous neurodivergent individuals embrace individuals on the autism spectrum like myself, individuals with ADHD, individuals with mental incapacity and psychological well being situations and other people with a variety of different cognitive disabilities. Incessantly neurodivergent individuals have untapped or under-tapped strengths, skills and expertise that may improve workplaces. We additionally typically expertise main limitations to attaining and retaining employment and put together and prepared expertise for the office. Plus, inclusive apprenticeships and different types of work-based studying can supply pivotal gateways to gainful employment and profession paths for neurodivergent individuals like me.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:20.42] So, for HR leaders, are you able to discuss perhaps about what some lodging would possibly appear to be for neurodivergent people?

Scott Robertson: [00:08:29.63] Positive. So this deal with work lodging and helps; it actually carries main significance for our efforts to assist propel work and profession success for neurodivergent individuals like myself and different individuals with disabilities. I’m an enormous believer that well-aligned lodging and helps can drive and improve efficiency within the office and for on-the-job studying, which can be referred to as on-the-job coaching, and associated instruction for inclusive apprenticeships. Pivotally, HR leaders ought to be sure that staff can request work lodging and helps that are tailor-made to suit their distinctive life conditions and tackle main challenges. By tailor-made, I imply personalizing helps to assist tackle particular limitations and challenges and enhance strengths. Some widespread examples of lodging and helps for a lot of neurodivergent individuals embrace versatile schedules, expanded telework, government teaching and job teaching and mentoring, office trainings on neurodiversity at work, workforce helps and help, office navigators, optimistic suggestions and direct clear job directions can even assist assist success. Accessible expertise can likewise play a key position for achievement for neurodivergent individuals.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:09:43.29] Thanks for these examples for us, Scott. I believe that is extremely useful. You talked about the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship or PIA, so I wished to speak about lodging and ask you about perhaps how lodging are totally different for individuals in apprenticeships versus everlasting staff.

Scott Robertson: [00:10:01.83] That’s one other nice query. So, apprenticeship differs from everlasting work in three key methods. First, registered apprenticeship packages should embrace each on-the-job studying, which is once more often known as on-the-job coaching, and associated instruction in a classroom setting, which might be a digital classroom, an in-person classroom or some hybrid of the 2. And this context signifies that apprentices with disabilities may have lodging and helps for each the office and the classroom. So which means helps ought to deal with work and studying and serving to guarantee full entry and inclusion. Second, apprenticeship packages incessantly final about one to 2 years or generally just a few years at most, though apprentices with disabilities can request changes for the timeframe as wanted. This typically displays an lodging which may be useful for some apprentices. Apprentices may have helps for apprenticeship packages. They might typically be shorter than their time in everlasting jobs, particularly in the event that they find yourself having jobs of their profession pathways that last more than one to 2 years or just a few years. And three, apprentices are trainee staff, so they could doubtless have the possibility to discover accessing helps of their apprenticeship packages that may assist enhance their long-term success in everlasting work. So, by exploring, I imply, generally attempting out helps that may and lodging which will tackle particular challenges they’re encountering whereas they’re on their apprenticeship, that they’ll get familiarity with these helps and lodging. And so, once they request them, for example in everlasting work, it’s one thing they’re used to having already once they’re doing these work duties.

Break: [00:11:45.96] Let’s take a reset. That is Jessica Miller-Merrell and you might be listening to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Examination, two programs that we provide for HR certification and recertification via Workology. At this time we’re speaking with Dr. Scott Robertson. He’s the Senior Coverage Advisor on the Workplace of Incapacity Employment on the U.S. Division of Labor. This podcast is a part of a podcast collection powered by the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship or PIA. Earlier than we get again to the podcast, I need to hear from you. Please textual content the phrase podcast to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, depart feedback, and make options for future visitors. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity and I need to hear from you.

Break: [00:12:32.10] This episode of the Workology Podcast is a part of a brand new podcast collection powered by the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship or PIA. PIA is funded by the U.S. Division of Labor’s Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage, ODEP. ODEP launched PIA to make sure all apprenticeship packages are inclusive and accessible to individuals with disabilities. PIA collaborates with employers and apprenticeship packages to assist meet employer expertise wants and allow individuals with disabilities to profit from apprenticeships that improve their alternatives for lifelong entry to high-growth, high-demand jobs.

The Job Lodging Community (JAN)

 

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:09.06] All extremely useful. Actually, it is a nice dialog. One of many issues I need to ensure that we deal with is one thing referred to as the Job Lodging Community or JAN. I’m going to hyperlink to this useful resource within the present notes, however are you able to inform us, what’s the Job Lodging Community?

