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ODEP News Brief

March 27, 2015

ODEP Selects 2015 Employment 1st State Ambassadors

As part of its Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP), the Office of Disability Employment Policy recently launched the Employment 1st State Ambassadors Network to highlight exemplary leadership among local and state officials who are pushing high-impact systems-change efforts to promote Employment First principles in their state or local communities. Employment First is a national movement focused on the alignment of policy, practice, and funding to promote competitive, integrated employment as the preferred outcome of publicly-financed supports for individuals with significant disabilities. States participating in ODEP's EFSLMP activities and National Employment First Community of Practice will be able to access State Ambassadors for peer-to-peer mentoring support in the implementation of their Employment First initiatives.

Learn about Employment First and the 2015 State Ambassadors

CDE Publishes "Who I Am" Suite of Materials

Posters and a discussion guide to accompany the Campaign for Disability Employment's "Who I Am" public service announcement are now available. The posters feature nine people with disabilities who demonstrate that they are the sum of their many life roles, which include working in jobs they love, while the discussion guide can be used by employers, affinity groups, educators and others to stimulate conversation about the value and talent we all bring to the workforce.

Download or order "Who I Am" materials
View the "Who I Am" PSA

JAN Releases Just-In-Time Training Module on Accommodations for Brain Injury in the Workplace

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The theme for the 2015 to 2017 Awareness campaign is: Not Alone. The Not Alone campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury in the United States and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families. The campaign also lends itself to outreach within the brain injury community to de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available. The Job Accommodation Network has released "Accommodations for Brain Injury in the Workplace," a JAN Just-In-Time training module, in conjunction with the national awareness campaign. This module will be helpful to employers, employees, family members, and others who are interested in technical assistance on the potential impact of a brain injury on an employee's experience in the workplace. In particular, this module discusses how effective accommodations can be provided to help employees with brain injuries be more successful in the workplace.

Find JAN's Just-In-Time training modules at the Multimedia Training Microsite

Society for Human Resource Management Conference Welcomes U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor is encouraging personnel managers to improve their companies' compliance with wage and hour laws, and open doors and opportunities to workers with disabilities. As part of this effort, DOL Wage and Hour Division Administrator Dr. David Weil discussed strategies for improving employer education and compliance in his address to the Society for Human Resource Management's 2015 Employment Law and Legislative Conference on March 24 in Washington, D.C. In addition, Bob Carr, SHRM's Senior Vice President for Membership, Marketing and External Affairs, announced SHRM's alliance renewal with DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy to promote employment outcomes for people with disabilities. He also presented ODEP's "Who I Am" public service announcement and challenged the conference's 600 attendees to consider what they can do to hire, retain and promote people with disabilities.

Read the DOL Newsletter story
View the "Who I Am" PSA

EEOC to Hold Twitter Chat on Implementation of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act — April 2, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a live Twitter chat on Thursday, April 2, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT. Federal employees and members of the public are encouraged to participate by submitting questions and comments using the hashtag #5084FEDs. The EEOC invites queries and comments regarding the common technological issues people with disabilities experience in the federal workforce, as it relates to Section 508 compliance. EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum will use her personal Twitter handle @chaifeldblum to participate and representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management will also join the conversation. EEOC will conduct the chat using the Office of Federal Operations (OFO) official Twitter handle @EEOC_OFO.

Learn about the Twitter chat

U.S. Access Board Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Updates to ICT Accessibility Requirements

The U.S. Access Board is jointly updating its requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act. The Section 508 Standards apply to electronic and information technology procured by the federal government, including computer hardware and software, websites, multimedia such as video, phone systems, and copiers. The Section 255 Guidelines address access to telecommunications products and services, and apply to manufacturers of telecommunications equipment. On February 18, 2015, the Board released a proposed rule updating the 508 Standards and the 255 Guidelines, which is available for public comment until May 28.

Read about the proposed rule

FCC to Host Community Forum on Accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT) — April 3, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM EDT

Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective (WMDSC) and the Accessibility and Innovation Initiative of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host a "Community Forum on Accessible ICT" on Friday, April 3, 2015. The event will run from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the 8th floor conference room of the U.S. Access Board, located at 1331 F St. NW, Washington, DC 20004. FCC staff, students with disabilities, and other community members will discuss learning management systems, videos, mobile apps, social media, and other technologies that help young adults with disabilities communicate in school, social, and job settings. Panelists and attendees will discuss current problems with ICT accessibility and propose solutions. The meeting site is fully accessible to people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Sign language interpreters, open captioning, and assistive listening devices will be provided on site. Other reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Include a description of the accommodation and your contact information. Make your request as early as possible. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Send an e-mail to: or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

Learn about WMDSC

IRS Releases Series of Tax Videos in American Sign Language

The IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) has released three videos in American Sign Language (ASL) to assist Deaf or Hard of Hearing taxpayers. This series of videos in ASL describes the return preparation process at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. The ASL videos were created in three parts that can be viewed together or as three separate units. The videos are listed below.

ASL: Get Free Tax Help — provides an introduction to the free tax preparation services available to qualified taxpayers
ASL: What to Bring at Tax Time — focuses on the process of completing the Intake/Interview & Quality Review Sheet, and documents necessary for taxpayers to bring to VITA/TCE sites
ASL: Understanding Your Tax Return — provides information on completing the tax form 1040 and goes through the tax preparation process at VITA/TCE sites