Re-Introduction of the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA)

The National Organization on Disability thanks Senator Bob Casey and his colleagues in Congress for reintroducing the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment ACT (TCIEA). NOD has for many years been calling for the end of the subminimum wage for disabled people currently allowed under rule 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. TCIEA would end that practice.

In November 2019, former NOD Chairman Governor Tom Ridge spoke to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on behalf of the National Organization on Disability on the importance of phasing-out 14(c).

Collectively, the NOD Roundtable, comprised of 15 leading disability organizations, and other disability advocates met with many members of Congress for their support of TCIEA. NOD hosted a Congressional Briefing, “Policy Issues Surrounding Employment for Individuals with Disabilities,” highlighting the work of several NOD Board Members, and tying their efforts to the importance of phasing out 14(c).

The NOD Roundtable sent letters to the Administration to request that the Disability Innovation Funds, led by the Department of Education, use their funds to support state Vocation Rehabilitation (VR) agencies to help community providers utilizing 14(c) certificates with the transition of their models to competitive integrated employment offerings for the individuals they serve. In April, RSA took up this call, and the Disability Innovation Funds are being used to help states transition away from 14(c).

Places that pay subminimum wage are called sheltered workshops, and they pay disabled people pennies on the dollar, usually in segregated workplaces where all the workers have disabilities and the people in charge are non-disabled. The bill would stop anyone new from being paid less than minimum wage immediately and also gives states and service providers funding to create better, integrated opportunities. Every person paid less than minimum wage right now would be transitioned to minimum wage by five years after TCIEA passes. 


NOD is proud to support this legislation.

Long Covid is a Disability. Here’s How to Ask for Workplace Accommodations.

Coming clean on limitations posed by symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog is difficult for many.

New studies offer clues about who may be more susceptible to long Covid, a term for lingering Covid-19 symptoms. WSJ breaks down the science of long Covid and the state of treatment. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds for the Wall Street Journal.


Many people with long Covid are legally entitled to accommodations at work to help them do their jobs. Still, some are finding it hard to ask for help.

Disability can encompass any number of physical or mental impairments. Often, managers can more easily comprehend the limitations imposed by static conditions, such as the loss of a limb or hearing. Symptoms can ebb and flow over time with chronic illness, such as long Covid, Crohn’s disease or lupus, making the experience more difficult to grasp, say disabled people and employers.

Because of that ambiguity, the onus is usually on workers to make the case for support. But coming clean on the limitations posed by long Covid is difficult for many.

“It was harder than I thought it would be, even though I knew my rights,” says Mindy Jackson, who works for the State of Washington as a vocational counselor for disabled people. She has had long Covid since her original infection in 2020. “I almost felt ashamed, which really surprised me.”

Ms. Jackson now works from home almost exclusively, has reduced her hours using Family and Medical Leave Act time off, and modified travel to avoid driving. She has also adapted her home office to help her maintain focus, adjusting the lighting and putting her screens in dark mode.

She joined the Covid-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project support group early in her illness.

“I don’t know what I would have done without being able to read the stories of those that came before me and be able to connect with people,” Ms. Jackson says.

In 2021, the federal government clarified that long Covid could be considered a disabilityunder the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Long-Covid symptoms and severity can vary greatly. People with long Covid frequently experience extraordinary levels of fatigue, which can be worsened by exertion, cognitive impairment, nervous-system dysfunction, as well as vascular, respiratory and immune-system issues.

Between 7.7 million and 23 million Americans have long Covid, according to a November report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In cases where the conditions limit at least one major life activity, the necessary accommodations might be temporary or permanent, depending on each worker’s case.

Woman looking at computer monitor while typing on keyboard.

“The law is set up so that it becomes a conversation,” says Jasmine E. Harris, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey Law School.

A 2022 survey of nearly 3,800 managers found that 40% of them had employees with lasting physical or mental effects of a Covid-19 infection, and that 58% of those managers said the employees had received workplace accommodations, according to the Kessler Foundation, a nonprofit supporting people with disabilities, and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability.

“The one thing that I think people do when they’re unsure is they wait too long [to ask], and then they really start to have performance issues,” says Felicia Nurmsen, a managing director at the National Organization on Disability, a nonprofit that seeks to increase employment opportunities for disabled people.

Ms. Nurmsen, who has long Covid herself, says she found online support groups helpful when figuring out her own accommodation needs. Such communities share ideas of what types of modifications might be useful, as well as referrals to medical professionals familiar with their condition.

