Job Accommodation Network - Explained
What is the Job Accommodation Network?
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What is the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)?
A Job Accommodation Network (JAN) refers to a service that is offered by the US Department of Labor under the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The network facilitates the employment and retention of employees with disabilities through the provision of information on job accommodation, entrepreneurship, and related subjects to employers, employment providers, family members of individuals with disabilities, and other interested parties. The efforts of JAN support employment, self-employment, and entrepreneurship among individuals with disability.
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What is the History of the Job Accommodation Network?
Since 1983, JAN has always been located on West Virginia University campus where it began with 2 consultants offering accommodation information using only 2 telephone lines. During this time, the network served only employers that were looking for accommodation information. Due to the additional demand for JANs confidential, direct, and no-cost service, the network expanded beyond providing employers with data, and included rehabilitation and educational professional, individuals with disabilities, and all individuals interested in workplace accommodation. JAN initially consulted on sensory disabilities only including hearing, touch, vision, and speech impairment. Before the 1990s, 30% of the networks requests addressed the key disability areas. As office machines, computers, wireless communication, cell phones, and other technologies emerged at the workplaces, employees with disabilities needed to learn how to use the technology. JAN consultants, thus, changed their delivery approach, providing services in three team categories: motor/mobility, sensory, and neurological/cognitive teams. With these teams, the network was able to handle increasing caseloads with the available knowledge. After the implementation of the 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act, several individuals began contacting JAN, requesting for accommodation information for individuals with motor impairment. Before the Act, JAN recorded 630 inquiries about accommodation every month. However, after 1992, the caseloads increased to 1,600 per month and continued to rise steadily up to 3,000 per month by the end of 1990s. Currently, the network has an average of 53,000 inquiries with 5 million customers annually. In 2000, WESTAT, an employee-owned research corporation that offers services to US government agencies and businesses, evaluated all the JAN staff. The network was able to get recognition for achieving the highest score in the ranking.
Services Provided by JAN
Consultants of JAN provide accommodation information for all types of impairments including motor, sensory, psychiatric, and cognitive conditions. The network also has information regarding rights and responsibilities of individuals with disabilities under the American with Disabilities Act and other related legislation. JAN also provides resources for veterans and injured or wounded military as well as support for the Heroes at Work Foundation. The network also provides entrepreneurship information in regard to people with disabilities. The consultants at JAN handle each inquiry using case-by-case approach, thereby providing self-employment and small business development expertise and referrals regarding business planning, marketing research, financial strategies, income supports, benefits planning, and disability-specific programs. The network also offers referrals to independent contracting, small business initiatives, and home-based business options for disabled veterans. Customers of the network are able to receive a resource packet tailored to their specific entrepreneurial goals with consultants available in all stages of information dissemination Technical assistance is provided by the network in Spanish and English, and is free of charge via email, chat, telephone, and postal mail. The communication between JAN and its clients is usually confidential and available to employers, medical, individuals with disabilities, rehabilitation professionals and anyone else in need of workplace accommodation. Furthermore, the network provides information through other media. JAN consultants produce webcasts every month on various subjects pertaining to disabilities at the workplace. The consultants also submit requests for distant, local, and remote training events.
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