White House Summit on Worker Voice Seeks Nominations

On October 7, 2015, at the White House Summit on Worker Voice, the White House and the Department of Labor will bring together workers, labor leaders, advocates, forward-leaning employers, Members of Congress, state and local officials and others to highlight the relationship between worker voice and a thriving middle class. The White House is seeking nominations of workers, employers, and organizers from across the country who are making a difference for worker voice in their communities to attend the Summit. Leading up to the Summit, stories are being collected from the public that highlight the power of worker voice in the community.

Job Accommodation Network Publishes “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” Update for 2015

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has updated its “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” publication for 2015. It reports the results of a JAN study, ongoing since 2004, that shows that the benefits employers receive from making workplace accommodations far outweigh the low cost. Employers reported that providing accommodations resulted in such benefits as retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers’ compensation and training costs, and improving company diversity. These benefits were obtained with little investment. The employers in the study reported that a high percentage (58%) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500.

“PEAT Talks” to Highlight Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility – September 17, 2:00-2:30 PM ET

The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) will present the September edition of its virtual speaker series, “PEAT Talks,” on Thursday, September 17 from 2:00-2:30 PM ET. “PEAT Talks” showcases various organizations and individuals whose work and innovations are advancing accessible technology in the workplace. Speakers for September 17 include Sarah Bourne, Director of IT Accessibility for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Jeff Kline, Program Director of Statewide Electronic and Information Resources for the Texas Department of Information Resources; and Jay Wyant, Chief Information Accessibility Officer for the state of Minnesota. They will discuss Policy-Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA), and how this new approach can help achieve higher levels of accessibility in vendor-provided products and services.

LEAD Center Releases 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 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) response to state transition plans, the July edition of the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) State Medicaid Integration Tracker, plans for Alaska to expand Medicaid and more.

Federal Government Nears Goal of Hiring 100,000 People with Disabilities

On August 17, Michael Murray, the Office of Personnel Management’s special adviser on disability programs, visited Federal News Radio to discuss the federal government’s progress towards its goal, laid out in a 2010 executive order, of hiring 100,000 new employees with disabilities over a five-year period. As Murray reports, great strides have been made. “We’ll get really close, if not make it,” he said.

FCC Plans Open Source Accessibility Platform

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will offer an open source video access platform that will enable Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have a speech disability to communicate directly with federal agencies and businesses in American Sign Language (ASL). The platform will provide open source applications for mobile and desktop operating systems which – along with direct video calling – will allow for text and high-quality voice communications. In addition, the FCC will provide applications that relay service users can download on their smartphones or desktops in order to communicate directly with agency representatives. The Commission plans to roll out a beta version later this year with final release scheduled for spring of 2016.