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Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (Mar. 4, 2016)

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Welcomes Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheehy

On February 25, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Jennifer Sheehy spoke as part of a panel at a summit held in Washington, DC, in honor of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation’s (MEAF) 25th anniversary. The corporate foundation of the Mitsubishi Electric group companies in the U.S., MEAF funds a variety of projects to empower youth with disabilities to lead productive lives through increased employment.

PEAT Talk on the Importance of User Testing for Accessibility — March 17, 2:00 PM ET

The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) will present a PEAT Talk on March 17 at 2:00 PM ET. The speaker will be Sharron Rush, co-founder and executive director of Knowbility, who will talk about the importance of user testing to ensure that workplace technologies are truly accessible. PEAT Talks is a monthly virtual speaker series to showcase organizations and individuals whose work is advancing accessible technology in the workplace. Held the third Thursday of every month at 2:00 PM ET, these events are designed to be energetic and interactive discussions highlighting a spectrum of exciting work. Featured speakers will deliver a 10- to 15- minute talk and then field questions from attendees.

“Advancing State Policy for a More Inclusive Workforce” National Online Dialogue

As states strive to promote workforce inclusion, people with disabilities are a key part of the solution. Recognizing this, the Office of Disability Employment Policy launched the State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED), a collaborative of state intermediary organizations committed to assisting busy state legislators in effectively addressing policy barriers that may hinder the employment of people with disabilities. The Council of State Governments (CSG) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) are partnering to convene a National Task Force on Workforce Development and Employability for People with Disabilities in collaboration with SEED. In preparation for the first meeting of the National Task Force, CSG and NCSL are interested in hearing from individuals involved in state policymaking efforts about their experiences with state level disability employment-related policy, including existing state-sponsored legislation, executive orders, regulations, programs, and studies. This online dialogue is open to anyone interested in joining the conversation, and state representatives and policymakers are encouraged to participate. The dialogue will run until the National Task Force convenes on March 19.

LEAD Center Issues 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 President Obama’s 2017 Budget, a new HCBS toolkit from the HCBS Advocacy Coalition, the newly released StatsRRTC Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, an update on Washington State’s HCBS Transition Plan, and more.

Latest EARN Newsletter Now Available

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) has issued its March 2 newsletter, featuring information on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s proposed rule on affirmative action in disability hiring for federal agencies, a new resource from the Society for Human Resource Management on the aging workforce, disability inclusion training as an effective employment practice, future webinars, and more.

NCWD/Youth Hosts Webinar with CAST on Improving Postsecondary Outcomes with Universal Design for Learning

On February 17, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) and CAST hosted a webinar for postsecondary institutions on how to use Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to improve retention and graduation rates. The webinar provided an orientation to UDL and explained how postsecondary education professionals use evidence-based UDL practices to facilitate engaged learning for all students. This webinar is part of a series for postsecondary education faculty and staff hosted by NCWD/Youth. The full recording and transcript are available online.

JAN Archives Webcast on Accommodations in the Federal Workforce

An archived version of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) webcast “Successfully Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Workforce” is now available on the JAN website. In this February 17 event, JAN consultants shared real-life accommodation scenarios from the federal sector, provided practical ideas for making successful accommodations in the workplace, and discussed possible solutions to current accommodation challenges.

Social Security Administration Publishes ANPRM on Ticket to Work Program

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit public input on whether and how to revise the current Ticket to Work program rules to help both beneficiaries and the providers that serve them through the program. SSA is requesting comments and suggestions by April 11.

U.S. Department of Education Releases NPRM to Improve Equity for Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address equity for students with disabilities of color under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The proposed Equity in IDEA rule would, for the first time, require states to implement a standard approach to compare racial and ethnic groups, with reasonable thresholds for determining when disparities have become significant. The proposed rule would also provide identified districts with new flexibility to support the needs of students.

Kessler Foundation Announces Signature Employment Grants

The Kessler Foundation has announced the availability of its Signature Employment Grants. The grants are awarded nationally each year to fund new pilot initiatives, demonstration projects, or social ventures that lead to the generation of new ideas to solve the high unemployment and underemployment of individuals with any type of disability. Preference is given for interventions that overcome specific employment barriers related to long-term dependence on public assistance, advance competitive employment in a cost-effective manner, or launch a social enterprise or individual entrepreneurship project. Projects must be collaborative, serve a large geographic area, and include multiple funding partners and stakeholders. In addition, initiatives or projects must have the potential for growth, scalability, or replication. The deadline for online grant concept applications is March 18 at 5:00 PM EDT.

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