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Service Before Self Podcast

Jun 17, 2021

Welcome to another episode of Service Before Self Podcast. In today’s episode, the focus is on an issue that does not receive the visibility and attention it deserves: the challenges that disabled veterans face in finding meaningful employment.


When thinking about disabled veterans it is common to refer to those who were wounded in combat, but that is only part of the picture, there are 4.7 million veterans and 20% of them have some type of service-connected disability and its level varies across this population. There are many challenges that disabled veterans are facing but most of them are related to difficulties trying to find employment. Additionally, employers and community-based organizations struggle with understanding the resources and policies that are in place to support them in hiring disabled Americans, including disabled veterans. 


Today, Sam Whitehurst, your host, talks with Louis Orslene, Supervisory Policy Advisor in the Office of Disability and Employment Policy from the Department of Labor, an agency within DOL that is focused on helping employers and organizations support not only disabled veterans, but disabled Americans writ large. Louis is sharing some of the policies, programs, and practices that are creating opportunities for those that are disabled and how organizations and communities can more effectively integrate those with disabilities, including disabled veterans, into the workforce.


Key Takeaways:

[7:19] Louis talks about the Office of Disability Employment Policy.

[11:40] Louis talks about the veterans who use the job accommodation network.

[12:05] Employers have to be prepared for the inclusion of veterans.

[14:10] Louis talks about the challenges veterans face in reaching their full potential in and out of the workplace.

[17:30] Louis talks about the employment barriers for people with disabilities and the three major reasons.

[21:42] Louis talks about the main mental challenges and impairments caused by COVID-19.

[22:34] Louis presents the Mental Health Tool Kit the Office of Disability Employment Policy has implemented.

[24:30] Louis explains how many people with disabilities and mental health conditions have been benefited during the pandemic.

[25:40] What are some of the ways that ODEP could help local leaders address the challenges that disabled employees might have in the workforce?

[30:18] Louis shares tips for people looking to help someone with a disability who is looking for employment or an employer who is looking for that talent.

[33:44] Sam talks about the Clear2Connect Coalition


Mentioned in this episode:

Dixon Center: Reaching America

At Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services, we believe our veterans and military families can succeed where they live.

Dixon Center is named after Staff Sergeant Donnie Dixon, who was killed in action on September 29, 2007, in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Dixon was a father, husband, and Soldier who always placed the mission first and the safety of his fellow Soldiers above his own. Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services stands as a testament to his example and leadership.

Dixon Center on Facebook

Dixon Center on Twitter

Dixon Center on Instagram


Tweetables and quotes:

“The path of isolation among veterans usually begins with poor employment opportunities.”


“Veterans tend not to relate very well to the word disability since there is a stigma that relates it to a weakness.”


“Many people with disabilities and mental health conditions have really benefited during the pandemic.”