Employment attorneys and other disability experts say workers should consider their individual situation when deciding whether to disclose a disability and ask for accommodations. They can make a request orally or in writing, and who they contact first is also up to them. Some people might feel more comfortable talking to their manager directly, while others might believe their HR department will better understand ADA law.

In some cases, such as when a condition isn’t readily apparent, an employer may request documentation about the disability and need for accommodation. This can come from any appropriate medical professional—not just a physician, says Linda Carter Batiste, director of services and publications at the Job Accommodation Network, or JAN, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

“Employers cannot ask for medical information unrelated to the disability at issue,” Ms. Carter Batiste adds.

Most workplace accommodations for chronically ill people involve a policy change, such as such as allowing for rest breaks or remote work, or developing a plan of action for when symptoms suddenly flare.

JAN research shows that more than half of accommodations cost employers nothing, while those requiring some expense typically cost about $500. Equipment-related accommodations can include creating an ergonomic workspace or adding antiglare screen protectors.

For those worried they were denied accommodations because of discrimination, disability lawyers say that workers can file complaints with appropriate state or local authorities, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It would be a misconception to think that accommodations are a form of preferential treatment, they add.

“That’s why I think a lot of employees are afraid,” says Nicole Buonocore Porter, a professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “It’s not a leg up. It’s saying, because of the manifestations of whatever my disability is, I need that accommodation just to be able to perform my job.”

WEBINAR: 2023 NOD Employment Tracker™ | Tying Business Practices to HR Outcomes

Explore how the updated 2023 NOD Employment Tracker™ provides essential data to companies seeking to become more disability inclusive and how L’Oréal USA used this tool to advance their workplace inclusion initiatives.

Plus discover trends and correlations, derived from 200+ companies that participated in the Tracker last year, including the most important disability employment practices that lead to the strongest outcomes, insights on how corporate America is progressing along the disability employment maturity curve, and what critical gaps remain and how your company can successfully address them.


  • Nick Iadevaio, VP, Diversity & Inclusion, L’Oréal USA
  • Felicia M. Nurmsen, Managing Director, Employer Services, NOD

NOD, Corporate Partners Convene Disability Organizations from Across the Country for a Special Meeting with U.S. Labor Secretary Walsh

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 15, 2023) – Recently the National Organization on Disability (NOD) in partnership with corporate members of its Leadership Council, convened their Policy Roundtable for a special meeting with U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to discuss employment issues critical to people with disabilities.

Comprised of the leading disability organizations from across the country, NOD’s Policy Roundtable members and corporate partners talked to Secretary Walsh and other Labor Department officials about phasing out 14(c) certificates, which allow employers to pay workers with disabilities a sub-minimum wage. The group also discussed enforcing the Section 503-rule change for federal contractors, which sets a 7% target for disability workforce representation.

NOD Chairman, Gov. Tom Ridge, leads discussion with representatives from disability organizations
Photo of 2018 Policy Roundtable meeting, with NOD Chairman Emeritus, Gov. Tom Ridge, and representatives from disability organizations.

On behalf of all participants, NOD’s leadership thanks Secretary Walsh for sharing his time with our Policy Roundtable members to discuss these critical issues regarding the fair and inclusive employment of Americans with disabilities.

We are grateful for the U.S. Department of Labor’s attention to and engagement with these policy and legislative concerns of the disability community.

Roundtable participants gathered at a conference table
Photo of 2018 Policy Roundtable participants gathered at a conference table

The following national disability rights organizations attended the Policy Roundtable meeting:

  • National Organization on Disability: Luke Visconti, NOD Board Chair and Founder, DiversityInc; Carol Glazer, President; Charles Catherine, Director, Corporate and Government Relations; Josef Pevsner, Senior Manager, Research & Innovation Programs; and Charlotte Ohl, Executive Assistant to the President.
  • American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR):  Barbara Merrill, Chief Executive Officer ·
  • Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE): Julie J. Christensen, LMSW, PhD, Executive Director
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD): Cindy Smith, Director of Public Policy
  • Autism Society of America: Kim Musheno, Vice President, Public Policy
  • National Association of the Deaf (NAD): Howard Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer
  • National Council on Independent Living (NCIL): Jessica Podesva, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy
  • National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS): Bart Devon, Senior Director, Public Policy
  • Ridge Policy Group: Mark Holman, Partner; Becky Wolfkiel, Director of Federal Affairs; Zaida Ricker, Senior Associate; and Charlie Moffat, Legislative Assistant
  • Judith Heumann: Disability advocate

NOD Leadership Council members in attendance included:

