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Assistant Secretary Martinez Discusses Disability Inclusion with Corporate Leaders

About 50 top-level executives and leaders of disability-focused employee resource groups gathered in New York City on December 3 to discuss best practices in recruiting and retaining qualified people with disabilities at a Diverse Abilities Leadership Summit hosted by global professional services firm Ernst & Young. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez delivered the keynote address, emphasizing the clear connection between inclusion and corporate goals.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Hosts Employment First State Leaders

To kick off the fourth year of its Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy hosted a National Employment First Meeting on December 2 in Washington, DC. The event included 150 participants comprised of state government officials, disability stakeholders, and subject matter experts across 25 states. The state teams received technical assistance and information on how to accelerate their state Employment First efforts to prioritize integrated employment as the preferred outcome of non-residential services to youth and adults with significant disabilities. In her opening remarks, ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez stated, “From my vantage point, the results of the EFSLMP during its first three years have been nothing short of inspiring.” The EFSLMP will provide technical assistance to 15 core states in FY2015, as well as continue to host a National Employment First Community of Practice for interested stakeholders in all fifty states.

“Let’s Get to Work!” — HIV/AIDS and Employment

In a U.S. Department of Labor blog titled “Let’s Get to Work!” that appeared on World AIDS Day, December 1, Dylan Orr, Chief of Staff for the Office of Disability Employment Policy, looked at the important role that employment plays in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. Orr noted, “Today, more and more people with HIV/AIDS are living healthy lives and can and want to work — and research clearly demonstrates the benefits of doing so.” The blog highlighted a multimedia training curriculum for HIV/AIDS service providers called “Getting to Work,” developed by ODEP and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides proven strategies for incorporating employment into HIV/AIDS service offerings. Orr illustrated these concepts by telling the story of Beverly, an HIV-positive transgender woman who received services from one of the organizations featured in “Getting to Work.”

ODEP’s PEAT Announces Webinar on Accessible Technology for Users with Cognitive Disabilities — December 11, 2:00-3:30 PM EST

The Office of Disability Employment Policy-funded Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) will be co-hosting a webinar titled “Expanding What It Means to Be Accessible: Addressing the Workplace Technology Needs of Users with Cognitive Disabilities.” Hosted in collaboration with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the online event will explore exemplary accessibility practices to ensure that web-based technologies meet the needs of all users, including those with cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and other conditions. The webinar will be held December 11, 2:00-3:30 PM EST.

Job Accommodation Network Federal Webcast Series Open for Registration

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is now accepting registrations for its 2015 Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series. The free, three part series of Webcasts will cover federal sector hiring and employment, reasonable accommodation, and best practices. JAN will welcome guest speakers from the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), Department of Defense on January 15; Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Transportation Security Administration on February 18; and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on March 11. All Webcasts are held 2:00-3:30 PM EST. You must register to attend.

LEAD Center Releases New Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability

The LEAD Center’s Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability is a monthly update focusing on the intersection of disability, employment and health care policy. It 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 November 2014 update features stories on a DOL temporary delay of a home care worker final rule, new APA toolkits for Medicaid mental health services, a new report on the most and least disability friendly cities in the United States, highlights of recent state transition plans and much more. The LEAD Center Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability is a project of the LEAD Center in collaboration with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, sponsored by the United Nations, was observed on December 3. The theme for 2014 was Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology. The celebration provided an opportunity to raise awareness of disability and technology accessibility, and to focus on removing all types of barriers to people with disabilities around the globe.