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DOL's Strategic Plan - Live Q&A Session with ODEP - Static Page

This chat about the DOL Strategic Plan was held on Thursday, April 8 at 2:45 p.m. EDT with ODEP.

NOTE: This page will display an error until the chat session begins. Please disregard this error.

4:22 Kathy: This has been an excellent forum. I’m sorry that it has come to a close before we got to everyone's questions. Thank you all for taking the time to ask questions and share your ideas. Please take time to review the presentation slide shows about ODEP provided on and submit your ideas to We want to hear as many of you as we can while we develop our plans for the future.

4:22 Kathy: Thank you Peter for your comment. ODEP is a strong proponent of increased alignment between federal legislation affecting transition age youth with disabilities.

One example of our efforts to improve transition outcomes is to inform families, youth and service providers about the change from being "entitled" for protection under IDEA to being "eligible" for protection against discrimination and for reasonable accomodations under ADA.

Check out ODEP's fact sheets at:
Youth, Disclosure, and the Workplace
Advising Youth with Disabilities on Disclosure

4:22 Comment From Peter FitzGerald: Another huge barrier for youth with disabilities has to do with the interface between IDEA eligibility documentation (which creates access to an entitlement program: SpEd) and the eligibility documentation requirements of critical services like Vocational Rehabilitation, Offices for Students with disabilities in postsecondary education settings, etc. It seems that no one is really on the same page in terms of currency of documentation, credentials for evaluators who provide that documentation, and all of this confusion creates artificial barriers and a "filtering out" process (i.e. if you can't produce the "right" documentation, you give up trying to access a vital resource). How is the Department working to coordinate these requirements so that the process is streamlined, accessible, based on common sense (e.g. SpEd teacher licensing bodies state that SpEd teachers are qualified to evaluate and diagnose but Rehab professionals will claim that the evaluator must have PhD or MSW or LCSW behind their name)?

4:21 Comment From Maria Heidkamp: Thanks for the webchat!

4:20 Kathy: Lee, the Workforce Recruitment Program has been a collaboration managed by the Dept of Defense and ODEP. With the new leadership in place at OPM, we are excited about the possibilities for growth and improvement of the program. This year, we invested in updates to the technology that manages the database and we are in the process of shifting the interview cycle from spring to fall. This aligns more closely with when employers begin thinking about summer hires. Stay tuned for more information to follow later in the year.

4:20 Comment From Lee Henson: Will ODEP strengthen the Workforce Recruitment Program for college students with disabilities? In my experience the participation rates are low, the placement percentages are very low, the office is woefully understaffed, and opportunities for federal employment outside of the Washington area are not explored at all, as it seems they easily could be through the Federal Regional Councils in major cities. In addition, the interviewees apparently get no feedback if they aren't placed.

4:19 Kathy: Hi Sean, thanks for your question. We will take your suggestions into consideration as we work through the WIA reauthorization. Thanks, Kathy

4:19 Comment From Sean Roy: Has there been any discussion about adding funds to the WIA reauthorization to support infrastructure costs within the one-stops? Often, supporting agencies that serve people with disabilities, such as Vocational Rehabilitation, as expected to bear a large portion of the costs, taking dollars away for case services. This is an issue that can be explored by ODEP.

4:19 Kathy: We received this question from Rich Luecking:

I commend the inclusion in the Strategic Plan of the strategy to increase and improve access to WIA programs. Since the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) program has laid important ground work to generate awareness and guidance to One-Stop Career Centers on serving customers with disabilities, what plans are there to build on this foundation? There is a long way to go to insure full physical and programmatic access to WIA programs operated by and in One-Stops. Hence there is an ongoing need to take the DPN program to the next level of fostering universal design and universal access in One-Stops and WIA programs. I hope ODEP and the DOL will look seriously at specific initiatives to help accomplish this.

Thank you Rich for your insightful comments. I agree that the DPN initiative has laid important groundwork. I am pleased that ODEP and ETA are currently working on a collaborative initiative that will build on the promising practices of the DPN initiative as well as ODEPs work in the customized and youth areas. Assistant Secretary Jane Oates and I expect that this new initiative will build and validate models across the workforce system that demonstrate universal design and accessibility and provide meaningful access to people with disabilities.

4:17 Kathy: Thank you Kathryn for your question, we believe that all people should have a choice of and opportunities for work at integrated settings at competitive wages. This is for all people and is not focused on a particular constituency or age group.

4:17 Comment From Kathryn: One of the strategic plan goals is aimed at moving individuals into "middle class" jobs that pay a prevailing wage-- is this goal inclusive of ODEP's entire consitutency or a certain age group?

4:16 Comment From Steve Frost: Thank you for your time Assistant Secretary Martinez! This has been a very informative session.

4:16 Comment From Judy: Thank you Kathy for taking the time to answer questions!

4:16 Kathy: Thanks Rick,

Please consult the Web site operated by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities at the Department of Health and Human Services.

4:16 Comment From Rick Glass: You earlier referenced a program to develop apprenticeship programs for youth with DD. Where can one find more information about what resources or grants are available to establish these types of programs?

4:16 Kathy: Deborah, if you aren't familiar with the Campaign for Disability Employment, we think you will be pleased to see that ODEP has funded a collaborative effort between several disability and business organizations that will be placing public service announcements both in print and broadcast/cable media, encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent people with disabilities bring to the workplace. It includes an interactive Web site, which you can access at - In addition, the PSAs will be available for organizations and individuals to utilize along with discussion guides developed for both youth and adults.

