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Archive for August, 2016

FTA Offers Technical Assistance (Aug. 31, 2016)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Are you working on a federally funded transit project and interested in supporting development that helps communities grow their economies, achieve social equity goals, and improve quality of life? If so, consider applying for help from national experts as part of FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development technical assistance initiative. Our technical assistance, provided through a partnership with Smart Growth America (SGA), provides new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development. Local or regional governments with an active federally funded transit project (such as New Starts, Small Starts, or TIGER) are eligible to apply.

To learn more about this opportunity and the application process, join SGA for an informational webinar at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, September 7 for an overview of the application process and tips for successful applications.. This online event is free, but registration is required.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 26, 2016)

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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

ODEP Adds New Policies in Practice Profiles to Its Website
ODEP has added five new faces to the Policies in Practice series on its website. These profiles highlight real people with disabilities and their successes in the workplace. Visit ODEP’s website to learn about Michael Adams, Accounting Assistant; Sam Joehl, Principal Technical Consultant; Meghan Jones, Office Clerk; Elizabeth Kumar, Peer Mentor; and Eric Wright, Lead Technologist. While you are there, read about all of the folks featured as examples of ODEP’s policies in everyday practice.

What’s in a Routine? — JAN Blog
In an August 19 post on the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) blog site, Melanie Whetzel, Lead Consultant on the Cognitive/Neurological Team, provided a comprehensive overview of ways that establishing a daily routine can be helpful to everyone, including people with cognitive or neurological disabilities. She offered tips for establishing a routine at work, as well as examples of people who have successfully used routines as a job accommodation. “With a routine we master tasks by becoming better and quicker,” noted Whetzel. “And as we accomplish things, we move closer and closer to our goals.”

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its August 19 newsletter, featuring information on accommodations for educators with disabilities, the 2016 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award, upcoming web events, and more.

VA Seeks Comments on VEPFS Grant Program Interim Final Rule
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is establishing a Veterans Employment Pay for Success (VEPFS) program to award grants to eligible entities to fund projects that are successful in accomplishing employment rehabilitation for Veterans with service-connected disabilities. VA will award grants on the basis of an eligible entity’s proposed use of a Pay for Success (PFS) strategy to achieve goals. The VA has published an interim final rule establishing regulations for awarding a VEPFS grant, including the general process for awarding the grant, criteria and parameters for evaluating grant applications, priorities related to the award of a grant, and general requirements and guidance for administering a VEPFS grant program. Comments on the rule must be received on or before October 11, 2016.

Access Board to Hold an Open Q&A Webinar — September 1, 2:30 PM ET
The Access Board will hold a session in its regular webinar series that provides an opportunity to ask questions on any topic related to the Board’s work and activities. Questions are welcome on the Board’s accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, and other topics related to the Board’s work. Accessibility specialists will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session. Speakers include Bill Botten, Accessibility Specialist, and Marsha Mazz, Director, both of the Access Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services.

Apply Now for Technical Assistance for Transit-Oriented Development (Aug. 23, 2016)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Are you working on a federally funded transit project and interested in supporting development that helps communities grow their economies, achieve social equity goals, and improve quality of life? If so, consider applying for help from national experts as part of FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development technical assistance initiative. Our technical assistance, provided through a partnership with Smart Growth America (SGA), provides new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development. Local or regional governments with an active federally funded transit project (such as New Starts, Small Starts, or TIGER) are eligible to apply.

To learn more about this opportunity and the application process, join SGA for an informational webinar at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, September 7 for an overview of the application process and tips for successful applications.. This online event is free, but registration is required.

For more information, go to https://todresources.org/.

Office of Disability Employment Policy: Business $ense (Aug. 23, 2016)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Small Business Spotlight: Avery Hall Insurance Company

Avery Hall Insurance — an insurance group with offices in Eastern Maryland and Delaware — is on a mission to provide its customers and the companies it represents with the highest standard of service, professionalism and dedication. Key to delivering on that mission is the people it hires, which includes people of all abilities.

For many businesses, particularly small ones, it takes a great first experience hiring a person with a disability to help launch a disability inclusive work environment. That was certainly the case at Avery Hall, which was won over by the skills and talents of a young intern with a disability named Caitlyn.

The firm recruited Caitlyn through its local Business Leadership Network (BLN) chapter, the Eastern Shore Business Leadership Network (ESBLN), which contacted Avery Hall about a possible intern placement. While Avery Hall’s hiring managers had some initial trepidations about the prospect of hiring an intern with a disability, due merely to their lack of experience and exposure, their concerns were allayed by ESBLN, which clearly explained how Caitlyn’s skills matched the company’s needs.

The next step was the interview. Caitlyn, who uses a walker, expressed her eagerness to learn and her excitement about the internship opportunity. She impressed Avery Hall’s hiring manager with her confidence, qualifications and ambition, and she was quickly offered the job. Caitlyn joined Avery Hall three days a week for half-day shifts after her morning at school. She commuted by bus and proved herself to be a loyal and productive worker, eager to learn any task her colleagues were willing to teach her. Caitlyn began her internship learning basic computer processing, and her skills grew from there. Avery Hall ultimately offered her a part-time position, and today she continues to tackle any task that comes her way.