  • Charter Communications: Rhonda Nesmith Crichlow, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer; NOD Director
  • The Coca-Cola Company: Jessica Zielke; Group Director Federal and Diplomatic Government Relation
  • Elevance Health: Merrill Friedman, RVP, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy
  • The Hershey Company: Alicia Petross; Chief Diversity Officer
  • L’Oréal USA: Nicholas Iadevaio, Vice President Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Toyota North America: Javier Moreno, Chief of Staff, Office of the President & CEO

Federal officials in attendance included:

  • Secretary Martin Walsh, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Allison Zelman, Chief of Staff, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • John Towle, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Peach Soltris, Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Taryn Williams, Assistant Secretary for Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Jenny Yang, Director of Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Dept. of Labor
  • Kristen Garcia, Chief of Staff for Wage and Hour Division (WHD), U.S. Dept. of Labor

In 2018, NOD spearheaded the Policy Roundtable, convening the leading the nation’s leading disability rights organizations to speak with a unified voice on issues critical to ensuring meaningful and equitable employment for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

Focus Atlanta – Hiring Diversity

Tuesday, February 6, 2023

In a recent interview with Focus Atlanta, NOD Chairman Luke Visconti discusses the increase in employment of people with disabilities during the Pandemic, as well as the tapering off of that success as the Pandemic has eased. 

Watch the interview to learn about why self-ID rates of employees with disabilities have recently decreased and what employers can do to help these employees feel comfortable in the workplace. 

Original post at

Navigating Workforce More Challenging For Those With Disabilities, Advocates Say

modernized handicapped sign is affixed to a door at the The Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Fla.

Originally posted January 31 2023 on by Scripps National News

Remote work has opened up more opportunities for people with disabilities but as more companies adopt hybrid work schedules or require people to return to the office, disability advocates are worried about losing the gains made during the pandemic.

They say a big concern is people not feeling comfortable telling their employers about their disability.

“Self-disclosure rates are going down, which to me indicates a diminishing of trust that people don’t trust their employer,” said Luke Visconti, chairman of the National Organization on Disability.

A new report from the National Organization on Disability shows companies tracking retention of people with disabilities are reporting a 40% turnover rate.

The rate of people disclosing their disability decreased by 11% in 2022. It decreased by 15% the year before that.

“It’s not about doing something special for people with disabilities, it’s about being nice, and that transfers to everything you’re doing. Your customers, your suppliers, your investors,” said Visconti.

Disability advocates say it’s on companies, not workers, to build a relationship that will make someone feel comfortable disclosing their disability.

“In my experience of over 40 years in these companies, there’s no downside to this. There’s all upside,” said Doug Conant, a board member with the National Organization on Disability. “And these people are dying to contribute. All we need to do is give them the proper opportunity, and make sure the companies are prepared to follow up and deliver that opportunity consistently.”

Advocates say disabled workers looking for a job can look for signs on a company’s website that indicate it would be a good environment for someone with a disability.

Original post at

Recent Hiring Gains For People With Disabilities Likely To Be Short Lived If Employees Don’t Feel Comfortable Disclosing Their Disability

New Report from National Organization on Disability Details Troubling Trends Within Corporate America; Findings Available for Download

NEW YORK (February 3, 2023) – Despite the recent surge of employment for people with disabilities, due to remote working, a new report released by the National Organization on Disability (NOD), finds those higher employment rates do not tell the entire story when 59% of companies tracking retention of people with disabilities reported a 40% turnover rate.

The 2022 NOD Employment Tracker report, part of a multi-year survey of hundreds of major employers that collectively employ more than 10 million people, reveals that while much progress has been made to improve disability workforce inclusion practices, key metrics like Self-ID tracking rates continue to decline year after year. This trend will likely continue unless employers can create a work environment that allows employees to feel comfortable disclosing their disabilities.

“The report card for disability management in large corporations is measured by Self-ID rates,” said NOD Chairperson Luke Visconti.  “Not only are federal contractors — which employ 25% of America’s workforce — required to track and report Self-ID rates, the rates also provide an insight into how inclusive a company’s culture is and whether employees possess the trust and psychological safety to ‘come out ’ with a disability. Self-ID rates have decreased by 15 percent and 11 percent over a two-year period (2021 and 2022, respectively) and only 72 percent of companies track Self-ID rates for employees with disabilities.  This declining trend is one that we are working hard to reverse in the future for all people with visible and non-visible disabilities.”