4:16 Comment From Deborah (via e-mail): Please consider working with web sites and TV stations willing to show programming that would help overcome attitudinal barriers. Videotaping short programs about employees with disabilities in jobs where they excel and have success stories would show prospective employers most human beings want to succeed even if they have disabilities. Many will be surprised by their accomplishments. It will help people overcome the negative stereotypes that often get in the way.

4:16 Comment From Angela: Thank you Kathy for your willingness to respond to our concerns.

4:14 Kathy: Janet, our strategic plan certainly does address working together with our federal partners at RSA on policy issues. Please see the answer to Kimberly at 4:12. Thank you for your question, Kathy

4:14 Comment From janet hill: I attended your listening session in Atlanta and was so pleased that RSA Commissioner is a true partner with DOL. Will your strategic plan address working together from a policy standpoint?

4:13 Kathy: Thank you Janet for your question. ODEP is in favor of increasing choice for people with significant disabilities so that they have options for integrated community-based employment. We recognize the need for alignment of policy both nationally and in the states to help this happen. We are committed to further work in this area and will review our strategic plan with this in mind.

4:13 Comment From Janet Marinaccio: Kathy, you mention 14(c) in your comments about the listening sessions. Can you summarize the general consensus on the topic (if there is one!)?

4:12 Kathy: Kimberly, ODEP is working closely with its partner RSA at the Dept. of Education to ensure that VR programs and services are integrated into the One-Stop service systems. We can not make progress on employment goals for people with disabilities without engaging the critical federal partners at RSA and the Employment and Training Administration on these issues. We are excited about a new colloboration with ETA that will build capacity, coordination and partnership within One-Stop career centers and across the public workforce system. Please watch our Web site for this new initiative in early summer 2010.

4:12 Comment From Kimberley Peck: Given your intention to increase and improve access to WIA programs, what commitments will ODEP be making to engage RSA of the Department of Education in dialogue around partnerships with VR programs that are located in One-Stops?

4:11 Kathy: Thanks Tom, Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor are collaborating to sponsor a federal hiring event in Washington D.C. on April 26th. This is a first ever. If this model is successful we hope to replicate it in the regions in the future.

4:11 Comment From Tom Muniz: I've seen the announcements to encourage Vets to engage federal employers (via the job fair in DC) are there plans to expand to other the same kinds of events to other locales (I.e. Denver - yes I am in Denver and would love to see an national event come here)?

4:10 Moderator: Our chat session will end at 4:15 EDT.

4:07 Kathy: Thank you Ken for your comments. That is a great idea and is something we will look into. Again, we encourage the public to take our publications and adapt them to their needs.

4:07 Comment From Ken: I just learned about the 411 Guide on Disclosure for youth. Is there a companion document that might be used for older workers who may develop a disability and need assistance but do not know how to begin the process of disclosure or accommodation request?

4:06 Kathy: Thanks Sharon, you can get information about placement and workers compensation claims for people with disabilities at the following Web site .

4:06 Comment From Sharon (via e-mail): Does you office provide any assistance for placement for people with disabilities related to workers' compensation claims?

4:06 Kathy: Thank you Trish for your question. Self employment is a very important strategy for people with disabilities. ODEP currently supports START-UP USA which provides national technical assistance to people with disabilities on a range of self employment areas, and we encourage you to visit their website. ODEP is reviewing our strategic plan with self employment in mind.

4:06 Comment From Trish Martin: Are there any plans for writing policies, or taking other actions, that create resources in support individuals with disabilities wishing to establish their own businesses... but knowing how to do so?

4:06 Moderator: That's a photo of Assistant Secretary Martinez working on an answer to one of your questions.

4:06 :

4:04 Kathy: Thanks Judy for your informed observation about countries whose employment methods use the "quota-levy system". In more than 30 countries a percentage is set by which employers are mandated to hire employees with disabilities up to that percentage. If they fail to do so, they are fined. Our system in the United States does not use a percentage approach. We rely upon laws and regulations to achieve significant employment of persons with disabilities in the United States labor force.

4:04 Comment From Judy: I know in Turkey there are laws specifying that companies with 50 or more employees must hire 5% with disabilities. Do you know of other countries with similar laws? Are we looking at anything this dramatic to help hiring PWD a norm?

4:02 Kathy: Thank you Katharine for your question. ODEP recognizes how important self employment is for people with disabilities. I previously mentioned our work in this area which has documented great impact. We will review our strategic plan with this area in mind.

4:02 Comment From Katharine: How will self-employment be addressed or incorporated in ODEP's strategic plan? I work with many artrists with disabilities whose income is low and often erratic, yet there is stoll great fear about losing benefits, particlulary their helath coverage.

4:01 Kathy: Yessica, Thank you for your question. The intent of our plan is to improve services and outcomes nationwide. I look forward to your reporting about progress from Puerto Rico. Please take advantage of the resources on the following Web sites: and Thanks, Kathy.

4:01 Comment From Yessica Guardiola: How will this Plan apply to Puerto Rico?

4:01 Kathy: Rob, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at is a free consulting service for employers and individuals. We urge you to contact them for guidance. Recently they published a White Paper on frangrance sensitivity and have best practice examples to share with you on navigating the accommodation process.

4:01 Comment From Rob: Hi Kathy, thanks for your response at 3:32. I was actually referring to when we are trying to assist our own employees on govt sites and the govt contacts will sometimes not even allow us to buy a different chair for our employee or relocate his desk due to a fragrance sensitivity. We are trying to meet our obligations and engage in the interactive process but often face a roadblock when we cannot control the physical environment.

