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American Association for Affirmative Action Presents Award to Assistant Secretary Martinez

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez received the Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award at the American Association for Affirmative Action’s 40th annual conference held on June 4 in Nashville, TN. In her remarks, Martinez emphasized the Department of Labor’s commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities have equal employment opportunities, and encouraged the audience to consider how their work contributes to a more inclusive American workforce. “Every day, you help lift all of us a little higher,” said Martinez.

Assistant Secretary Martinez Focuses on Mobile Technology

As panel moderator of the closing session at the M-Enabling Summit on June 10 in Arlington, VA, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez provided her perspective on the role of mobile technologies in the hiring, employment and career advancement of people with disabilities. The M-Enabling Summit is an annual conference dedicated to promoting accessible and assistive mobile applications and services.

Department of Labor Announces Proposed Rule to Raise the Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Workers

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez has announced a proposed rule raising the minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts to $10.10 per hour. The proposed rule implements Executive Order 13658, which was announced by President Obama on February 12. The proposed rule provides guidance and sets standards for employers concerning coverage, including coverage of tipped employees and workers with disabilities. It also establishes an enforcement process familiar to most government contractors that will protect the right of workers to receive the new minimum wage. Comments regarding the proposed rule can be submitted online at The regulation identification number is 1235-AA10. Comments must be received within 30 days following publication in the Federal Register. The Department of Labor will review comments received and issue a final rule by October 1. The new wage will be effective on January 1, 2015.

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 20 through November 19, 2014. 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 evaluating each student candidate in writing. The required recruiter training is conducted online and can be completed in about 90 minutes. Registration is open until August 22, 2014.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases 2013 Labor Force Characteristics for Persons with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data showing that the unemployment rate for persons with a disability in 2013 was 13.2 percent. Also in 2013, 17.6 percent of persons with a disability were employed, compared with 64.0 percent for those with no disability. The data on persons with a disability are collected as part of the Current Population Survey, a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on employment and unemployment in the United States. The collection of data on persons with a disability is sponsored by the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Department of Transportation Announces Major Funding Opportunity under the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative

The Department of Transportation has announced the availability of $100 million for its new Ladders of Opportunity Initiative, which is designed to invest in projects that improve the mobility of Americans with transportation disadvantages and allow them a better chance at moving towards economic self-determination. The funds may be used to modernize and expand transit bus service specifically for the purpose of connecting disadvantaged and low-income individuals, veterans, seniors, youths, and others with local workforce training, employment centers, health care, and other vital services. The Ladders of Opportunity Initiative will invest in projects that fulfill the principles of enhancing access to work, providing more transportation choices, and supporting existing communities, economic opportunities, and partnerships. Proposals are due by August 4.

Disability Equality Index Survey to be Unveiled – June 26, 2014

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) have announced the public release of the first Annual Disability Equality IndexSM (DEISM). Created by leaders in the business and disability communities, the DEISM is an online benchmarking tool that offers businesses the opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices. AAPD and the USBLN® will be releasing the DEISM survey questions publicly on June 26, 2014 before opening up the first Annual DEISM survey to Fortune 1000 scope companies for participation in October 2014. Those interested in attending the DEISM survey public release call must register by June 19, 2014.

Census Bureau Requests Feedback on the American Community Survey

The U.S. Census Bureau has just launched a new feedback form for American Community Survey (ACS) data users. The Census Bureau wants to learn which data you use most frequently, how you use it, and if the ACS is your only source. This feedback will help inform the Census Bureau about which questions are particularly important to ACS data users. Feedback will be collected through mid-July. This form is part of the larger ACS Content Review process currently under way at the Census Bureau.