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NASIC hosts forum on accommodating disabilities in the workplace

U.S. Air Force Maj. Susan Trepczynski, National Air and Space Intelligence Center staff judge advocate, discusses legal guidelines associated with reasonable accommodations during an open forum Nov. 28, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. NASIC leaders held the forum for personnel to speak with different officials about working with people who have disabilities. . (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Susan Trepczynski, National Air and Space Intelligence Center staff judge advocate, discusses legal guidelines associated with reasonable accommodations during an open forum Nov. 28, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. NASIC leaders held the forum for personnel to speak with different officials about working with people who have disabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

Speakers from throughout NASIC answer questions during a workplace accommodations forum Nov. 28, 2017, in the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The forum provided a venue for NASIC employees to learn about reasonable accommodations for coworkers with disabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

Speakers from throughout NASIC answer questions during a workplace accommodations forum Nov. 28, 2017, in the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The forum provided a venue for NASIC employees to learn about reasonable accommodations for coworkers with disabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The National Air and Space Intelligence Center held an open forum Nov. 28 to educate more than two dozen employees on reasonable accommodations and provide an opportunity for them to interact with several officials within NASIC.

Reasonable accommodations are things like workplace modifications that make it easier for an employee to perform the duties of their position.

“We wanted to equip employees to meet the legal and ethical standards so that everyone at NASIC can perform their mission, regardless of physical ability,” said Elizabeth Ewart, NASIC analyst and coordinator for the forum. “Employers are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities so they can perform their job. NASIC is held to the same standard.”

Topics of discussion during the forum included: legal considerations, NASIC’s unique security features, and workplace furniture. Attendees with sight or hearing disabilities were provided the presentations beforehand and sign language interpreters were available on-site.

“Those who attended were given key information on how to assist persons with disabilities,” said Nathan Setters, NASIC analyst. “The underlying motivation of ‘be open and accepting of everyone within the work place’ was the stronger message.”

The event also addressed how to request reasonable accommodations and who approves them.

“The forum was very informative,” said Setters. “The opening presentation on the legal requirements of doing things right, especially for persons with disabilities, was an enlightening moment. NASIC's JAG highlighted the need for full compliance and the negative impact on not just mission, but also all of us, should we fail to comply.”

The final key message from the forum was the idea that everyone at NASIC can help ensure reasonable accommodations are always available.

“People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world and the only one where someone can suddenly find themselves part of the group,” Ewart said. “Because of this, everyone should be aware of what is available to them.

“Anyone could develop a temporary or permanent disability at any time in their life. While that will definitely change the way someone could view the world, reasonable accommodations prevent it from changing their career by allowing them to continue to do their job.”

For more information on reasonable accommodations please contact Ewart at 787-1790.