4:00 Kathy: Eric, ODEP believes that it is important for youth service professionals to be prepared to work effectively with all youth, especially youth with disabilities. Together with our partners at the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth and the National Youth Employment Coalition, we have developed a Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) initiative for youth service professionals. The eight training modules help to ensure that all workforce development front line professionals have the knowledge of systems related to youth (e.g.,workforce development, disability, education etc.) and are prepared to help guide all youth as they transition to employment and economic self sufficiency. ODEP believes, if frontline staff members are trained to work effectively with all youth, including those with disabilities, there will be better outcomes for all youth in WIA-funded programs.

For more information on the initiative visit .

4:00 Comment From Eric Cline (IEL): How will the department support the professional development of workforce professionals who work directly with youth?

3:59 Kathy: Thank you Kris for your question. ODEP is working with ETA to develop and implement a $24 million initiative. It will build on a promising practices of the disability navigator program as well as ODEP's work with the one-stop career centers. We anticipate this initiative to be launched this summer.

3:59 Comment From Kris: When reading through DOL's strategic plan and their outcomes they want to attain, I didn't see any specific comments about serving people with disabilities. The Disability Navigator Program has been discontinued and yet the success of the program is very measurable. So what are the plans for serving these customers in One-Stop Centers?

3:58 Kathy: Thanks Janette, please look for an initiative from the ODEP soon called Add Us In. This initiative fosters inclusion in minority and diverse populations. Please watch for this announcement on our Web site at


3:58 Kathy: Keleigh--Another great question! What many people do not realize is that almost 2/3 of the counties throughout the US do not have public transporation options available. A large part of our work with DOT in the United We Ride effort has been to address rural transportation issues for those not in a position to drive their own car. Some interesting approaches have included reimbursing family members for transportation costs and for shared use of vehicles owned by local service providers such as area offices on aging, veterans service organizations, and even schools. One useful Web site on rural transportation issues is

3:58 Comment From Keleigh (via e-mail): I agree with Mr. Smith. Here is Southeastern Connecticut, our rural areas are lacking in transportation options for the disabled who want to work. Are there any plans in place to break down that barrier?

3:56 Kathy: Thank you Sheila for a great question. The answer is yes.

3:56 Comment From sheila: Kathy, Thank you for taking our questions. Universal design for the workforce development system has been effective in ensuring that all customers have access to services including customers with disabilities. Will information about universal design concepts be integrated into your work with ETA particularly as they build on the promising practices of the navigator effort.

3:56 Kathy: Ken, ODEP will work with you to provide information on reasonable accommodations through the Job Accommodation Network. Note that it is the employers' responsibility to legally provide these reasonable accommodations, be the employer a contractor, a business a private non-profit or a government organization.

3:56 Comment From Ken: Kathy,Rob at 3:32 brings up a good point. We have multiple contractors working on site who do a great job of employing PWD's. However our hands seem to be tied when it comes to providing accommodations or even receiving any kind of credit for providing these persons with gainful employment that they would not have if not for our agency contract. It seems that it would be good if these contract personnel could be treated more like FTE's for the purpose of helping them succeed in the workplace.

3:54 Kathy: Thank you for your suggestion.

3:54 Comment From Helen Walsh: Is ODEP planning on connecting with media who has been creating month highlights/programing such as KQED Celebration of Disability Culture? Just putting this out being I had worked on this project and would like to see if these areas of interest could connect resourses and get info out further into the public.

3:53 Kathy: Hi Sherry. Thank you for your question. ODEP has been honored to work with national experts and programs across the nation to advance customized employment opportunities for people with disabilities. We are currently working to educate other federal partners on the universal usefulness of a customized approach for assisting anyone with complex barriers to employment. We also recognize the need to align programs and funding nationally and in the states in order for people to move into customized positions, and for providers of employment services to collaborate with economic development agencies for the inclusion of people with disabilities. We will review our strategic plan with your comment in mind.

3:53 Comment From Sherry Beamer: Hello. I understand from my colleagues that there has been some discussion about a customized employment national training and technical assistance rollout as we saw with Supported Employment in the 80s. (I was a part of that good paradigm shifting initiative.) This would be most helpful. I work in California and the service providers here are trying but they struggle with shifting their job development techniques to those of economic development, which is what is needed it seems to assist people to find work in this unique market.

3:52 Kathy: Thanks Peter, I like your thinking. In addition to the response at 3:45, The Office of Disability Employment Policy funds the employer assistance resource network (EARN) at EARN provides employers with free consultative services to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. EARN also works with employers to identify and promote effective practices of which you speak. Please check out our business case at ODEP also partners with employer organizations Society for HUman Resource Management (SHRM) to disseminate effective organizational practices through employer networks.

3:52 Kathy: Thank you for the comment, Angela.

3:52 Comment From Angela: I think that the strategic goal of assuring fair/high quality work-life environments for persons with disabilities is very important. Performance measurements for this goal should evaluate not only hiring rates, but instances of promotion and career advancement.

3:52 Kathy: Janet, thank you for your question. We believe that good jobs for people with disabilities are competitive jobs in the community at minimum wage or better and with opportunites for career advancement. We also believe that good jobs meets the desires an aspirations for people with disabilities to be woven into the fabric of their community. Thanks Kathy.

3:52 Comment From Janet Marinaccio: How are you defining "good jobs?"

