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Archive for August, 2015

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 29, 2015)

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

White House Summit on Worker Voice Seeks Nominations

On October 7, 2015, at the White House Summit on Worker Voice, the White House and the Department of Labor will bring together workers, labor leaders, advocates, forward-leaning employers, Members of Congress, state and local officials and others to highlight the relationship between worker voice and a thriving middle class. The White House is seeking nominations of workers, employers, and organizers from across the country who are making a difference for worker voice in their communities to attend the Summit. Leading up to the Summit, stories are being collected from the public that highlight the power of worker voice in the community.

Job Accommodation Network Publishes “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” Update for 2015

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has updated its “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” publication for 2015. It reports the results of a JAN study, ongoing since 2004, that shows that the benefits employers receive from making workplace accommodations far outweigh the low cost. Employers reported that providing accommodations resulted in such benefits as retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers’ compensation and training costs, and improving company diversity. These benefits were obtained with little investment. The employers in the study reported that a high percentage (58%) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500.

“PEAT Talks” to Highlight Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility – September 17, 2:00-2:30 PM ET

The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) will present the September edition of its virtual speaker series, “PEAT Talks,” on Thursday, September 17 from 2:00-2:30 PM ET. “PEAT Talks” showcases various organizations and individuals whose work and innovations are advancing accessible technology in the workplace. Speakers for September 17 include Sarah Bourne, Director of IT Accessibility for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Jeff Kline, Program Director of Statewide Electronic and Information Resources for the Texas Department of Information Resources; and Jay Wyant, Chief Information Accessibility Officer for the state of Minnesota. They will discuss Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA), and how this new approach can help achieve higher levels of accessibility in vendor-provided products and services.

LEAD Center Releases Policy Update – Employment, Health Care and Disability

The LEAD Center’s Policy Update – Employment, Health Care and Disability provides policymakers, disability service professionals, individuals with disabilities and their families with information about relevant policy developments regarding Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and related topics, with a focus on improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The latest update features stories on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) response to state transition plans, the July edition of the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) State Medicaid Integration Tracker, plans for Alaska to expand Medicaid and more.

Federal Government Nears Goal of Hiring 100,000 People with Disabilities

On August 17, Michael Murray, the Office of Personnel Management’s special adviser on disability programs, visited Federal News Radio to discuss the federal government’s progress towards its goal, laid out in a 2010 executive order, of hiring 100,000 new employees with disabilities over a five-year period. As Murray reports, great strides have been made. “We’ll get really close, if not make it,” he said.

FCC Plans Open Source Accessibility Platform

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will offer an open source video access platform that will enable Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have a speech disability to communicate directly with federal agencies and businesses in American Sign Language (ASL). The platform will provide open source applications for mobile and desktop operating systems which – along with direct video calling – will allow for text and high-quality voice communications. In addition, the FCC will provide applications that relay service users can download on their smartphones or desktops in order to communicate directly with agency representatives. The Commission plans to roll out a beta version later this year with final release scheduled for spring of 2016.

Federal Transit Authority’s ADA Notice: Petition for Rulemaking on Paratransit Fares (Aug. 21, 2015)

Friday, August 21st, 2015

The U.S. Department of Transportation seeks public comments on a petition for rulemaking from Access Services concerning the Department’s regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to the method of determining the fare for a trip charged to an ADA paratransit eligible user. The petition asks the Department to revise its regulation to allow for a “coordinated” or two-tier fare structure. The current regulation provides that the fare shall not exceed twice the fare that would be charged to an individual paying full fare for a similar trip on the fixed route system.

To view the Federal Register notice visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/08/20/2015-20467/transportation-for-individuals-with-disabilities-service-criteria-for-complementary-paratransit.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 21, 2015)

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Want to Help Increase Disability Inclusion in the Workforce? Become a WRP Recruiter!

Attention federal employees! The Workforce Recruitment Program is currently seeking recruiters! WRP recruiters conduct interviews with students and recent graduates with disabilities nationwide in order to populate the WRP database, which federal agencies can then access to hire interns as well as permanent employees. Since 1995, more than 6,000 individuals have been hired through the WRP, many of them going on to become full-time federal employees. As such, it is a key tool for increasing the inclusion of people with disabilities in the federal workforce.

“Who I Am” Public Service Announcement Continues to Air Nationwide

The “Who I Am” public service announcement, produced by the ODEP-funded Campaign for Disability Employment, has topped 50,000 airings on 488 television stations and cable outlets nationwide. “Who I Am” features nine real people with disabilities. Rather than be defined by disability, these individuals are the sum of their many life roles, which includes working in jobs they love. The PSA is available to the public on an accessible DVD that features a “talking menu” and in multiple formats on the web. Also available are a discussion guide and posters featuring the individuals in the PSA.

