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ODEP News Brief. Driving Change - Creating Opportunity

February 3, 2023

Increasing Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities

DOL recently announced that ODEP’s National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network initiative has selected 10 states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee) and the District of Columbia to receive consulting and technical assistance to help them increase Competitive Integrated Employment. NEON provides national provider organizations and states with assistance from nationally recognized experts in aligning policy and funding and implementing promising practices. 

US Conference of Mayors Hosts Mental Health and Employment Working Group Meeting

Through its partnership with the ODEP’s State Exchange on Employment & Disability’s Mental Health Initiative, the U.S. Conference of Mayors hosted a Special Session on Mental Health for a Strong Workforce on Tuesday, January 17 during USCM’s Annual Winter Meeting. The special session, which marked the second convening of the SEED and USCM Mental Health and Employment Working Group, included welcoming remarks from ODEP Assistant Secretary Taryn Williams, a video introduction from Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and three panels of mayors who discussed efforts to address cities’ mental health needs and expanding the mental health care workforce.

Learn How Automated Surveillance Can Create Barriers for Workers with Disabilities

Employers are adopting new surveillance technologies to monitor and rank how employees move and behave on the job. However, these surveillance technologies can result in negative workplace cultures and even potentially cause legal issues for the employers who use them. The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology created a new resource that explains this growing concern.

SEED Hosts Mental Health Matters National Task Force Meeting

Last week, ODEP’s SEED Mental Health Initiative hosted its first Mental Health Matters National Task Force in Charleston, SC. The meeting, co-hosted by the Council of State Governments and National Conference of State Legislators, included participation from more than 35 state policymakers, along with subject matter experts, SEED partners and ODEP representatives. This two-day session featured presentations on a range of topics related to workforce mental health, including enhancing nondiscrimination, targeting underserved communities and addressing the behavioral health care workforce gap. The task force, which includes four subcommittees, will develop a series of policy briefs to help state and local policymakers better support workers and job seekers with mental health conditions.

New LEAD On Newsletter: Creating Inclusive Career Pathways

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act focuses on creating career pathways for job seekers so they can achieve their desired employment goals. Inclusive career pathways comprise programs and approaches designed to support people whose career options have been limited for a variety of reasons. Check out the new issue of the LEAD On Newsletter “Creating Inclusive Career Pathways: Strategies for Success” and explore online tools that provide workforce professionals with resources to help people with disabilities achieve employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Exploring Networks of Financial Support for Provider Transformation 

Join the Employment First Community of Practice on Wednesday, February 15 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET for the webinar “Exploring Networks of Financial Support for Provider Transformation: An Update from California.” The webinar will revisit Bakersfield ARC (last featured in November 2021) and their transformative efforts to end practices involving subminimum wage and closing their sheltered workshop. In addition, learn how Bakersfield ARC took advantage of state funding and grant opportunities to advance their transformation, and hear from California state officials about how those grants were distributed and how such efforts can be replicated with success in other states.