3:49 Kathy: We heard from parents at the listening sessions about the impact of autism on their children's employment search. We plan to develop a toolkit geared towards youth with autism transitioning to the workplace in the coming year. Please let us know if you have any ideas on what we should include.

3:49 Comment From Guest: The incidence of autism is increasing. What plans are being made to assist this population with its unique employment needs?

3:47 Kathy: Jamie and Helen W: Please see the answer posted to Harriet Ann at 3:12. In addition, ODEP's Web site dynamically promotes new resources and educational materials. Since 2009, our listserv has grown to over 36,000 subscribers who regularly receive the email updates on what's new. Our collaboration with is another way our information reaches stakeholders.

The Campaign for Disability Employment is an interesting example of an ODEP funded collaborative effort between several disability and business organizations that seek to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace, as well as the dividend to be realized by fully including people with disabilities at work.
You can access that Web site at -

3:47 Comment From Jamie: It would make sense to include a marketing strategy in the new strategic plan to better promote the technical assistance programs you have in place, so more people can find out about what resources are available. Do you have thoughts on this? Thanks!

3:45 Kathy: Hi, Marshall. Thanks for your question. I am proud to be the Secretary of Labor's representative on the Committee for Purchase.A major focus of ODEP's activity with the committee right now is their Quality Work Environment Initiative. ODEP is pulling together a plethora of information from across the nation on best practices and successful strategies to assist Ability One providers as they implement this initiative.

3:45 Comment From Marshall: Does ODEP work with the Committee for Purchase to encourage more federal agencies to set aside projects under the Ability One program for people with disabilities?

3:45 Kathy: Peter, thank you for your question. Case studies and survey reports about employers can be found on the ODEP website

Thanks Kathy

3:45 Comment From Peter (via e-mail): What is ODEP doing regarding the development of best practice case studies of employers hiring individuls with disabilities?

3:44 Kathy: Thank you Mike for this question. Absolutely, we will make sure that technology is included in ODEP's research agenda. In fact, ODEP currently participates in the National Institute on Disability Rehabilition and Research (NIDRR) Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR). We currently participate in the subcommittes on Technology and Employment.

3:44 Comment From Mike: Given today's work environment is very much technology driven, will ODEP consider adding emerging workplace technology research to its research agenda?

3:43 Kathy: Janet, there are no plans as of yet to move RSA from DOED to ODEP. Thank you for your question. Kathy.

3:43 Comment From Janet Marinaccio: What the status of the discussion of moving RSA from DOEd to ODEP to create greater alignment for services for people with disabilities?

3:43 Kathy: Thanks Susan, I greatly appreciate this perspective. As you know we are working very closely with our Veterans’ Office at the Department of Labor and with our federal partners from both the civilian and military sectors on America's Hero's at Work, which focuses on those returning service members from Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not want to lose sight of those veterans who became disabled outside of those conflicts. I was just joined by Ray Jefferson, who is my counterpart at the Veterans Employment and Training Services office. He wanted me to note that the disabled veterans outreach program is being refocused to increase intensive services to disabled veterans, including those older disabled veterans.

3:43 Comment From Susan Prokop, PVA: Hi Kathy - thanks for this chat opportunity. I'm glad to see the references to transitioning veterans with disabilities in ODEP's part of the plan. Intra-agency and cross agency collaboration are badly needed to improve employment of people with disabilities. However, many older veterans with disabilities from previous conflicts or acquired outside military service need the coordinated attention of DoL and the VA in order to become economically self-sufficient. Don't forget them in the planning process.

3:41 Kathy: Thanks Eric, the Office of Disability Employment Policy funds the employer assistance resource network EARN at EARN provides employers with free consultative services on the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities. EARN has developed partnerships with national community organizations serving youth, adults and veterans with disabilities. EARN provides employers with access to these networks and assists employers with developing partnerships and facilitating recruitment efforts.

3:41 Comment From Eric Cline (IEL): Is the Department considering ways to better connect employers and industry to USDOL-funded youth and adult program providers to promote better employment outcomes for all individuals, including youth and adults with disabilities?

3:40 Kathy: ODEP is currently collaborating with ETA to develop a $24 million dollar initiative for improving access to and services at the one stop career centers building on lessons learned from disability navigator program as well as ODEP's work with the one-stop career centers. We hope to continue developing models of excellence that can be replicated nationally within the public workforce programs.

3:40 Comment From Barry: Does the agency have any plan to continue with specialized programs such as the Disablity Program Navigation in Workforce Centers and One-Stops??

3:39 Kathy: Gordon, thank you for your comment. We will take your commments into consideration. Please send additional comments to Richard Horne our research director at Thanks Kathy.

3:38 Kathy: Karen, Thank you for your question about apprenticeship. We are getting lots of questions on this topic. ODEP and ETA are working closely to expand apprenticeship opportunities to youth and young adults with disabilities. ODEP recently awarded a cooperative agreement to improve systems capacity to provide inclusive Registered Apprenticeship training and pre-apprenticeship training to youth and young adults with disabilities. In addition, ETA and ODEP announced a Technical Employment Notice to disseminate a white paper and toolkit to expand apprenticeship opportunities. We are looking forward to seeing how these activities result in improved outcomes for youth. The TEN and toolkit can be found at

3:38 Comment From Karen: Last year there were grants for the research and development of apprenticship programs, do you see a continuation or more grants in this area.

3:38 Kathy: Zack, Steve, & Lynn, You all three have great suggestions on how to move forward with ODEP's public-private partnership with workplace technology. I look forward to working with all of you and encourage you to engage with the ODEP staff as we move forward with this exciting new initiative.

