Assistant Secretary Martinez Discusses “The Disability Advantage”

As part of the Max Starkloff Speaker Series sponsored by the nonprofit Starkloff Disability Institute, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez addressed a diverse audience of employers, job seekers and service providers in St. Louis on December 5. Exploring the theme of “The Disability Advantage,” she spoke about her own experiences as a person with a disability, and discussed strategies for enlightening today’s employers on inclusive workplace practices. “By working together, I know we can make inclusion not just a buzz word, but a reality,” said Martinez. “Ultimately we can change the landscape of disability employment, because with each person that gets hired, the barrier of fear is lowered.”

Positive Work — Assistant Secretary Martinez’s Blog on World AIDS Day

To commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez penned a blog focusing on the importance of work in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. “Working is a part of living fully, and we at ODEP are committed to ensuring more people with HIV/AIDS have the opportunity to do so, said Martinez. “But, as with everything, reaching this goal will take all of us — employers, service providers, community organizations and others — working together.”

December Online Dialogue Will Address Cognitive Accessibility of Job-Related Technology

What can be done to increase the accessibility of web-based job tools used by people with intellectual disabilities, cognitive issues, traumatic brain injuries or other disabilities that can make using the Internet more challenging? While numerous accessibility standards exist to ensure that websites and online activities are accessible to people with physical or sensory disabilities, less attention is paid to cognitive accessibility. An online dialogue December 9-20 will aim to address these issues and answer questions related to the “cognitive accessibility” of job-related information and communications technology. Members of the public are invited to participate in the virtual dialogue — which is powered by leading-edge, accessible crowdsourcing tools — by sharing their own technology experiences and submitting their ideas, comments and votes on potential solutions. Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the event is co-hosted by the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).

Corporation for National and Community Service and Office of Disability Employment Policy Promote National Service for Youth

Volunteerism and work-based learning (both paid and voluntary) can provide critical preparation for all youth as they transition from school into the world of work. ODEP and the Corporation for National and Community Service have collaborated to create policy guidance and highlight resources to promote national service as an option for all youth, including youth with disabilities.

2013 Annual Compendium of Disability Statistics and Research-to-Policy Roundtable to Be Held December 11

The Annual Compendium of Disability Statistics, a web-based tool that pools disability statistics published by various federal agencies together in one place, will be released on December 11 at a meeting at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. The event will include the Third Annual Research-to-Policy Roundtable. The Compendium release will include a briefing and a one-hour workshop on the sources and uses of disability statistics. The Research-to-Policy Roundtable will provide an opportunity for disability advocates, policymakers and researchers to highlight this research and discuss ways that policies and programs can better serve persons with disabilities with a focus on employment.

Job Accommodation Network Introduces Just-in-Time Training Module on Ergonomics in the Workplace

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has developed a Just-in-Time Module Training Series. Found at JAN’s Multimedia Training Microsite, these modules may be used in group training or by individuals, and can easily be incorporated into larger training events. The latest module is on Ergonomics in the Workplace. Ergonomics is the process of fitting a job to a particular individual. Implementing appropriate ergonomic principles can help employers satisfy their accommodation obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), help employers limit their workers’ compensation costs, and create a safe, inclusive workspace. The training module includes a webcast, and downloadable accessible handouts and transcript.

The Impact of Employment on HIV Treatment Adherence

The International Labour Organization’s HIV and AIDS and the World of Work Branch (ILOAIDS) released a new report that analyzes the findings of 23 studies on the relationship between employment and HIV treatment, and covers more than 6,500 people living with HIV. The study shows that people living with HIV who are employed are almost 40 per cent more likely to stick to HIV treatment than those without a job.

Celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, sponsored by the United Nations, was observed on December 3. The theme for 2013 was Break Barriers, Open Doors: For an Inclusive Society and Development for All. The celebration provided an opportunity to raise awareness of disability and accessibility, and to focus on removing all types of barriers to people with disabilities around the globe.

Holland, Mich. Woman Wins National Disability Institute’s My American Dream Video Contest

Lucia Rios of Holland, Mich. received big news on December 3, when National Disability Institute and National Public Radio News Investigations Correspondent Joseph Shapiro surprised her at an event at Holland City Hall to announce she won National Disability Institute’s My American Dream — Voices of Americans with Disabilities video contest and that Shapiro will serve as her mentor as she pursues her book writing dream. Rios, a 33-year-old community access specialist at Holland’s Disability Network Lakeshore and a freelance journalist, was one of five finalists in National Disability Institute’s annual video contest encouraging persons with disabilities to highlight their American dreams to show that working toward your dreams is something all Americans share. Rios’s video received the most votes on the contest website, making her the grand prizewinner of $1,000, a digital tablet of her choice and sessions with a mentor to help her move toward her dream. Brennan Heider, a 15-year-old from Green Bay, Wisc., was named first runner up and will receive $250 and sessions with a to-be-determined mentor. Heider currently sings and performs in theater productions and singing groups at his high school and in the community. Heider aspires to be a singer and performer, dreaming one day of performing on Broadway and recording an album.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases Youth Employment Rate Numbers for November 2013

Employment data for youth with and without disabilities is obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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