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Executive Order Raises the Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers

On February 12, the President signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers, including individuals with disabilities. Under current law, workers whose productivity is affected because of their disabilities may be paid less than the wage paid to others doing the same job under certain specialized certificate programs. Under this Executive Order, all individuals working under service or concessions contracts with the federal government are covered by the same $10.10 per hour minimum wage protections. The higher wage will apply to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts put out for bid after January 1, 2015.

Assistant Secretary Martinez Heads to Sochi for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, will be traveling to Sochi, Russia as part of the Presidential Delegation to the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, which start on March 7. The Honorable Tammy Duckworth, Member of the United States House of Representatives (IL-08) will lead the delegation. While in Sochi, delegation members will attend athletic events, meet with U.S. athletes, and attend the Opening Ceremony. “It is an honor to be selected to represent President Obama in cheering on the U.S. athletes as they compete in the Paralympics and showcase to the world the best of America—diversity, determination and teamwork,” said Martinez.

Making Online Application Systems Accessible – JAN Webcast – February 26, 2:00 – 3:30 PM EST

The new Section 503 regulations stop short of requiring federal contractors to make their on-line application systems accessible, but the regulations do codify the OFCCP’s position that federal contractors must make reasonable accommodations for any applicants with disabilities who cannot access on-line systems, and further state that making on-line application systems accessible is a recommended best practice. In light of this, many federal contractors are implementing changes to make their on-line application systems accessible. In this free webcast, JAN Consultants will share practical tips and tools to help these contractors succeed in their efforts. The presentation will be held on February 26, 2:00 – 3:30 PM EST.

Best Practices in Disability Recruiting – Think Beyond the Label Webinar – February 24, 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

Think Beyond the Label will be presenting a free, HRCI-certified webinar on February 24, 2:00-3:00 PM EST, to help federal contractors comply with the new Section 503 regulations regarding hiring people with disabilities. The webinar will focus on what the legislation means, how to find and engage job seekers with disabilities, and how to showcase an organization’s diversity hiring initiatives. Think Beyond the Label is a public-private partnership that delivers information, outreach and resources to businesses, job seekers and the public workforce system to ensure greater recruiting and hiring opportunities for job candidates with disabilities.

The HSC Foundation’s Advocates in Disability Award Program is Seeking the Next Generation of Disability Advocates

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) program, funded by The HSC Foundation and the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation, awards and encourages a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and receives up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for a project to benefit the disability community. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection. Applications must be received by 5:00 PM EST on April 11, 2014.

Action Sports Star and Host of MTV’s The Challenge TJ Lavin Stars in New PSA on Disability

“We all should have the same opportunity to achieve the American dream,” TJ Lavin, BMX bike champion and host of MTV’s The Challenge says in a new public service announcement (PSA) created by RespectAbilityUSA, a non-profit organization devoted to reshaping attitudes so that people with disabilities can more fully participate in and contribute to society. Lavin knows how a disability can potentially change a person’s life. In October of 2010, he suffered serious bleeding on the brain, a broken wrist, and an orbital fracture after a bike crash left him in a coma for 9 days. After years of rehabilitation, Lavin is now 100 percent recovered, fully integrated back into society and back as a star MTV host. “People with disabilities deserve an equal chance at employment. While most people don’t do BMX, everyone is just an accident, disease or age related issue away from a disability, said Lavin. “It is time we respect people for their abilities rather than focusing on their disabilities.”