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Initiatives and Accomplishments

Add Us In Grantee Meeting

As part of its Add Us In initiative, ODEP convenes more than 60 grantees in Kansas City, MO for their annual meeting to share information, learn from each other's models, and address ongoing challenges and solutions.

Aging Workers with Disabilities

ODEP issues two briefs summarizing assessments and recommendations from two ODEP- sponsored conferences that gathered experts to discuss the impact of aging on the national workforce and health care systems. The briefs show that providing accommodations to aging workers with disabilities, chronic health problems or reduced work capacity can help employers retain experienced staff who might otherwise leave the workforce prematurely.

"Because" Media Campaign

The ODEP-funded Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE) launches the "Because" campaign — an initiative centered around a public service announcement (PSA) featuring seven people with disabilities speaking about the mentors whose belief in them inspired their success. Throughout the year, versions of the "Because" PSA appear on hundreds of television stations and billboards across the country, and on the "big screen" at the Indianapolis 500. The CDE also distributes hundreds of coordinating posters, discussion guides and promotional materials in English and Spanish. By the end of 2013, the "Because" PSA garners more than $17 million in earned media value.

Child Labor and Disabilities

ODEP works with DOL's Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking, to incorporate a disability component into two ILAB Solicitations for Grant Applications (SGA) to combat child labor among vulnerable populations in Ecuador and Panama. A grantee in Ecuador implements a project that specifically, addresses the intersection between child labor and disabilities.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Agreement

ODEP signs a Memorandum of Agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to advance the employment of people with disabilities and help them achieve financial security.

Continued Funding for Policy Initiatives

ODEP awards a total of $9,721,837 in continued funding to organizations managing consortia that develop models, provide technical assistance and share best practices to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Customized and Self-Employment Services

Based on ODEP's evidence-based research into customized employment for people with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) submits a Policy Directive to revise its Vocational Rehabilitation Program Case Service Reports for its RSA-911 data to include customized and self-employment services.

Data on People with Disabilities

  • ODEP works with DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics to release a report entitled "Persons with a Disability: Barriers to Employment, Types of Assistance, and Other Labor-Related Issues — May 2012." The report indicates that in May 2012, half of all persons with a disability who were not working reported some type of barrier to employment. Lack of education or training, lack of transportation, the need for special features at the job, and a person's own disability were among the barriers reported.
  • ODEP and DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs develop and sponsor the U.S. Census Bureau's Disability Employment Tabulation, which presents in-depth labor force characteristics of individuals with disabilities, with more details on employment status, occupation, education and earnings. The tabulation provides over 1 billion estimates showing the disability status and diversity of the labor force and population for more than 4000 unique geographic entities.

Disability Employment Initiative

DOL awards grants totaling more than $18 million to eight states to provide education, training and employment opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities. The grants are part of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a program jointly funded and administered by ODEP and DOL's Employment and Training Administration. Additionally, representatives of the 23 states that have already received funding through the DEI convene at DOL to share knowledge and best practices about the initiative.

Employment First Education Series

ODEP spearheads an Employment First Policy Education Series to promote federal support for a National Employment First Strategic Policy Framework. Employment First is a framework for systems change centered on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with the most significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life.

Federal Executive Employment of People with Disabilities

The 2012 Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch released by OPM reveals that people with disabilities, including those with targeted disabilities, have been hired in the federal government at a significantly higher percentage in 2012 than in the past. Much of the progress demonstrated in the report is a result of Executive Order 13548, which ODEP has assisted OPM in implementing since its issuance in 2010.

Henry Viscardi Achievement Award

ODEP's work is recognized when Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez receives the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. This new, international award honors people living with disabilities for their work and influence in the global disability community.

Higher Education Recruitment Consortium Alliance

ODEP signs an Alliance agreement with the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium to promote the employment of people with disabilities throughout the higher education community.

HIV/AIDS and Employment Initiative

ODEP formalizes its initiative related to HIV/AIDS and employment. As part of this, it creates an online eWorkgroup through which stakeholders can share resources and effective practices. ODEP also releases the event report from the Institute on HIV/AIDS and Employment held in collaboration with the National Working Positive Coalition in July 2012, following the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012). ODEP develops, in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as other partners and stakeholders, the content for a HIV/AIDS and Employment Training for Service Providers.

Individualized Learning Plan Toolkit

ODEP releases the "Kick Start Your ILP" toolkit. The toolkit includes an explanation of Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs), a year by year checklist of steps to follow, and tips to pull it all together.

Japanese and U.S. Disability Employment Policies

Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez serves on a panel with Japanese and American disability employment experts to discuss disability law and policy challenges and effective strategies in the two countries. Later in the year, the Japanese government passes the Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination, a major international milestone in the disability arena.

LEAD Center Website

The LEAD Center, a national training and technical assistance center funded by ODEP, launches its national website. The centralized site features the latest LEAD Center news and initiatives, a comprehensive resource center, a national calendar of events and trainings, and information on the LEAD Center's free webinar series to promote public policy, employment and economic advancement outcomes for all people across the spectrum of disability.

