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Assessing the Accessibility of Your Workplace Technology — A TechCheck Walkthrough — Webinar — September 24, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT

If you’re an employer about to take a leap into an accessible workplace technology effort, you might be wondering where to begin. Please join Jim Tobias on September 24, 2:00-3:00 PM EDT for a guided walkthrough of the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology’s (PEAT) TechCheck tool. Geared toward employers, this free, interactive tool helps organizations evaluate their accessible workplace technology efforts and find tools to develop them further. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to complete TechCheck in real time and ask questions along the way.

National Employment First Policy & Data Platform — Webinar — October 1, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT

The National Employment First Policy & Data Platform, funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and housed on the National LEAD Center’s website, is a one-stop resource of data sets, policies, initiatives and more related to Employment First, and is aimed at policy-makers, researchers, and external stakeholders interested in learning about national trends and activities. Join us for the launch of the platform in a webinar on October 1, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT.

Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program FY 2016 Core State Funding Opportunity — Application Deadline October 12, 2015

The Office of Disability Employment Policy started the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP), a cross-disability, cross-systems change initiative, to assist states in aligning their efforts to support individuals with disabilities toward an Employment First approach. EFSLMP provides a platform for multi-disciplinary state teams to focus on implementing the Employment First approach with fidelity through the alignment of policies, coordination of resources, and updating of service delivery models to facilitate increased integrated employment options for people with the most significant disabilities. Through an application process, states have an opportunity to become an EFSLMP Core State. In FY 2015, 15 states were awarded core state funding. In FY 2016, the existing 15 states will receive another year of core state funding, and up to five new states will be funded. An orientation call will be held from 1:00-2:00 PM EDT on September 18, 2015 for interested states to ask questions related to the application process. The conference line is 1-800-216-6327 and passcode: 485410. Applications for funding for core states must be submitted by 6:00 PM EDT on October 9, 2015; applications for funding for new states must be submitted by 6:00 PM EDT on October 12, 2015.

Employer TA Center Welcomes New Director

ODEP’s National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center) welcomed a new national project director this week. Brett Sheats adds to the Employer TA Center team significant experience working with corporate America on issues surrounding disability and employment, especially related to veterans with disabilities. Most recently he was with Wounded Warrior Project, where he managed the Warriors to Work program, a position through which he drew upon his personal experiences; Sheats served in the U.S. Army from 2001-2005.

Justice Department Reaches Proposed ADA Settlement Agreement on Oregon’s Developmental Disabilities System

On September 8, 2015, the United States entered into a proposed settlement agreement with the State of Oregon that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will impact approximately 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can and want to work in typical employment settings in the community. The settlement agreement with Oregon resolves a class action lawsuit by private plaintiffs in which the Department of Justice moved to intervene in May 2013. The lawsuit alleged that the State’s employment service system over-relied on segregated sheltered workshops to the exclusion of integrated alternatives, such as supported employment services, and placed individuals, including youth, at risk of entering sheltered workshops. The parties’ proposed settlement agreement must still be approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart of the District of Oregon, who is presiding over the lawsuit.

OFCCP Invites Feedback via Customer Experience Survey

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as other equal employment opportunity rules, is currently collecting feedback from federal contractors that have undergone a compliance evaluation in recent years in order to assist the agency in strengthening its processes. The survey is being conducted electronically and responses are anonymous. Companies qualifying to participate may also print and mail in their responses. The survey is open until October 31, 2015.