3:38 Comment From Lynn: How does ODEP ensure that people with disabilities are trained in the technology skills that are needed in the workplace? And how do people with disabilities keep up with the rapid pace of workplace technology change?

3:37 Comment From Steve Frost: Might it make sense to facilitate internships for AT users that serve two purposes. First to provide students with disabilities, that use assistive technology, on-the-job experiences in their chosen profession. Second to expose industry programmers, developers, engineers, product managers and program managers to technologies designed to accommodate the access needs of wider-ranges of people... not only individuals with disabilities.

3:37 Comment From Zack A.: On Accessibility in the work place: Does a "private - Public Partnership" mean one specific company? Or will it be a host of local tech. companies that can help business that are they are geographically near?

3:37 Comment From Gordon Graff: The ODEP strategies include increasing/improving access to WIA programs. Current performance measures act, at times, as a disincentive to enrolling people with disabilities in WIA programs. Many with disabilities want to return to employment but for various reasons cannot work full time. While full-time work is not a requirement to meet program standards for a successful exit, in practice the average earnings common measure penalizes case managers for enrolling participants who work part time. States may change core indicators of performance to include contingencies for part-time employment and corresponding low wages. Clearly there would be issues of consistency were states to actually make such changes for a population so large and uniformly distributed as those with disabilities. But good policy formulation requires that outcome measures reflect movement toward a goal. With the stated goal of WIA to provide quality services to individuals with disabilities, WIA reauthorization provides an opportunity to develop measures that better reflect achievement of that vision. Our suggestion is to first consider the goal, then work backward to create an appropriate measure of the outcome. Perhaps a performance model that considers customer characteristics and economic conditions would help remedy the situation.

3:34 Kathy: David, thank you for interesting question. We believe that our strategic plan will improve services an outcomes for people with disabilities served by all types of organizations. I would be interested in your ideas about the impact of the strategic plan on nonprofits. Please send your comments to me at Thank you Kathy.

3:34 Comment From David Hylan: How will the Strategic goals impact the non profit organizations for the good and bad?

3:33 Kathy: Hi Deborah, thank you for raising your question. This area is critically important and ODEP is working collaboratively with ETA and other WIA partners as we look to the reauthorization. We are committed to amendments to increase meaningful, physical, and programmatic access for people with disabilities, as well as increased accountability for the system in this area. We are also collaboratively working with ETA to design and implement a new national initiative that will build on the promising practices of the disability navigator programs as well as ODEP's work with the one-stop career centers.

3:33 Comment From Deborah: Please elaborate on strategies for expanding access to WIA programs for people with disabilities.

3:32 Kathy: Hi Rob, if I understand your question correctly, it is the responsiblity of the employer to provide their employees with accommodations. However, you can talk with your federal government colleagues who are located at your employees' worksites to get additional accommodation information. You may also contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) on-line at

3:32 Comment From Rob: As a government contractor, we have many people on government sites. Our greatest challenges are accommodating people in those jobs since our government couterparts are sometimes unwilling to assist in securing even small and inexpensive accommodations. Will the interagency work group address these challenges as well?

3:29 Kathy: Janet, thank you for your question. I truly appreciate it. Performance measurement is very complicated and your question raises many issues that would be best responded to in a more thorough venue via e-mail. Please send your question to Richard Horne our director for research at Thank you Kathy.

3:29 Comment From Janet Marinaccio: Hi Kathy, I don't mean to keep harping on the same question, but I think being able to demonstrate impact is of utmost concern. I don't think current performance measures do that. What iS ODEP planning - beyond WIA / one-stop performance - to be able to illustrate impacts of services on overall employment rates of PWD? Do you see any linkages between SSA/Ticket and WIPA programs in helping (a) create systems for increasing employment and (b) moving people off dependence on benefits (and thus farther away from the poverty line)?

3:28 Kathy: Thanks Jen for the excellent question. Please refer to Susan at 3:13 for a comprehensive response. ODEP uses inter-agency coloration as an approach to solve barriers whose solutions reside in different federal agencies. Specific inter-agency methods include: identification of common interest, stakeholders inside and outside of the government. With respect to a new youth employment organization, we recommend that you identify other programs with interests’ similar to yours with whom you can forge a productive partnership going forward.

3:28 Comment From Jen Landman: Can you please expand on what types of outreach you will perform to promote inter-agency collaboration? How can a small or new youth employment organization be included in the inter-agency initiatives?

3:28 Kathy: Susan, ODEP’s primary approach includes strong collaboration with such agencies as the Department of Transportation on the United We Ride initiative; the Department of Education, advocacy organizations, and the private sector on accessible technology; and the Department of Health and Human Services on community living and the Social Security Administration on the Ticket Program. We are collaborating closely with our sister agencies within DOL to improve the accessibility of their programs as well as to increase employment of people with disabilities. Thank you for this question. Kathy

3:27 Comment From Susan (via e-mail): Hello Kathy - thanks for this opportunity to visit with you. I'm glad to see that you had representatives of DOL VETS along during the listening sessions. Too often, government programs affecting people with disabilities operate without recognizing their interrelationships with one another. Where does ongoing cross-agency collaboration fit within the construct of the Strategic Plan?