Since hiring Caitlyn, Avery Hall has also hired another full-time employee with a disability named Lauren. Because Lauren uses a wheelchair, the company installed a lift to allow barrier-free access to its second floor, which enables both Lauren and Caitlyn to participate in company luncheons and parties. Lauren has obtained her Property & Casualty insurance license, and is moving through the channels at the company very quickly.
“They say that employers who offer internships for people with disabilities are more likely to hire a person with a disability than those who do not. That’s certainly been the case at our company, where one great intern served as a gateway to a disability-inclusive workplace culture,” said Avery Hall’s Assistant Vice President Angie Strouth.

For more information on internships and other leading practices, access Small Business and Disability Employment: Steps to Success, which provides practical guidance for small businesses on how to recruit and retain qualified people with disabilities.

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in a periodic series of “Business Sense” issues showcasing the experiences of actual small businesses that are working to foster a disability-inclusive workplace culture. If you know of additional small businesses we should feature here, please tell us about them by contacting the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Aug. 19, 2016)

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

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

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will be open to the public and take place by webinar on August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET. On August 29, the Committee will meet to confirm consensus on the Final Report. Members of the public wishing to participate in the webinar must register in advance of the meeting, by August 19, 2016.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Grant Opportunities for University-Based Labor Research and Evaluation
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the availability of approximately $2 million in grants intended to support university-based research of labor policies and issues. DOL’s Chief Evaluation Office will administer a total of up to 10 Labor Research and Evaluation grants, ranging from $100,000 to $250,000, to support evaluation and research on the following suggested topics: employee benefits security; miner safety and health; wage and hour and labor standards; worker and workplace safety and health; workers’ compensation; labor-management relations; international topics in worker protection including child and forced labor issues; improving equal employment opportunities; innovative approaches to evaluating the impact of DOL’s worker protection programs and policies using existing administrative or other data; and low-cost, randomized controlled trials or natural experiments to evaluate the impact of DOL programs. The deadline to apply is 4:00 PM ET on October 3, 2016.

Helping Workers Keep Their Jobs After an Injury, Illness, or Disability — September 13, 12:00-1:30 PM ET
On September 13, 12:00-1:30 PM ET, the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) Policy Collaborative of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and Mathematica’s Center for Studying Disability Policy will host a policy forum and webinar to share actionable recommendations for policies that can improve the SAW/RTW outcomes of workers who experience injury, illness, or disability. State and federal policymakers, employers, workers, service providers, staff of professional associations, and researchers are invited to participate to learn more about SAW/RTW initiatives and contribute to a discussion of critical policy and programmatic issues.

Reasonable Accommodation Toolkit: Implementing an Inclusion Infrastructure — JAN Archived Webcast
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), in collaboration with Deb Dagit, Principal for Deb Dagit Diversity, Inc., have created an online toolkit for enhancing disability inclusivity in the workplace through a robust and equitable reasonable accommodation (RA) process. This suite of tools for managing the RA process includes sample accommodation policies and practices, forms for each stage of the interactive process, and three training presentations with embedded role play videos illustrating best practices for managers and supervisors for handling disability disclosures and requests for RA. While the toolkit will not be formally launched until late September, this archived webcast serves as an overview of the toolkit and its contents.

ODEP Website Features Resources for Small Businesses
Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees in the United States, but they employ people with disabilities at a much lower rate than larger companies. ODEP has created a topic page on its website designed to provide small employers with the tools they need to recruit, hire, and retain people with disabilities.

Workforce Recruitment Program Seeks Federal Employees to Recruit Students with Disabilities
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. The WRP is the primary pipeline bringing students and recent graduates with disabilities into federal employment. Volunteers are needed to act as WRP recruiters for the upcoming recruitment season, which runs from October 27 through November 18, 2016. Recruiters must be federal employees who can commit to conducting at least 10 30-minute phone interviews with students from across the country, and to evaluate each student candidate in writing. The required recruiter training is conducted online and can be completed in about 90 minutes. Registration is open until September 2, 2016.

Webinar: Disability Diversity in the Higher Education Workforce — October 13, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
On October 13 from 1:00-2:00 PM ET, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) and the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC)—an ODEP Alliance partner—will co-host a webinar on best practices for disability inclusion in the higher education workplace environment. All professionals involved in higher education recruitment and hiring are invited to attend, and the webinar is approved for one HR general recertification credit hour through the HR Certification Institute. There is no cost to participate, but registration is required.

PEAT Blog Explores the ADA and Accessible Workplace Technology
The ODEP-funded Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has issued a blog post recapping its recent “PEAT Talk” webinar held in honor of the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The piece offers insights from the event’s featured speaker, legal expert Bobby Silverstein, who addressed how the ADA and related policy developments apply to accessible technology in the workplace.