In its 10th year, the NOD Employment Tracker, the only free assessment tool that helps companies better understand how their key business practices correlate to improved talent outcomes related to hiring, retention and tenure, helps employers to make disability inclusion part of their overall business strategy and to find the right talent while removing employment barriers for good. According to this latest report, companies that not only track Self-ID rates, but other talent outcome metrics such as promotions of employees with disabilities; improved accessibility from the start of the hiring process; rates of job applications with disabilities; and having a C-level leader disclose their own disability, revealed self-identification rates three times higher than those that only examined Self-ID.

“It’s important to note that while the simple act of measuring does not in itself produce higher Self-ID rates, it does reveal the value a company places on improving at disability inclusion in their workforce,” said NOD President Carol Glazer.  “Employees notice these visible signs and can trust that their employer is indeed ‘walking the talk.’  I would encourage all employers to take advantage of our Employment Tracker to access how they benchmark against participating companies and receive the information they need to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

NOD has also kept a pulse on the area of mental health. While companies know this is an area of great concern, they are still in the formative stages of providing the support necessary to be successful in providing employees with the appropriate tools and resources.  Report findings show an increase in companies considering adding mental health ambassadors to their workforce and hiring consultants to educate their employees about this significant topic.

Visconti added, “We know that most corporations are not intentionally trying to exclude people with disabilities from the workforce.  However, we do know from the data we collect in our Employment Tracker survey that all companies are not at the same level of competency. The Tracker survey is open right now, it’s free and you get a free score card — yet we will only have on average 300 companies who take the survey annually.  If your company is not taking the Employment Tracker, you have no excuse for professing ignorance.”

The Employment Tracker, powered by Talmetrix, ranks any size organization in six disability and veterans’ inclusion focus areas including strategy, talent outcome metrics, climate and culture, talent sourcing, people practices and workplace tools and accessibility. The deadline to take the 2023 Employment Tracker and qualify for the NOD Leading Disability Employer Seal Award and the 2023 DiversityInc Top 50 is March 10, 2023.  All participating companies receive a Tracker Scorecard to develop plans and priorities for improving employment practices and policies.

To download a free copy of the complete NOD Employment Tracker report, click here.

NOD Appoints Prudential Head of U.S. Customer Service Roger Putnam to Board of Directors

Roger Putnam Headshot

NEW YORK (January 24, 2023) – The National Organization on Disability (NOD) today announced Roger Putnam, Head of U.S. Customer Service at Prudential, as the newest member to join its Board of Directors. Mr. Putnam, a champion, and advocate for disability rights, will join 15 other civic and corporate leaders from across the country working to increase employment opportunities for Americans living with disabilities.

“The National Organization on Disability is proud to have Roger join our Board of Directors,” said NOD Chairman Luke Visconti. “The disability rights landscape has changed dramatically since our founding in 1982 and we are proud of the great strides we have made in advancing our mission of putting individuals with disabilities to work. Building on that success takes talented individuals such as Roger joining our team. His experience and commitment to championing people with disabilities will help us continue to advance our mission of disability inclusion in the workplace.”

Roger Putnam has been a long-time champion to create opportunities for people with disabilities and led a first-of-its-kind neurodiverse talent program within Prudential’s U.S. Contact Center. He’s a passionate advocate for fully inclusive workplaces that support the development and advancement of diverse talent.

“I’m honored to join the Board of Directors for the National Organization on Disability,” said Roger Putnam. “I believe strongly that Prudential employees should mirror the diversity of the customers we serve and I look forward to bringing that passion for inclusivity to the National Organization on Disability.”

 Roger joins the NOD Board with 30 years of transformative leadership and a unique background of experiences at the intersection of technology, financial services and insurance.  He joined Prudential in 2019 where he is responsible for delivering a world-class customer service experience across all of Prudential’s lines of business as the head of the U.S. Customer Service.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. He resides in Simsbury, Connecticut with his wife Lisa and their two children.

About National Organization on Disability (NOD)

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for the 60-percent of working age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to meet leading companies’ workforce needs. NOD has helped some of the world’s most recognized brands be more competitive in today’s global economy by building or enriching their disability inclusion programs. For more information about NOD and how its professional services, Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ can help your business, visit

Funds Support Efforts to Increase Employment Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities



NEW YORK, NY (November 15, 2022) |  The National Organization on Disability (NOD) announced today it received a $5 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. NOD is a nonprofit organization that envisions a world where all people with disabilities enjoy full opportunity for employment, enterprise, and earnings. The donation is the single largest contribution the organization has received from an individual donor in its 40-year history.