Manufacturing Sector Summit Proceedings Report

ODEP releases the proceedings report from its 2012 Manufacturing Sector Summit: "Keeping America Competitive: Addressing the Skills Gap in Manufacturing." The summit was presented by ODEP and DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and sponsored by ODEP's Alliance partner, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The report details challenges and solutions discussed at the event, including the recruitment of people with disabilities as a way to close the manufacturing skills gap.

National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Alliance Agreement

ODEP signs an Alliance agreement with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to support the agencies' common goal of improving the workforce system for individuals with disabilities.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2013

ODEP leads another successful NDEAM observance, with employers and advocacy organizations across the nation participating through a range of activities. The 2013 theme, "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task," reflects the reality that people with disabilities have the education, training, experience and desire to be successful in the workplace. To assist organizations in their planning, ODEP creates 31 Things You Can Do, a calendar of ideas for celebrating NDEAM in the workplace and community.

National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute Meeting

ODEP welcomes members of the National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute to discuss the agency's work to advance the employment of people with disabilities. Led by San Diego State University research professor Dr. Frederic Schroeder, the Institute's members include nearly 30 vocational rehabilitation leaders from 14 states and territories.

National Working Positive Coalition Alliance

ODEP signs an Alliance agreement with the National Working Positive Coalition (NWPC) to focus on reducing stigma and discrimination, cultivating training and employment opportunities, and improving financial well-being for people living with HIV/AIDS.

ODEP Accomplishments 2009 — 2012

ODEP releases the report "ODEP Accomplishments 2009 — 2012," which highlights four years of efforts to ensure that people with disabilities are fully included in DOL's mission of improving job opportunities for America's workers.

Online Dialogues on Disability Employment Issues

ODEP leverages cutting-edge crowdsourcing technology to host a series of national online dialogues throughout the year.

  • National Online Dialogue for Employers

ODEP hosts a multi-day national online dialogue that gathers insight and opinions from employers, human resource and diversity and inclusion professionals, and other stakeholders about the services they feel they need to better facilitate the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities.

  • National Online Dialogue on Technology Accessibility for People with Intellectual Disabilities

In partnership with the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), ODEP's Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) hosts an online dialogue on improving the accessibility of online tools for workers with intellectual disabilities. The input gathered informs the development of a report entitled The ASAN — PEAT National Online Dialogue: Participation Metrics, which helps frame efforts to improve the accessibility of workplace technology going forward.

  • National Online Dialogue on Youth in Transition

ODEP, in collaboration with the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration, hosts an online dialogue to examine the impact of existing federal regulations on the transition from school to work for youth with disabilities. Based on the input gathered, a report entitled Federal Partners in Transition National Online Dialogue: Participation Metrics is developed to summarize the dialogue's results and inform a plan for improving transition results for youth with disabilities by 2020.

Section 503/VEVRAA Updates

ODEP plays an instrumental role in developing and enacting new rules designed to strengthen federal contractors' responsibilities to hire, retain and advance qualified people with disabilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.These laws require federal contractors and subcontractors to affirmatively recruit, hire, train and promote qualified people with disabilities and protected veterans, respectively.

Soft Skills DVD

ODEP releases its Soft Skills video series in DVD format, which includes video vignettes and a discussion guide that can be used to promote dialogue about the situations depicted in the videos. The videos are based on the "Skills to Pay the Bills " curriculum, which teaches workforce readiness skill to youth, including youth with disabilities.

Social Media Accessibility

ODEP's ePolicyWorks team partners with the General Services Administration to co-lead the Federal Social Media Community of Practice's Social Media Accessibility Working Group. As part of this cross-government initiative, ODEP spearheads the development of a Social Media Accessibility Toolkit of recommended, baseline strategies to improve the accessibility of government social media.

Trauma-Informed Approaches Report

ODEP contributes to "Trauma-informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives: Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma — A Working Document /Second Report." The report documents the projects, programs and initiatives of more than three dozen federal agencies, departments and offices working on these issues.

"What's Your Connection?" Initiative

Disability.gov, which is managed by ODEP in collaboration with 21 federal partners, launches "What's Your Connection" to mark the website's 10th anniversary. Members of the public are invited to submit photos illustrating how disability affects them, whether through personal experience or that of a family member. Among the contributors are actor John Hawkes and renowned doctor of animal sciences Temple Grandin.

Workforce Recruitment Program

Private businesses and federal agencies nationwide seeking qualified temporary and permanent job candidates continue to leverage the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a free database of postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities, including veterans, who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace.

Youth Service Professionals Training

In collaboration with the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD-Youth), ODEP provides free professional development training for partnering organizations in Baltimore, Los Angeles and New York State. These sites receive professional development and technical assistance to strengthen youth service professionals' competencies for working with youth, including those with disabilities.