Job Accommodation Network Publishes New Blog

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) blog post “Health Care Workers with Motor Impairments – Part 2” is the last segment of a two-part feature on accommodations for healthcare workers with motor impairments. JAN Lead Consultant Elisabeth Simpson, MS., CRC, and Dr. Donna Carol Maheady, the founder of the non-profit resource network Exceptional Nurse, answer questions and offer resources and information on the topic. The first installment of the blog was posted on July 1 and is available on the JAN site.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has issued its August 19 newsletter, featuring information on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ new Section 503 checklist, the availability of National Disability Employment Awareness Month posters, upcoming webinars, 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.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ 50th Anniversary Approaches

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will commemorate its 50th anniversary next month. The agency was established in 1965 through the signing of Executive Order 11246 by President Lyndon Johnson. Save the date of September 24 to participate in OFCCP’s celebration, “Collective Voices of Change: The Journey of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.”

Office of Disability Employment Policy: Business Sense (Aug. 18, 2015)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Where Internships and Inclusion Intersect

Across the nation, public and private employers of all sizes are reaping the benefits of internships — temporary positions that deliver practical, on-the-job training to “beginners” in a particular profession. In addition to helping develop the work experience, skills and career goals of America’s future workforce, internships offer employers direct access to a pool of motivated individuals who bring fresh thinking and innovation to their workplaces. What’s more, they offer employers a pipeline of potential candidates to consider for permanent positions.

Of course, capitalizing on the value of workplace interns means designing and implementing an effective internship program, whether small or large in scope. And central to that is the pillar of inclusion, and ensuring that your internship program is accessible for all youth, including youth with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy recently released a resource for employers that tackles this very topic. Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-to Guide for Employers addresses the various things employers should consider when establishing internship programs to ensure they are open to all qualified candidates. Featuring practical information and resources, the guide explores ways to promote inclusion in your business, organization or agency. For example, it notes how a simple and no-cost strategy such as having flexible work schedules allows more students and recent graduates of all backgrounds to participate. It also details how managing workplace accommodations for interns with disabilities increases their productivity, to the benefit of both parties.

Best of all, employers can adapt the guide’s recommendations to meet the goals of their specific organization, regardless of size or industry. In true “how-to” fashion, it can help you play an important role in the lives of young people with disabilities just starting out on their career journey by ensuring that inclusion is a cornerstone of your internship endeavors.

Employers interested in recruiting interns with disabilities can make use of the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a free recruitment and referral program that connects employers both large and small with highly qualified college students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking summer internships or permanent jobs.

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Broadcast (Aug. 17, 2015)

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Here’s your chance to inform policy recommendations now being developed:

Establishing Work and Full Participation as Accountable Health Outcomes Online Dialogue

Should doctors, employers or insurers be held accountable for jobs lost due to health problems?

ODEP is hosting the second in a three-part series of important online dialogues, Establishing Work and Full Participation as Accountable Health Outcomes, to gather input on policy recommendations aimed at reducing the number of working adults who lose their jobs after their ability to work has been disrupted by a health condition. Through the use of a crowdsourcing tool, interested stakeholders can provide feedback on these six draft policy recommendations.

Participation is easy. Simply review the six policy recommendations and register to provide your feedback.

Visit http://WorkAsHealthOutcome.ePolicyWorks.org/ before the dialogue closes this Friday, August 21st. If you have any questions, please contact ePolicyWorks@dol.gov.

Looking forward to your participation,

Jennifer Sheehy
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy

OFCCP Posts a New Infographic to Help Veterans Determine Their Status Under VEVRAA (Aug. 14, 2015)

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

OFCCP, in response to requests from the veteran community, developed the new “Am I a Protected Veteran?” infographic. Recent changes to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) regulations require contractors to invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as protected veterans at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process. The new infographic is designed to help veterans quickly and easily navigate the “protected veteran” categories to determine their eligibility for coverage under VEVRAA.

The infographic is available for download on OFCCP’s Web site at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 15, 2015)

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

WIOA Advisory Committee Issues Draft Interim Report

At its August 10 meeting, the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities concurred with finalizing its draft Interim Report and its preliminary recommendations. The purpose of this draft Interim Report is to summarize the Committee’s progress, along with interim findings and conclusions as well as preliminary recommendations. Formed as a key provision of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Committee is exploring the use and oversight of 14(c) certificates allowed under the Fair Labor Standards Act, along with ways to increase competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. The Interim Report is due to be submitted to the Secretary of Labor and Congress by September 15, 2015. The next meeting of the Advisory Committee is tentatively scheduled for October 14-15, 2015.