Scott Robertson: [00:13:27.69] Yeah, undoubtedly. So the Job Lodging Community, we name it JAN for brief, JAN capital letters, is a program funded by us right here at ODEP, The Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage once more, and its web site is AskJAN.org, once more AskJANn.org. And JAN affords free skilled and confidential steerage and help for staff and profession seekers with disabilities, employers and all others. That is your taxpayer {dollars} already at work right here with, with JAN and different packages and assets that we now have right here on the U.S. Division of Labor and specialists at JAN may help determine, brainstorm and think about work helps and lodging to assist drive success. JAN has specialists who deal with various kinds of disabilities. By differing kinds I imply cognitive and neurological disabilities, reminiscent of, in my case, my autism, and in addition to sensory, bodily and mobility disabilities. And different varieties, for example, embrace psychological well being situations. So, each totally different sort of incapacity you possibly can think about, JAN has specialists who can present, once more, help for exploring what lodging and helps may help that particular person to handle challenges. And its web site additionally has an A to Z of many widespread disabilities, together with, for example, well being situations and different sorts of disabilities that I discussed and examples of widespread lodging that may assist assist entry for staff, profession seekers and job seekers with disabilities. And I extremely advocate that staff and profession seekers in the private and non-private sectors join with JAN. I’ve private expertise with JAN myself as they helped me determine essential helps for my success in federal employment after I began right here on the U.S. Division of Labor in 2015.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:15:25.39] I’m simply going to reiterate that if you’re a brand new supervisor or new to HR or not aware of the lodging course of and what that appears like, JAN is a useful useful resource. In reality, it must be the primary place you go to, to actually get the assist and data that you simply want to have the ability to present an lodging. Or, in the event you’re an worker who desires extra data on how lodging work or what they could appear to be for you. What would you want employers to know in regards to the significance of hiring neurodivergent individuals?

Scott Robertson: [00:16:02.38] So, I like to emphasise a strengths-based perspective. So I believe that employers ought to know that neurodivergent individuals like myself deliver key strengths, skills, expertise, information, and skills that may assist improve work and the office. Plus, employers can drive efforts to recruit, rent, retain and advance neurodivergent individuals like me to faucet these property and undertake enhanced work helps and lodging. Working with business intermediaries and suppliers of providers may help assist this objective. Incessantly, enhanced work helps that assist neurodivergent individuals like me to thrive can even profit all staff at companies and companies. As an example, all staff can acquire from receiving entry to optimistic suggestions, direct clear instruction, and versatile schedules. This context signifies that helps that assist empower neurodivergent individuals like me at work may help drive inclusive design, common design, and common design for studying.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:04.67] One factor I’d similar to to reiterate is neurodivergence is basically an invisible incapacity or, I like to think about it as a superpower in a method, and that I’m additionally included amongst that group. You simply have totally different expertise and experiences or methods of wanting, and hiring any person who’s neurodivergent is usually a actual asset to your complete group. How do apprenticeships assist profession growth for neurodivergent people?

Scott Robertson: [00:17:35.80] That’s one other nice, nice query, Jessica. I like all the time to emphasise careers, not simply jobs, however careers and profession pathways for folk. It’s one thing that comes up loads from people with disabilities who emphasize that all of us need inclusive entry to careers along with jobs so far as our pathways for all times success and financial well-being. Apprenticeships can play a key position to assist guarantee profession seekers, together with individuals with disabilities, can sharpen their expertise and hone their skills to assist put together for work success. On this respect, apprenticeship packages complement different essential methods for training, reminiscent of instruction at two-year and four-year faculties and universities. Many neurodivergent individuals could typically discover the concrete nature of on-the-job studying, once more it’s additionally referred to as on-the-job coaching, and associated instruction for apprenticeships to be fairly useful. The character of those packages could align fairly nicely with what number of neurodivergent individuals could atypically suppose, be taught and understand the world. Apprenticeships can supply down-to-earth, real-world expertise enhancement for jobs that matches their profession pursuits and objectives and in addition generally incessantly pertains to the pastimes or hobbies of many neurodivergent individuals.

Scott Robertson: [00:18:53.05] I consider apprenticeship packages can even match up nicely with any programs taken in profession and technical training or related areas in highschool or past. Some neurodivergent individuals discover that these profession and technical training or CTE programs in highschool assist propel their success. CTE packages can join nicely to apprenticeships. Additionally, apprenticeships supply a vital benefit for neurodivergent individuals for his or her life course. Particularly, they’ll attain credentials reminiscent of certifications and certificates that may assist assist their long run success and job retention. Incessantly, many neurodivergent individuals discover it generally extra easy to achieve jobs however not retain them. And I believe, by having these credentials, that helps loads. Having that enhance so far as in your resume helps with that retention for the roles and having that portfolio of expertise honed for apprenticeship assist success, particularly for folk the place we expect and be taught and course of data atypically and understand the world otherwise, that may make an excellent distinction in serving to to highlight once more the strengths and skills for neurodivergent individuals, together with people who go for apprenticeship packages.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:20:09.64] I believe HR individuals are hopefully fairly aware of issues like certifications and so they may be stunned to know, hopefully they aren’t, however the SHRM Basis additionally has an HR apprenticeship program which permits people via like a one or two yr program such as you’re describing, be capable of get HR expertise and be capable of take a look at for his or her SHRM CP certification. So, apprenticeships will not be only for cybersecurity or building, however they’re for lots of various industries and embrace apprenticeships for human assets professionals too. Scott, are you able to share some details about initiatives or packages that you simply’re engaged on proper now?

