ODEP News Brief. Driving Change - Creating Opportunity

September 23, 2016

EARN Enhances Website to Better Address Employers’ Needs

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) recently announced the relaunch of its website, AskEARN.org. Featuring updated content, an enhanced look and feel, and a streamlined navigational structure, the new site is a centralized gateway to employer-focused tools, resources, and training on disability diversity and inclusion. It also features a new “Primer on Disability Inclusion” for those who may need general guidance and background on the topic. Funded by ODEP under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center, EARN is a free resource that helps all employers — including small businesses, federal contractors, and state and federal government agencies — tap the bottom line benefits of disability diversity and an inclusive workplace culture.

Visit the new AskEARN.org and subscribe to EARN updates

LEAD Center Presents Webinar on Customizing Employment: Success through Partnerships — October 6, 1:00-2:30 PM ET

Join this LEAD Center webinar to gain information about Customizing Employment: Success through Partnerships. This webinar is particularly relevant for people who are involved in implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), directly or as a partner. Participants will gain insight on approaches and strategies for customizing employment by leveraging the resources of the workforce system and its partners (e.g., vocational rehabilitation, education, developmental disabilities, behavioral health, Medicaid, etc.). This webinar will highlight opportunities for collaborations that enable people who experience barriers to employment, including youth and adults with disabilities, to use Customized Employment strategies to achieve employment outcomes. This is the first webinar in the LEAD Center’s Customized Employment webinar series, which will share practices that are being successfully implemented in different parts of the country and will provide resources to assist participants in replicating Customized Employment approaches.

Register for the LEAD Center webinar

Seamless Transition from School to Competitive Integrated Employment — State Examples from Michigan and Utah — EFSLMP Archived Webinar

On September 14, 2016, the Office of Disability Employment Policy Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) hosted a Community of Practice (CoP) webinar on seamless transition from school to competitive integrated employment. The states of Michigan and Utah explained how they developed seamless transition plans for students with disabilities by closely collaborating with many state partners. The archived webinar is now available.

View the archived EFSLMP webinar

Mentoring Dinner Brings Together Business Owners and Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

Last week, a group of aspiring entrepreneurs with disabilities from colleges in and around Washington, D.C., had the opportunity to talk about the nuts and bolts of running a business at a mentoring dinner hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Washington, D.C. (EO-DC). EO-DC organized the event as part of its participation in the ODEP-sponsored Getting Down to Business pilot, a one-year effort under which three small business associations worked to educate their members about strategies for increasing disability inclusion. It was held at Union Kitchen, a shared-space business incubator for food service start-ups in the National Capital Region.

Read more about ODEP’s work with small businesses

#InclusionWorks: Mentoring to and through Employment — September 27, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM ET

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, is hosting a celebration to kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The celebration highlights USDA’s new Disability Mentoring Model as a means to support increased employment and advancement of individuals with disabilities in the federal government and provides the framework for agencies and disability organizations to collaborate and share resources. Hear from top leaders about how the federal government is working to increase hiring, advancement, and retention of people with disabilities, and learn about a new multi-sector disability mentoring model. The event will be held September 27, 11:00 AM-to 12:30 PM ET at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC. Federal employers and employees, disability services providers, mentoring professionals, disability advocates, and members of the public are invited to participate.

Register to attend the USDA event in-person or via live-stream

ACL Announces First-Ever National Resource Center for Self-Advocacy to Empower People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has announced the first-ever grant to establish a National Resource Center for Self-Advocacy (NRCSA) to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) for enhancing their voice on issues important to their well-being and daily life. Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) will lead the effort in partnership with a diverse range of organizations including self-advocacy organizations, disability-related nonprofits, universities, state government agencies, and others. Following a series of regional Self-Advocacy Summits convened five years ago, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which is now part of the Administration on Disabilities within the ACL, funded six technical assistance projects to support self-advocacy and share information. This new national resource center will work during the next five years to continue the mission of developing self-advocacy resources across the U.S.

Read the ACL news release

SSA Seeks Public Input on Strategies for Improving Work Outcomes for Individuals with Musculoskeletal Disabilities

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides financial support for more than 10 million disabled individuals and their dependents. Given the large number of individuals who rely on SSDI and the interest in supporting employment efforts of those with disabilities when possible, policymakers need a strong evidentiary base from which to consider future program improvements and innovations that can strengthen the ability of individuals with disabilities to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking public input on possible demonstration projects designed to improve employment and earnings outcomes for individuals with musculoskeletal impairments. Comments must be received by November 18, 2016.

Submit comments on the SSA RFI

OPM Announces USAJOBS Updates

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) USAJOBS website, OPM announced recent updates that will improve the user experience for federal job applicants. The completion of the yearlong update process will make the website and application process easier to navigate. Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert noted that following these updates, OPM will continue gathering feedback to enhance the website. In addition to job postings, USAJobs.gov offers details about special hiring authorities, contact information for Selective Placement Program Coordinators, and links to information about reasonable accommodations and other resources that support federal employment for individuals with disabilities.

Read the OPM news release

Introduction to the Three A’s: Accessibility, Assistive Technology, and Accommodation — Webinar — September 27, 1:00-2:30 PM ET

This webinar, sponsored by the U.S. Access Board and the U.S. Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC) Accessibility Community of Practice, is oriented to persons who are new to accessibility, accommodations, or assistive technology. Three inter-related topics will be explored: Accessibility, assistive technology, and (reasonable) accommodations. Each will be defined, and then the interrelationships between them will be described. Examples of assistive technologies will be presented, along with the barriers to information access they attempt to alleviate. Finally, a brief overview of Section 508 will be provided, as well as some key resources participants can use for more information on these important topics. The webinar will be held September 27, 1:00-2:30 PM ET.

Learn about the webinar

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