OFCCP Posts New Section 503 Checklist Tool

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has released a new interactive tool to help federal contractors assess their compliance with the affirmative action program (AAP) requirements of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Checklist for Compliance with Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was developed by OFCCP in coordination with ODEP. While contractors are not required to use it (and using it doesn’t ensure compliance), doing so may prove beneficial in enhancing awareness of AAP obligations and flagging potential problem areas in need of correction.

‘Who I Am’ PSA Airs at Brickyard 400

The Campaign for Disability Employment’s (CDE) “Who I Am” public service announcement (PSA) was on full display at last month’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR event in Indianapolis. During the three-day auto race, the PSA aired 90 times to a crowd of 650,000 attendees. “Who I Am” is one of three PSAs produced by the CDE, which is a public education campaign funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy.

PEAT Issues August Newsletter and Infographic on E-Recruiting Accessibility

The inaugural issue of the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology’s (PEAT) e-newsletter was published this week, providing information on a range of topics — from upcoming PEAT Talks webinars, to the updated look and navigation of PEATworks.org. Also featured was a new infographic summarizing data PEAT has gathered related to the accessibility of online job applications and other e-recruiting tools. The data point to critical accessibility problems with typical e-recruiting practices — issues that may exclude one out of every five job candidates from consideration.

Archived Webinar on Women and the ADA Now Available

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau (WB) hosted a webinar on women and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), highlighting issues such as the increased risk for abuse faced by women with disabilities, as well as workplace accommodations and use of short-term disability for pregnancy. Anyone who missed the webinar can now access the archived version in a recent blog post by Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, the regional administrator for WB Region IX (Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii and Nevada).

DOJ Issues Guidance on Service Dogs

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division recently issued a new resource that businesses can use to ensure they are providing equal access to both employees and customers who may use service animals. Frequently Asked Questions About Service Animals and the ADA defines what constitutes a service animal and the many ways they assist people with a variety of disabilities. It also outlines general rules related to service animals governing a wide range of settings, including restaurants and hotels.

Disability Represented at Annual EXCEL Conference

Disability was one of the many topics discussed at this week’s EXamining Conflicts in Employment Laws (EXCEL) conference sponsored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Training Institute. Held annually, this conference attracts federal as well as private-sector equal employment opportunity managers, supervisors, practitioners, human resource professionals, attorneys and alternative dispute resolution specialists. Two of ODEP’s technical assistance centers — the Job Accommodation Network and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network — participated as exhibitors and/or presenters.

OFCCP Posts New Section 503 Checklist Tool (August 2015)

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

OFCCP has posted a new interactive tool that contractors may find useful. The Checklist for Compliance with Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was developed by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, in coordination with OFCCP. The Checklist is designed to help contractors assess their compliance with the affirmative action program (AAP) requirements of Section 503 by answering a series of “yes/no” questions about their company’s practices and policies.

Contractors are not required to use the Checklist, and using the Checklist does not ensure compliance with the Section 503 regulations. However, using the Checklist may help a contractor enhance its awareness of its AAP obligations and alert it to potential compliance problems that may need correction.

The Checklist for Compliance with Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/ChecklistforCompliancewithSection503_JRF_QA_508c.pdf on OFCCP’s Contractor Assessment Tools and Trackers Web page.

For more information, go do www.dol.gov/ofccp.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 7, 2015)

Friday, August 7th, 2015

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Request for Comments on WIOA Unified and Combined State Plan Requirements

The Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development are soliciting comments concerning a collection of data that will be used for unified and combined state plans under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The WIOA Unified and Combined State Plan Requirements is a consolidated information collection that would implement sections 102 and 103 of WIOA (P.L. 113-128). The comment period is open for 60 days and closes on October 5, 2015. Any comments not received through the processes outlined in the Federal Register will not be considered by the departments.

The Impact of Web-Based Game Play on Soft Skills Education

The Office of Disability Employment Policy has published a fact sheet on “The Impact of Web-Based Game Play on Soft Skills Education.” As soft skills become more important to employers, it is necessary to include soft skills acquisition as an educational priority for youth to ensure greater preparedness for the workplace. This brief provides an overview of the existing research to date on educational games for youth, soft skills and educational games, and research on educational games for youth with disabilities.

ODEP Releases Report on Registered Apprenticeship Programs for People with Disabilities

A new report titled “Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Improving the Pipeline for People with Disabilities” provides the findings of a recent study conducted for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) discussing strategies and recommendations for including people with disabilities in apprenticeship programs. A Training and Employment Notice (TEN), “Expanding Registered Apprenticeships and Pre-Apprenticeships to Create a Pathway to Good Middle Class Jobs for Youth and Adults with Disabilities,” was issued by the Employment and Training Administration and ODEP to distribute the report.