3:25 Kathy: Thank you for your question Julie, which is critically important. ODEP is in favor of increasing choice for people with significant disabilities, so that they have integrated, community based employment area. We are focusing on assisting public and private employment systems to build knowledge and capacity that they need to incorporate innovative strategies, including but not limited to customized employment, self-employment, and use of various flexible work arrangements and work support, that can result in increased integration and higher wages. We are currently pulling together the plethora of information that documents these and other successful strategies so that both public and private programs will readily have the information they need to move in this direction. We are committed to further work in this area and will review the strategic plan with this in mind.

3:25 Comment From Julie Ward: Thank you for the opportunity to raise issues I would like more information about ODEPs plans to increase integrated employment above the minimum wage paraticularly for individuals with developmental disabilities

3:25 Kathy: Lee, Thank you for your question regarding OFCCP. Please see our response above to Sheridan.

3:25 Comment From Lee Henson: Can ODEP do anything to beef up monitoring and reporting requirements regarding employment of people with disabilities by federal contractors through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs?

3:24 Kathy: Kelly, thanks for your question. As I stated in response to an earlier question, ODEP is seeking broad input from our stakeholders and has conducted listening sessions across the country. All of this input including this webchat will be used to finalize our strategic plan. If you have additional suggestions please e-mail them to me at Thank you Kathy.

3:24 Comment From Kelly Buckland: How will information from todays webcast be used in ODEP's strategic plan?

3:23 Kathy: Dear Judy, excellent idea. The Office of Disability Employment Policy funds an Employer Technical Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) at EARN provides employers with free consultative services to increase employment outcomes for people with disabilities. EARN also disseminates effective employment practices. Please visit the EARN Web site. and let us know successful practices that we can pulicize on the EARN site.

3:23 Comment From Judy: As we investigate local opportunities it would be very helpful to have a reference area of successful initiatives occuring around the country. Does something like this already exist?

3:20 Kathy: Karen, thank you for your question. As I indicated in response to a similar question earlier, ODEP is working with ETA to analyze data ETA already collects on services to people with disabilities. This information is used to design policy and to promote effective practices. Thanks Kathy.

3:20 Comment From Karen Robb: What evaluation strategies will ODEP use to measure the performance of WIA in serving people with disabilities?

3:19 Kathy: Lydia, Thank you for your suggestion. ODEP's staff will take this into consideration. Also, some of our other publications, such as the 411 Guide on Disclosure, have been adapted by non-profit organizations and schools to better meet their needs and we encourage everyone to do the same.

3:19 Comment From Lydia Schuck: Will ODEP publish materials to make it easier to use Tunnels and Cliffs with groups of youth?

3:19 Kathy: ODEP is currently developing its plans for green jobs initiative. We recently convened a roundtable of national experts on green jobs for people with disabilities. Our recommendations will be based on the results of that roundtable. Hopefully we will be able to publish a plan soon. At the present time, there are no plans for set aside contracts or grants. We are currently working with the Women's Bureau on workplace flexibility. Workplace flexibility strategies will be critical across industries including the emerging green jobs industries.

3:19 Comment From Becky Ketts: How does the agency plan on supporting "green" jobs for PWDs? Will there be specific set-aside contracts or grants available?

3:15 Kathy: Trenton, thank you for that question. We agree about the importance of assistive technology. We are currenlty colloaborating with the Employment Training Administration to design a national initiative that will both build on the promising practices of the Disability Program Navigator, as well as promote universal design and access within the public workforce system.

3:15 Comment From Trenton Brown: One-stops are vital links in the chain connecting people and jobs. Are any efforts under way to help insure that one-stops are equipped with the assistive technologies necessary to accommodate the access needs of job-seekers with disabilities?

3:15 Kathy: Thanks Guest, you are welcome. Please refer to the answer we provided Rebecca and Ken at 3:04. I completely agree with you, collaboration is key and plans for the commission are being worked out.

3:15 Comment From guest: Thanks for this wonderful opportunity and for convening the National Disability Listening Tour. I am wondering what themes emerged from the Listening Tour and what are plans for a Commission to focus on bring federal agencies out of their silos and collaborating to create more comprehensive and integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities?

3:14 Comment From lynne: Only a comment-As a private employer-we have been using JAN for many years. they are a valuable resource for the private contractor community.

3:12 Kathy: Harriet Ann, Thank you for your question. In addition to ODEP's Web site, we currently fund five technical assistance centers to develop and disseminate educational materials and resources in their areas of expertise.
• The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), is a resource for individuals, employers, and others with questions on workplace accommodations, the ADA and related legislation.
• The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) provides employers with free, expert consulting services and resources to support the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities.
• The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) assists state and local workforce development systems to better serve all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth.
• The National Technical Assistance and Research Center (NTAR) Center Promotes Leadership for Increasing the Employment and Economic Independence of Adults with Disabilities. NTAR works in a select number of states to promote partnership across workforce development, economic development, and other relevant agencies and systems, so that they work together strategically and effectively to increase employment outcomes and economic self-sufficiency for adults with disabilities.
• ODEP's Self Employment Resources, Technical Assistance and Training (START-UP USA) provides technical assistance and disseminates resources nationally to individuals interested in pursuing self-employment.

3:12 Comment From HarrietAnn: What kind of outreach activities are planned to make people aware of services that are/will be available?

3:12 Kathy: Sheridan, thank you for this very important question. Secretary Solis has commited to regulatory reform of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). Although ODEP is not a regulatory agency ,ODEP is working in partnership with the DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). ODEP will be developing technical assistance materials that will assist employers to implement affirmative action strategies and benchmarks to measure progress.

