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

Assistant Secretary Martinez Addresses Students at Hispanic National Bar Association Program

Speaking to a group of middle school students at a Hispanic National Bar Association Latina Commission Pipeline Program event on May 22, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez shared her experiences as a Latina, growing up with a disability and pursuing employment. The students, who are interested in studying law, learned about the importance of high expectations and inclusion.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Fifth Round of Disability Employment Initiative Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of approximately $15 million in grants to state workforce agencies to develop flexible and innovative strategies to increase the participation of youth and adults with disabilities in existing career pathways programs in the public workforce system. These grants represent the fifth round of funding through the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a joint program of the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. The department anticipates awarding eight grants, ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million, to be spent over a 42-month period. Workforce agencies interested in applying for this funding (SGA-DFA-PY-13-11) must apply by July 8, 2014.

ODEP Releases Individualized Learning Plan Interactive Policy Map

Many states have adopted policies that require all students to develop and maintain an individualized learning plan (ILP) in order to make schools more personalized and improve student outcomes. The Office of Disability Employment Policy, in collaboration with its partners NCWD Youth, Social Dynamics, and the Altarum Institute, sought to determine the status of ILP implementation across the U.S. The results were compiled into one, easy-to-use tool, the ILP Interactive Policy Map, which has been released with an accompanying brief “ILPs Across the U.S.” The purpose of the map is to provide a snapshot of ILP implementation in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Scroll over the states to learn about the status of ILPs and click on states to find out more detailed information about specific ILP policies and how students with disabilities are being included in these critical college and career readiness tools. The ILP Interactive Policy Map joins ODEP’s other ILP resources, including the “Kickstart Your ILP” toolkit and the “Shelly Saves the Future” info-comic.

Fostering an Expectation of Employment — National Foster Care Month Blog

May is National Foster Care Month, and in this post on the Department of Labor’s blog site, Nathan Cunningham, policy advisor on the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Youth team, reflects on employment outcomes for youth with disabilities in the foster care system. He outlines the current statistics, and discusses improvements to programs and policies that will have a positive effect for these youth. Resources mentioned include the Guideposts for Success for Youth in Foster Care, developed by ODEP’s youth technical assistance center, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

Parents as Caregivers, Not Qualified Employees under the ADA – JAN Consultants’ Corner

The latest issue of the Job Accommodation Network’s Consultants’ Corner publication looks at the issue of workplace accommodations for parents of children with disabilities. JAN Senior Consultant Melanie Whetzel explains that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodations are strictly for job applicants and employees with disabilities; parents of children with disabilities have no rights to accommodations based on the child’s disability. However, the Family and Medical Leave Act may provide an alternative solution.