Employment First: A Key Component in Community Inclusion – Assistant Secretary Martinez’s Blog

In her June 25 post on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog site, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez marked the 15th anniversary of the Olmstead v. L.C. Supreme Court decision. “This decision set the stage for one of the most revolutionary chapters in our nation’s civil rights movement,” said Martinez. “With that case, our nation’s highest court affirmed what disability rights advocates already knew — that people with significant disabilities, like all people, have the right to fully participate in their communities.” In the blog, Martinez discussed Employment First, a systems-change approach to make community-based, integrated employment the first option for employment for youth and adults with significant disabilities. “While progress has been made since Olmstead, much work remains to be done and we won’t stop until the Employment First philosophy is adopted nationwide,” asserted Martinez.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $1.85M Cooperative Agreement for the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center on the Employment of People with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has announced the availability of $1,850,000 to fund a cooperative agreement to manage and operate the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center on the Employment of People with Disabilities. The center will increase the commitment and capacity of employers to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities by: 1) analyzing employer research, policies and practices related to disability employment; 2) researching effective employer engagement strategies; and 3) developing and providing outreach and technical assistance to targeted employers, such as federal agencies, federal contractors, small businesses and state governments. The full announcement for this cooperative agreement opportunity (SCA-14-06), including eligibility requirements for applicants, can be found at www.grants.gov. Applications will be accepted until Monday, Aug. 11, 2014.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $2M in Funding for Pathways to Careers: Community Colleges for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has announced the availability of $2,083,300 for two cooperative agreements to improve postsecondary education and employment opportunities for youth with disabilities through the Pathways to Careers: Community Colleges for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project. Each cooperative agreement may receive up to $1,041,650 to fund a pilot project that will build the capacity of community colleges to meet the educational and career development needs of youth with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities. The pilots will provide for researching, developing, testing and evaluating innovative systems to deliver inclusive integrated education and career development services. The grant-funded programs must serve youth and young adults with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 24. The full announcement for this cooperative agreement opportunity (SCA-14-03), including eligibility requirements for applicants, can be found at www.grants.gov. Applications will be accepted until Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. All grants will be awarded by Sept. 30, 2014.

Group Discovery Training: Making Connections – LEAD Center Guest Blog

Janet Steveley, a senior consultant with Griffin-Hammis Associates and a LEAD Center subject matter expert, contributed a guest post on the LEAD Center’s recent group discovery efforts in Kansas for its Customized Employment Initiative.

Opening Doors for Students with Disabilities – AAPD Blog

TaKeisha Bobbitt, Managing Director with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), authored a guest blog post for Disability.Blog, the official blog of Disability.gov, titled “Opening Doors for Students with Disabilities.” Bobbitt discussed AAPD’s internship program, explaining the scope of the program and noting the importance of internships to all students and recent graduates, including those with disabilities. “The growth and learning provided by the internship program is not solely reserved for interns, however,” said Bobbitt. “Everyone involved with the program, from AAPD staff to employers, are bound to discover something new through the experience.”