WISE Webinar — Ticket to Work: Working with a Federal Contractor — August 31, 3:00-4:30 PM ET
The “Ticket to Work: Working with a Federal Contractor” Work Incentive Seminar Event (WISE) webinar will be held August 31, 3:00-4:30 PM ET. The webinar is for people receiving Social Security disability benefits, and will present information on Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 503 is a regulation that prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against people with disabilities and requires these employers to take action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain more people with disabilities. Topics to be covered include Section 503 changes and what they mean for Social Security disability beneficiaries, tips for self-identification during the application and hiring process, and Ticket to Work and work incentives.

AAPD Seeks Disability Mentoring Day Coordinators
Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a large-scale national effort coordinated by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. While DMD has been and continues to be officially launched the third Wednesday of each October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the foundation of the program has expanded from a one-day event to a year-round initiative across the country. The growth of DMD is made possible by the unwavering work of DMD Coordinators across the country who volunteer their time to host and manage the logistical requirements for local and regional programs. These events produce life changing results for mentees, such as full time employment and internship opportunities. AAPD continues to increase the reach of DMD through growing its network of DMD coordinators. If you or anyone you know may be interested or want additional information on becoming a DMD coordinator, please email AAPD at DMD@aapd.com.

Office of Disability Employment Policy News Brief (Aug. 12, 2016)

Friday, August 12th, 2016

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

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
The next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will be open to the public and take place by webinar on August 29, 1:00-2:00 PM ET. On August 29, the Committee will meet to confirm consensus on the Final Report. Members of the public wishing to participate in the webinar must register in advance of the meeting, by August 19, 2016.

Event Brings Mental Health to the Forefront
As part of its observance of the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) this week hosted a special event focused on the importance of workplace supports for people with mental health conditions. The event included a screening of the powerful documentary “Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw,” followed by a discussion with Holdsclaw, a former basketball star who now dedicates her time to advocating for others with mental health conditions, as well as the film’s creator, Rick Goldsmith. Following the event, Holdsclaw penned a blog post for DOL about the importance of ensuring support for all people with disabilities, including those whose disabilities are not visible to the eye.

ODEP Puts a Focus on Mental Health and Employment
Nearly one in five Americans may experience some form of mental illness each year. Every day people with mental illness contribute considerable skills and talents to America’s workforce; therefore, supporting the mental health needs of workers is good for employees, employers and society at large. To provide resources to assist in fostering mental health-friendly workplaces, ODEP has created a Mental Health topic page on its website.

PEAT Talks: The IAAP and the Growth of a Global Accessibility Profession — August 18, 2:00-2:30 PM ET
The next PEAT Talk, to be held August 18, 2:00-2:30 PM ET, will feature Rob Sinclair, President of the IAAP Global Leadership Team, who will discuss the mission of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) and its approach to encouraging the growth of a worldwide accessibility profession. This includes its active member community answering implementation and strategy questions, education and certification programs to help professionals keep their skills up-to-date, and creating tools and templates to help organizations build and run their own internal accessibility programs. The recently announced merger with G3ict will help take these programs to the next level by increasing global reach and much more.

Department of Justice Revises Regulations to Implement Requirements of ADA Amendments Act of 2008
A final rule revising the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II and Title III regulations to implement the requirements of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was published in the Federal Register on August 11 and will take effect on October 11, 2016. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the meaning and interpretation of the ADA definition of disability to ensure that the term would be broadly construed and applied without extensive analysis so that all individuals with disabilities could receive the law’s protections. Although the ADAAA is already in effect and applies to entities covered under Title II and III of the ADA, DOJ’s changes to its Title II and III regulations will help clarify the interpretation and application of the ADAAA.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Weekly Digest Bulletin

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, making it illegal for employers to discriminate against qualified job applicants and employees based on their physical or mental disabilities. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees who need them because of their disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship.

EEOC is proud to be a leader in advancing opportunity for people with disabilities. To honor the ADA’s 26th anniversary, we invite you to check out our disability discrimination page for helpful information about disability rights and responsibilities and how EEOC is helping people with disabilities in the workplace. Let this web page be your guide to learning more about your rights and responsibilities at work.

For more information, go to www.eeoc.gov.

Participate in FTA’s National Online Dialogue to Develop 5-Year Research Strategic Plan (Aug. 2016)

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

FTA’s Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation Vincent Valdes invites you to participate in FTA’s National Online Dialogue to develop our 5-Year Research Strategic Plan.

What transportation innovations should FTA’s research program support in the next five years? FTA is taking a fresh look at its research program priorities through the lens of a five-year strategic plan. The plan will guide how FTA positions itself to be forward-thinking in how we develop new tools and technologies to advance access and mobility for all.

We want to hear from you! FTA has launched an online dialogue to inform the agency’s Research Strategic Plan. We welcome any and all ideas during the dialogue, which closes September 8. The Research Strategic Plan will set the stage for what types of research FTA should support and highlight pathways for translating proven research solutions into new and better ways of doing business. For example, years of investment in the National Fuel Cell Bus Program led to several rounds of low or no-emission bus technology deployment and in 2016, the agency established an annual grants program with dedicated funding for new technology buses.

For more information on how you can contribute to FTA’s 5-Year Research Strategic Plan online dialogue, join us for an informational webinar on Thursday, August 11 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. EDT.

For more information, go to https://connectdotcqpub1.connectsolutions.com/content/connect/.