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Assistant Secretary Martinez Discusses Integrated Employment

Promoting integrated employment as the first option for people with disabilities, including significant disabilities, was the focus of two recent events keynoted by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. The first, on September 19 in New York at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, gathered disability rights attorneys, service providers and students to explore the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which 15 years ago affirmed that people with significant disabilities have the right to live and work in their communities. The second, on September 24 in Des Moines, IA, was the annual meeting of the Iowa State Association for People Supporting Employment First, a group of service providers and state officials dedicated to improving employment outcomes for Iowans with significant disabilities.

National Association of Workforce Development Professionals Welcomes Assistant Secretary Martinez

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez was in Chicago on September 23, where she addressed attendees of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) 2014 Youth Development Symposium. Designed to share best practices in youth programming, the event explored tactics that contribute to successful transitions for all youth, including youth with disabilities, such as individualized learning plans (ILPs), and the promise of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. “Youth motivation and learning potential are optimized when young people have a meaningful say in defining their career and life goals based on their interests, values and skills,” said Martinez. “And when they receive services and supports from caring adults like you that are transparent, well-coordinated and tailored to their needs, we can achieve great results.”

Disability Employment Initiative Grants Awarded to Six States

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced $14,837,785 in grants to six states to improve employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities. The grants to California, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and South Dakota are being awarded as part of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), funded by DOL’s Employment and Training Administration and Office of Disability Employment Policy. These grants will help expand the capacity of local American Job Centers to improve employment outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities by increasing their participation in existing career pathway systems and programs that build on partnerships among local educational institutions, businesses and disability advocates. This is the fifth round of funding through the DEI, which now supports 37 projects in 26 states.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Establishes Web Page for the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

The web page for the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities is now available on the website of the Office of Disability Employment Policy. The page will be updated frequently with news about meeting, reports, and resources. The committee is a key part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014 to help job seekers, including those with disabilities, access the services they need to succeed in employment and match employers with skilled workers. The committee is mandated by section 609 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by section 461 of WIOA. The committee consists of both federal officials and private citizens from specific groups identified in the WIOA legislation. Anyone interested in being nominated for the committee can review the Federal Register Notice and submit the requested information by October 14, 2014.

HHS and DOL to Host 2014 A11Y Conference on Accessible Technology and Employment — October 15, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will host the 2014 A11Y Conference: Expect. Employ. Empower. This one-day conference will bring together the themes of technology, accessibility and employment of people with disabilities, and will focus on ensuring that accessible technology is available to all employees, including those with disabilities. Through exhibits and in-depth breakout sessions, federal and technology company innovators will present the latest information on improving accessibility in the workplace. The event will be held at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT. Check-in begins at 8:00 AM. Sign language interpreters and real-time captioning will be provided.

National Science Foundation to Present Webinar on Reasonable Accommodations for Federal Employees and to Hold NAAC Grand Opening —October 15, 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM EDT

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will present a webinar, “Providing Reasonable Accommodations for Federal Employees with Disabilities,” on October 15, 10:00 – 11:30 AM EDT. Real-time captioning will be provided during the webinar, which will be followed by the NSF Accessibility and Accessment Center (NAAC) Grand Opening and Showcase from 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM EDT. The event will take place at NSF Headquarters Building-Room 375, 4201 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA. RSVPs will be accepted until October 10. To arrange for onsite sign language interpreting or other reasonable accommodations, submit requests to by October 1.

LEAD Center Issues September 2014 Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability

The LEAD Center’s Policy Update – Employment, Health Care and Disability provides policymakers, disability service professionals, individuals with disabilities and their families with information about relevant policy developments regarding Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and related topics, with a focus on improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The latest update features stories on CMS guidance to states on transition plans for HCBS, new requirements under WIOA to promote integrated employment and divert youth from automatically being place in sheltered workshops, a new report on promoting employment for people with mental illness, and much more.