This transformational investment will advance NOD’s mission to increase its impact on employment prospects for more than 60 million people with disabilities in America today. The organization will expand its work with employers through programs such as the Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ and grow the organization’s research capabilities, all with the goal of identifying practices that lead to greater talent outcomes and influencing changes in public policy and perception.

NOD’s President, Carol Glazer, noted that, “While America still has a long way to go, the disability rights landscape has changed dramatically and much has been accomplished since our founding in 1982. NOD is proud to have been dedicated to this progress throughout our forty-year history. This funding will help us make even greater advancements in the decades ahead. We are honored to be selected for this generous support and want to thank all our funders and supporters who made, and continue to make, our journey possible.”

About National Organization on Disability (NOD)

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase employment opportunities for working age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. To achieve this goal, NOD offers a suite of employment solutions, tailored to anticipate, and meet leading companies’ workforce needs. NOD has helped some of the world’s most recognized brands be more competitive in today’s global economy by building or enriching their disability inclusion programs. For more information about NOD and how its portfolio of professional services, Leadership Council and Employment Tracker™ can help your business, visit

Like John Fetterman, I suffered a stroke. Watching him isn’t ‘painful’ – it’s inspiring.

His performance was a courageous example of a person rising above, willing to suffer indignities from people trying to take advantage of his disability as well as simply cruel and ignorant people.

Luke Visconti, Opinion contributor
I was completely ignorant about strokes and stroke recovery – until I had one at age 54.

I had no precedent conditions. My stroke – not unlike the one suffered by Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman five months ago – came out of the blue.

Living in Florida, I can’t say I have been closely tracking Fetterman’s brave campaign against celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz. But I sure took notice last week of their first televised debate and the shameful way the Oz campaign – and many of those who support him – have belittled and bullied Fetterman.

I learned that Oz’s senior communications adviser has said, “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly.”

I’ve also learned that his campaign, upon Fetterman initially declining to debate Oz in September as he worked to regain his ability to speak with authority, released what is clearly a mocking list of concessions they would make to get Fetterman to debate. It’s shameful.

Fetterman is stronger than most

As I watched Fetterman’s debate performance, I did so with great pride and admiration.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Fetterman is clearly stronger than most people. Average people are often crushed by the circumstances he’s fighting to rise above. I don’t think it was “painful” to watch him in his debate, as some have suggested. It was a courageous example of a person rising above an obstacle in his path, willing to suffer indignities from people trying to take advantage of his disability as well as simply cruel and ignorant people.

Democratic Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman participates in the Senate debate in Harrisburg on Oct. 25, 2022.

Equating an auditory processing disorder, or what others might describe as aphasia, with a lack of intelligence or cognition is commonplace and bigotry. This type of bullying cannot be accepted. The fact that anyone would leverage a widely held misconception for political gain, especially a medical doctor, is disgusting.

The sad truth is that ignorant criticism of Fetterman’s disabilities are bound to intimidate others with disabilities. The loss of their productivity already has a demonstrable impact on our gross domestic product. People with disabilities have the lowest labor participation rate of any group.

At the National Organization on Disability, we collect data from hundreds of companies to help improve human capital management of people with disabilities. Our mission is to help people with disabilities who want work to find it – and to help their employers maximize the potential, productivity and innovation of their entire workforce.

Helping people with disabilities move forward

Inhospitable work environments, transit and building facilities as well as belittling or bullying people with disabilities cause low labor participation rates of people with disabilities. It also destabilizes families. Gaining an advantage by expressing an “opinion” borne of ignorance (purposeful or not) is not harmless – it’s cruel and inexcusable.

It takes hard work to overcome a stroke, especially if there are visible signs and/or pain. It’s not hard to imagine why many people give up, and indeed, half of stroke survivors don’t return to work.

With almost 200,000 Americans under 65 having a stroke every year, this is not only a tragedy for those people and their families; it’s a major economic problem.

John Fetterman has demonstrated himself to be a fighter – a man with courage, drive and a remarkable lack of self-pity. He also must have a great support system around him, especially a supportive and loving family. I couldn’t have come back without my family, especially my wife, and my then chief operating officer, who is now my CEO.

No matter how one feels about his political opinions, I think having leaders who have overcome substantial challenges with enough humility to expose themselves to public scrutiny encourage and embolden others who face challenges. Even if the Senate candidate doesn’t win on Nov. 8, Pennsylvanians should be proud of Lt. Gov. Fetterman – a leader with grit.

People have told me that I’m a nicer person since my stroke. I certainly know I’m more perceptive and empathetic. Don’t we all need more empathy?

Luke Visconti, the founder of DiversityInc., is chairman of the National Organization on Disability.