CNCS and ODEP Issue “Dear Colleague” Letter on Inclusive Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter, “Inclusive Service as a Pathway to Employment 25 Years after the Americans with Disabilities Act,” to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA and its legacy of equal opportunity and inclusion. Two resources were highlighted. ODEP’s Youth Technical Assistance Center, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, released “Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning,” a guide for youth service professionals and others interested in facilitating youth engagement in volunteer activities. The second resource, the “Toolkit for AmeriCorps Alumni with Disabilities Transitioning to Employment,” developed by CNCS is a collection of resources regarding pre-employment and employment issues for people with disabilities, special programs, government services, and mentorship and networking opportunities.

Building a Trauma-Informed Nation: Moving the Conversation into Action

The Women and Trauma Federal Partners’ Committee will be holding a national event, “Building a Trauma-Informed Nation: Moving the Conversation into Action,” on September 29-30, 2015. This will be the third major event sponsored by the Women and Trauma Federal Partners’ Committee, and is designed to expand the conversation about trauma-informed approaches and create a national action agenda. This meeting will spotlight effective implementation of trauma-informed approaches in four major areas: education, health care, the justice system, and communities and congregations. Within each of these areas, workplace and employment approaches will be addressed. The main event will be held in Washington, DC at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Cesar Chavez Auditorium. Those who cannot attend can join virtually from amplifier sites across the country. Contact Mary Blake, co-chair, Women and Trauma Federal Partners’ Committee at mary.blake@samhsa.hhs.gov for further information.

Want to Help Increase Disability Inclusion in the Workforce? Become a WRP Recruiter!

Attention federal employees! The Workforce Recruitment Program is currently seeking recruiters! WRP recruiters conduct interviews with students and recent graduates with disabilities nationwide in order to populate the WRP database, which federal agencies can then access to hire interns as well as permanent employees. Since 1995, more than 6,000 individuals have participated in the WRP, many of them going on to become full-time federal employees. As such, it is a key tool for increasing the inclusion of people with disabilities in the federal workforce.

LEAD Center Publishes Policy Update – Employment, Health Care and Disability

The LEAD Center’s Policy Update – Employment, Health Care and Disability provides policymakers, disability service professionals, individuals with disabilities and their families with information about relevant policy developments regarding Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and related topics, with a focus on improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The latest update features stories on a new U.S. Department of Labor guide for Section 188 compliance for American Jobs Centers, HCBS waiver changes in Washington State, Tennessee and Indiana, the recent WIOA Advisory Committee meeting and more.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) issued a special “ADA25″ issue of its newsletter this week, featuring information on events held as part of the anniversary, DOL’s “ADA at Work” worker stories project and a list of “25 for ADA25 for Employers” resulting from the White House Summit on Disability Employment held earlier this year. 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.

Workers with Disabilities Can Reach a Secure Financial Future

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Phyllis C. Borzi, assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits security, penned a DOL blog titled “Workers with Disabilities Can Reach a Secure Financial Future.” She discussed the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s (EBSA) Saving Matters Campaign, which is designed to provide workers with the information and tools they need to save for a secure retirement. “Many workers enter the workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their jobs at a high level but lack understanding of how to manage their finances. Both EBSA and ODEP want to help people with disabilities get the information they need to take charge of their finances and make informed choices,” said Borzi.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to Host Disability Hiring Event

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will host a Disability Hiring event for Schedule A applicants and those candidates who have a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more. SEC is seeking talented individuals for various positions at SEC Headquarters in Washington, DC. Applications will be received until 11:59 PM EDT August 10, 2015. Individuals found best qualified for the position(s) will be invited to interview with management officials at SEC Headquarters on September 1, 2015.

Capital Investment Program: New Starts, Small Starts and Core Capacity Improvements (Aug. 2015)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

FTA has published a notice in the Federal Register today announcing the availability of our Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program Final Interim Policy Guidance. The Final Interim Policy Guidance describes how FTA will run the CIG program through approximately FY16 until we complete updates to the Major Capital Investment Projects Final Rule to fully implement MAP-21. The Final Interim Policy Guidance, as well as a document summarizing and responding to the thoughtful comments received on the proposed interim policy guidance, can be found on the FTA website at http://www.fta.dot.gov/12304.html.

FTA has also posted to the website today updated New and Small Starts reporting instructions, templates, and standard cost category worksheets that explain the information that project sponsors must provide to FTA when they wish for their project to be evaluated and rated. Projects must be evaluated and rated when they seek to move from one phase of the CIG process to another, or when a project sponsor wishes for the CIG project to be considered as a candidate for a funding recommendation in the upcoming President’s budget. Core Capacity reporting instruction, templates, and standard cost category worksheets will be posted to the FTA website on Friday August 7th. Please contact the FTA Office of Planning and Environment with any questions at 202-366-4033.