3:11 Comment From Sheridan: As you know the uemployment rate for PWD is very high, with the OFCCP looking at outreach and the applicant tracking systems being accessible or providing an accommodation how will ODEP be working with OFCCP and the employment for people and veterans with disabilities?

3:11 Kathy: Thank you for your question, Cary. ODEP recognizes the importance of self employment for people with disabilities. Our work in this area has documented tremendous impact both on individuals seeking to start their own business, as well as systems changes to facilitate access to necessary supports. We will review our strategic plan with this area in mind.

3:11 Comment From Cary Griffin: Can you speak to ODEP's plans for expanding self-employment opportunities across the country?

3:10 Kathy: Thank you for that important question, Karen. The current fiscal outlook for ODEP continues to look good. Our current budget is approximately $39.1 million. This represents an increase over past years. Notably, in FY 2010, ODEP and ETA are administering a $24 million discretionary grant program to improve access and outcomes for people with disabilities served in the One Stops. Thank you again, Kathy

3:10 Comment From Karen: What effect if any will cutbacks in discretionary funding have ODEP's granting ability?

3:10 Kathy: Thanks Al, I absolutely agree, in fact we have been working very closely with the Dept. of Transportation in a joint initiative called United We Ride. The purpose of United We Ride is to coordinate the 63 Federal programs that provide transportation funding to people with disabilities and older Americans. Our most recent work is focusing on the role employers can play to ensure the availability of transportation for their employees. You can visit the site at


3:09 Kathy: For Harriet 3:03, ODEP is working collaboratively with ETA at congressional request to develop activities and programs to improve services of one stop career centers for people with disabilties, including building on lessons learned from the DPN program.

3:07 Comment From Helen Walsh: thanks for making avaiable a report regarding the Listening Tour.

3:07 Kathy: Sean, Thank you for your comment. We realize that families play a vital role in the success of youth with all types of disabilities. The ODEP staff, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWDY), and our partners at PACER are working to help parents prepare their children for a future of work.

3:07 Comment From Sean Roy: I appreciate all the hard work ODEP does, especially in the area of youth. As you strategize for focus for the coming years I would encourage you to consider exploring activities that support employment for youth with disabilities, including those with significant intellectual or mental health disabilities. These areas could include family involvement, natural supports, ongoing employment supports, and access to postsecondary education and training.

3:04 Kathy: Thank you Rebecca and Ken, is was an open format in that we requested feedback from our stakeholders on what’s working, not on what's not. The dialog and report will be available tomorrow for each city on .

Some of the key things that emerged include Disability Program Navigators, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicaid Infrastructure Grants, SSA Work Disincentives, Cooperation/Collaboration, and Adult Internships.

We plan to use this to info in our Strategic Plan going forward.

3:04 Comment From Rebecca Hastings: What are some major themes you heard during the Listening Tour which you would like employers to focus on addressing to increase employment for people with disabilities?

3:03 Comment From HarrietAnn Litwin: What is DOL doing to provide services to individuals with disabilities through the One-Stop Career Centers, particularly those states that no longer receive DPN funding?

3:03 Comment From Ken: I see that you have held several listening sessions with stakeholders. Was there a formal format or set of questions that you used as a guide to obtain input in specific areas or was it more of an open conversation? How do you plan to use the information that you learned from these sessions?

3:03 Kathy: For Sharon 2:46: ODEP recognizes that economic advancement and self-sufficiency is critical for all people, including people with disabilities. We are currently collaborating with ETA to craft an initiative at congressional request that will among other things connect the public workforce system with state and local asset development programs. Areas such as financial literacy training, individual development accounts, use of tax provisions, and other asset development strategies are critically important for people with disabilities. ODEP is working collaboratively with multiple other federal programs and agencies, including Social Security Administration, D of Treasury, D of HHS, Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services, D of Education and others to leverage and coordinate activities in this area. We will review our draft strategic plan with this area in mind.

3:01 Kathy: Robin, We are not a program office, but we do develop policies that advance employment outcomes for transition-age youth with disabilities. We work with our Federal partners to ensure that these policies are implemented throughout the United States. One example of how our policy informs practice can be seen through our soft skills initiative. What many people do not realize is that work readiness or “soft skills” are so important in the first career experiences. ODEP is currently developing a curriculum to better prepare young people, including youth with disabilities, for the soft skills needed in the work place. This includes professionalism, teamwork, and communication to name a few. Check out this ODEP fact sheet on what employers told us are the soft skills needed in the work place.

3:01 Comment From Robin Renshaw: What kind of programs will be introduced for youth with disabilities?

3:00 Kathy: Robin, yes. The ODEP PowerPoint that is posted on our Web site indicates that the time horizon for the strategic plan runs through 2016. Thank you. Kathy

3:00 Comment From Robin Renshaw: Does the slideshow cover the plan through 2016?

2:59 Kathy: Marvin P. Thank you for your question. We know that accessible and usable technology is an essential employment support. ODEP has established an interagency work group to begin addressing this important public policy issue. In Sec. Solis' 2010 budget we will be establishing a public-private partnership to advance greater accessible and usable technology in the workplace.

2:59 Comment From Marvin P.: What is being done, from a policy (or other standpoints) in support of making more work places technologically accessible to individuals with disabilities?

2:58 Kathy: Dear David H, thank you for your question. We share your concern about the provision quality of sign language and the availability of interpreters. We work diligently to plan for the provision of all accessibility measures, including sign language interpretation for all programs and events sponsored by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

2:58 Comment From David Hylan: Our main concern is the provision of quality sign language interpreters for whatever programs or events are offered to the public. Has there been any consideration made regarding this accessability issue?

