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ODEP News Brief

November 20, 2015

ADA 25 Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit Welcomes Secretary Perez

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez delivered the keynote address on November 16 at the ADA 25 Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit in Chicago to a group of national and local leaders. Perez discussed the progress that has been made in disability inclusion since the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but added that employment remains the “unfinished business,” and more work must be done to close the employment gap between Americans with and without disabilities. Perez highlighted the work of the Office of Disability Employment Policy and noted how the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act has altered the landscape for young people with disabilities who are entering the workforce.

Read the DOL Newsletter story

Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheehy Delivers Keynote Address at Annual Employment Awards in Maryland

On November 12, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy Jennifer Sheehy kicked off the 8th Annual Employment Awards in Linthicum, MD. Sponsored by the association Maryland Works, the event celebrated the statewide accomplishments of people with disabilities in employment, economic advancement, and business ownership. Sheehy specifically recognized Maryland’s contributions to the Employment First movement and discussed recent federal efforts to promote integrated employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities.

Read the DOL Newsletter story
Learn more about the Maryland Works event

ODEP Launches Online Tool for Small Businesses and Business Associations

While smart employers know they should ensure their workplace is inclusive of the skills and talents of people with disabilities, not all businesses — particularly small ones — know where to start. To help, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has created “Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success”. The free, online toolkit provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities. It also describes approaches business associations — including but not limited to local chambers of commerce and business leadership networks — can use to educate their members on the issue and raise awareness in their communities. Offered as a service of the ODEP-funded website, the “Steps to Success” were developed based on information gleaned from ODEP's Add Us In initiative, which has worked to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. Day Al-Mohamed, senior policy adviser at ODEP and manager of Add Us In, penned a blog discussing the impact that the toolkit can have on disability inclusion in small businesses.

Visit “Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success”
Read the “Steps to Success” blog

“Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success” Webinar — December 8, 2015, 2:00-3:30 PM EST

The “Small Business & Disability Employment: Steps to Success” webinar will address the steps small businesses can take based on strategies gleaned from the Office of Disability Employment Policy's five-year Add Us In grant program, through which eight consortia around the country piloted models for increasing the capacity of small businesses to employ people with disabilities. Participants will hear from small businesses about their experiences, as well as business membership associations that have taken steps to educate their members about the value disability diversity adds to their workplaces and communities. A new online resource developed to help small businesses and business associations take action around the issue will also be demonstrated. The webinar, to be held December 8, 2015, 2:00-3:30 PM EST, is free, but registration is required.

Register for the webinar

“The Invitation that Moved Me” — Blog

Tiffany Jolliff, program specialist in the Office of Disability Employment Policy, posted a blog, titled “The Invitation that Moved Me”, on November 16 about her experiences with traveling on the Washington, DC, Metro subway system, and the effect that accessible public transportation has had on her life. She also highlighted a national online dialogue called “Breaking Down Employment Barriers with Accessible Transportation Innovation” that invites the public to discuss policy solutions to mobility challenges faced by riders with disabilities. “It’s important to be employed, but if you can’t get to work, then having the job means nothing,” noted Jolliff. “I am fortunate to work in a city where transportation abounds, and for an organization that promotes my ability to have access to it.”

Read Tiffany Jolliff’s blog
Participate in the national online dialogue

International Day of Persons with Disabilities — December 3, 2015

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), to be observed on December 3, 2015, has been commemorated since 1992 to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development. The IDPD works to promote action to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all. The theme for 2015 is “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities”. Governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector are encouraged to partner with organizations of persons with disabilities to arrange events and activities to commemorate the Day.

Learn about the IDPD

Business Associations Invited to Apply for Disability Inclusion Pilot — Deadline December 7, 2015

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is currently seeking applicants for a new program called “Getting Down to Business: A Pilot to Strengthen Small Businesses Through Disability Inclusion”. Through the pilot, a group of small business associations will receive customized assistance to help develop powerful disability inclusion initiatives. Selected participants will work over a one-year period with an ODEP-funded technical assistance team to implement strategies to help their member businesses create more disability-inclusive workplaces. To apply, organizations must be a business membership association with a significant percentage of members that are small businesses. Applications will be accepted between now and December 7, 2015.

Learn more and download the “Getting Down to Business Pilot” application

JAN Releases Just-in-Time Training Module on “Bridging the Gap Across Transition”

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released a new, 18 minute, Just-in-Time training module entitled “Bridging the Gap Across Transition”. The training module is designed to provide information for youth about their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as to help young people navigate their way from the school system to post-secondary education, training, or the world of work. Topics discussed include self-advocacy, disability disclosure, sufficient medical documentation, and types of accommodations that might be needed. An accessible transcript of the presentation is available to download from the site.

View the Just-in-Time module

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has issued its November 13 newsletter, featuring information on veterans with disabilities, a workplace inclusion summit, upcoming online events, and more. EARN is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities, which is funded by ODEP under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center.

Read the EARN newsletter

Job Accommodation Network Archived Webcast Features ODEP Technical Assistance Centers

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Accommodation and Compliance Webcast on "ODEP Technical Assistance Centers: Making Workplaces More Inclusive of People with Disabilities" is now available in the JAN Webcast archive. This presentation is an overview of the resources provided by three of the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s technical assistance centers: the Employer TA Center, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT), and the LEAD Center. The transcript of the Webcast along with the presentation PowerPoint are available for download.

Visit the JAN Webcast archive

ACL Seeks Comments on Independent Living Proposed Rule — Deadline January 15, 2016

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has published a proposed rule for Independent Living (IL) programs in the Federal Register. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) is now open for public comment through the Federal Register and This proposed rule consolidates and streamlines prior regulations and provides details regarding new requirements included in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Signed into law in July 2014, WIOA moved IL programs from the U.S. Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, creating the Independent Living Administration within ACL. WIOA also made changes to IL programs in areas including core services and development of state plans for independent living. In developing this NPRM, ACL paid close attention to the text of the bill passed by Congress and to feedback on the WIOA transition provided by stakeholders over the past year. ACL is seeking comments from the public about the NPRM. Comments must be submitted by January 15, 2016 through, a fully-accessible central hub for information on the development of federal regulations.

Read the NPRM in the Federal Register
Read a step-by-step guide to submitting comments online

“IDEAs that Work”: Preparing Children and Youth with Disabilities for Success

As part of its celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education has launched a new website entitled “IDEAs that Work”. As school systems work to implement rigorous academic standards and prepare diverse learners for success beyond graduation, this website provides additional support for teachers and families of students with disabilities and struggling learners. The “IDEAs that Work” website is designed to connect teachers and families with resources to assist them in supporting the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students as they become college and career ready.

Visit the “IDEAs that Work” website