Scott Robertson: [00:20:58.73] Yeah, certain. And I additionally need to observe, by the best way, that we now have partnered beforehand, for example, and collaborated with organizations just like the Society for Human Useful resource Administration and its Basis. So I’m glad that you simply famous that after we had been emphasizing the deal with easy methods to assist assist data assets for HR professionals. So, I first need to observe that listeners ought to join with our apprenticeship assets for PIA, once more the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship, at inclusiveapprenticeship.org. This undertaking web site repeatedly releases new assets for intermediaries, employers, apprenticeships and different shareholders who’re on this deal with inclusive apprenticeships to drive profession pathways for folk. And I subsequent need to shift to discussing the core initiatives that we now have on the Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage, ODEP, that relate on to neurodiversity at work. So, ODEP runs a technical help middle for employers referred to as EARN or, capital letters, EARN, askearn.org and the Earn web site affords a neurodiversity within the office information for personal and public sector employers and their service suppliers. This information emphasizes some great benefits of supporting neurodiversity at work. It describes easy methods to foster neurodiversity at work and assist inclusive expertise pipelines when employers recruit, rent, retain and advance their workforces. It additionally describes key examples of neurodiversity at work packages in business and right here within the federal authorities. And that clearly is increasing over time.

Scott Robertson: [00:22:33.71] And we goal so as to add to that data posted in that neurodiversity office information over time as we be taught extra about this house in serving to foster neurodiversity within the office. I’d additionally like to focus on our undertaking once more on analysis assist providers for employment of younger adults on the autism spectrum. Once more, it’s REYAAS for brief, REYAAS, that I discussed earlier in passing. This undertaking has produced key findings and themes already for key approaches, helps, methods, in addition to challenges and limitations that autistic individuals expertise. And it has completed so by analyzing the analysis literature and operating listening classes. It has carried out these listening classes with shareholders with an curiosity on this focus, together with autistic youth and younger adults, employers, service suppliers, policymakers and advocates. Their enter and the broader undertaking, so the broader REYAAS undertaking, assist inform, form and improve ODEP’s efforts to advance nationwide insurance policies and practices not just for autism, but in addition neurodiversity at work as a complete. So it does have key implications for a way we will drive success on neurodiversity at work, together with for connecting with employers and what insurance policies and practices can assist and, and data assets can assist and drive that residence and implications for key areas that hook up with this, reminiscent of what we’re speaking about at this time for inclusive apprenticeships.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:06.72] Properly, Scott, so many nice assets. We are going to make certain to incorporate these within the present notes so you may head on over to the present notes over at Workology.com and entry all the products, the goodies that we’ve been speaking about, to not point out a hyperlink to Neurodiversity Celebration Week. So you may be taught extra about what this week is all about, extra in regards to the, extra about ODEP in addition to PIA and AskJAN, so many good assets. Scott, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with us at this time on the Workology Podcast.

Scott Robertson: [00:24:39.93] Thanks for having me at this time. And I additionally invite others, one different web site, simply to say earlier than we log off is the web site for the Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage is dol.gov/companies/odep and once more that can be accessible within the podcast present notes. Thanks.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:58.14] Superb. Thanks once more, Scott.

Closing: [00:25:00.30] The topic of neurodiversity, being neurodiverse, lodging is such an necessary space of focus for HR professionals, particularly given the variety of individuals within the workforce who’re in reality neurodivergent. Once we speak about DEIA, we are likely to deal with race or gender. However it’s essential that inclusion and accessibility conversations embrace individuals with disabilities as nicely. I admire Scott for sharing his experience and all of the assets, so many nice assets with us at this time.

Closing: [00:25:37.02] I additionally need to hear from you. Textual content the phrase podcast to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, depart feedback, make options for future visitors and future subjects. That is my neighborhood textual content quantity. I don’t suppose that we speak about these subjects typically sufficient, which is why I proceed to do that podcast. It’s necessary to speak to members of our workforce, exterior of our companies and albeit, it’s one thing we must be doing extra of connecting and studying and getting comfy with different individuals exterior of our organizations to assist introduce us to new concepts, new individuals and new packages, like apprenticeships, are so necessary. These are such an effective way to work with new expertise swimming pools and drive certified and engaged new staff to our workplaces. I admire PIA powering this podcast and our podcast sponsor Workology’s programs, Upskill HR and Ace The HR Examination. Have a implausible day.

Join with Scott Robertson.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

 

– Scott Robertson on LinkedIn

– Job Lodging Community 

– Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship

– Neurodiversity Celebration Week 

– Advancing Variety at Work with AskEarn.org

– Workplace of Incapacity Employment Coverage

– Episode 377: The Significance of Creating Inclusive Apprenticeships for Veterans With Kristin Strand

– Episode 373: Apprenticeships as a Manner of Eradicating Poverty With Joshua Johnson From JFF

– Episode 368: Apprenticeship Packages to Maintain Apprentices within the Firm With Nicholas Morgan, ACS

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