2:57 Kathy: Janet, thank you for your question. As you may know one stops have mandated performance measures under the WIA. We are working with ETA to design a data and collection reporting system to collect on service access and outcomes for people with disabilities. Thank you for your suggestions that the language include minimum wage or higher. We will take this into consideration. Kathy

2:57 Comment From Janet Marinaccio: I like that there is a focus on the number of PWD served through One-Stops; however, since there is no related performance measure in WIA - how will this data be collected and reported? Also why is the goal "minimum wage job"? The language should include "or higher".

2:53 Kathy: Pamela, In addition to our many resource materials, ODEP has developed a strategy to help all youth, including youth with disabilities succeed. The Guideposts for Success is based on research and the experiences that all youth, including youth with disabilities, need to transition successfully to adulthood. The 5 areas are: Education, Workforce Preparation, Youth Development and Leadership, Connecting Activities (access to transportation, health care and the like), and Family Supports.

There are many examples of where the Guideposts for Success have been implemented at the state level. States like Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia have organized strategic plans and conducted resource mapping for transition age youth around the Guideposts. Alaska, Michigan, California, Iowa, Colorado and others have included the Guideposts in their state WIA youth plans.

2:53 Comment From Pamela: Can you go into more detail about how we can improve the employment outcomes for youth populations w/higher unemployment rates?

2:52 Comment From Sean: Is there a reason the Stakeholder Consultation slideshow has no "Strategic Goal 2"?

2:52 Kathy: Thanks Sean, ODEP's work does not align with DOL's Strategic Goal #2, because Strategic Goal #2 impacts agencies that have responsibilities with occupational safety and health, including OSHA and MSHA. Thank you Kathy.

2:51 Comment From Judy: Hi Kathy,

2:51 Kathy: Theresa, thank you for your question. ODEP has conducted extensive outreach to its stakeholders regarding its strategic plan. For example, early this year ODEP conducted listening sessions in 6 cities across the country and received significant input from advocates in those cities. We look forward to any input you have regarding our strategic direction. Thank you again.

2:51 Comment From Theresa Ellis: How does work with advocacy organizations fit into the Strategic Objectives?

2:51 Comment From Sarah Laugtug: Glad to be here, Hello.

2:51 Comment From Sharon Brent: Strategic goal 1 states that you will help workers “find a path into middle class jobs”. 1. What activities will ODEP be involved with to advance economic mobility and self sufficiency for workers with disabilities? 2. What specific measures will document results to advance economic self sufficiency? 3. What collaborations with Treasury, FDIC, SBA, and other federal agencies will improve the target population’s financial literacy skills and use savings and asset building tools? 4. Why do your strategies not include “improve access and use of savings and asset building tools and strategies to advance economic self sufficiency”?

2:50 Comment From David Hylan: Greetings from Louisiana!

2:50 Kathy: Peter, Thank you for your question. The Federal agencies that impact transition-aged youth continue to partner through the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, which is focused on coordination across youth serving agencies. The group is a collaboration of 12 federal departments and agencies focused on youth programs and the policies that affect them. ODEP is a partner in this work and brings a focus to transition age youth with disabilities. Learn more at

2:49 Comment From Peter FitzGerald: * What are the administration's plans to continue to address the priorities outlined in the shared youth vision? * What guidance and resources will the department provide to support the 10 elements of WIA for all youth, including those with disabilities? * How will the department continue to ensure that all youth, including those with disabilities, successfully transition from school to work, continued education, and independent living? * How will the department encourage summer and year-round youth employment programs? * How will the department support the professional development of workforce professionals who work directly with youth? * How will the department reach out to employers to encourage the employment of all youth, including those with disabilities? * How will the department seek to improve the employment outcomes for youth populations with higher unemployment rates, such as those in foster care, in the juvenile justice system, and/or with disabilities? * How can the department help programs provide supports and resources, such as transportation and childcare, to increase work placement and retention? * How will the department encourage the development of innovative workforce development strategies for all youth? * As having a job or work experience during high school is linked to higher post-school employment rates, what will the department do to promote work-based learning and on-the-job experiences during high school for

2:49 Moderator: The chat will be available immediately following the closing of the live chat on the same pages used for the live chat.

2:49 Comment From Guest: will a transcript of this session be posted on the odep website also?

2:48 Comment From Cary Griffin: Hi Kathy!

2:45 Asst. Sec. Kathy Martinez: I’m Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy, and I’d like to thank you for joining me today for this webchat. It’s extremely important to me to hear from ODEP’s stakeholders as we develop our strategic plan for 2010-2016. This is a vitally important process for our agency, and we need you to help us shape and refine it to reflect the significant work we have ahead of us. I recently finished a series of Listening Sessions in each of the six Department of Labor regions, accompanied by some of my DOL counterparts from ETA, VETS, OFCCP and the Women’s Bureau, as well as our friends from SSA, Education, OPM and HHS. Final reports from these Listening Sessions will be available in a few days on the ODEP website. We had the opportunity at these sessions to interact with our constituents who attended the events. Now we are reaching out to the rest of you folks out in the field for your advice and guidance as we work to ensure that “good jobs for everybody” means everybody. That includes listening directly to you and really paying attention to the feedback we receive. So thank you for your participation today. I’m looking forward to a substantive exchange of ideas.

2:36 Moderator: Welcome! We'll be starting at 2:45 but you can start submitting your questions at any time and they will go into a queue. You won't see all of the questions that are submitted; you'll just see them as they are published.