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Perez, Markell, Daugaard Celebrate States as Model Employers of People with Disabilities

US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez joined Governor Jack Markell of Delaware and Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota in a USA Today column to laud the participation of states in federal programs that increase the employment of people with disabilities, such as Employment First and the Disability Employment Initiative. “States and businesses are proving that employing people with disabilities is not an act of charity or sympathy; it’s enlightened self-interest at its very best,” stated the authors. “It enriches and diversifies our workforce. It’s good for business and good for taxpayers.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheehy Speaks to Employers during NDEAM

As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy Jennifer Sheehy visited Booz Allen Hamilton to discuss disability inclusion in American businesses, including federal contractors. Later, in remarks at the Federal Triangle Partnership — comprised of the Department of Commerce, Environmental Protection Agency, Customs and Border Protection, and Agency for International Development — Sheehy addressed the federal government’s achievements in the employment of people with disabilities.

Creating Better Outcomes for Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Programs

In a post on The Hill’s Congress Blog, Yonatan Ben-Shalom, a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research’s Center for Studying Disability Policy and project director for the US Department of Labor’s Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Policy Collaborative, focused on the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s initiative to identify promising solutions to help Americans keep their jobs after injury or illness. “Extensive evidence indicates that well-targeted expansion of early intervention services would benefit workers, taxpayers, and employers. Policymakers must now harness this knowledge to create better outcomes for all,” said Ben-Shalom.

Join the Conversation: ODEP and DOT Host Online Dialogue on Accessible Transportation

Now through November 20, members of the public are invited to participate in a national online dialogue called “Breaking Down Employment Barriers with Accessible Transportation Innovation.” Co-hosted by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the US Department of Transportation’s Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI), the event — akin to a virtual, nationwide brainstorming session — is designed to explore solutions to mobility challenges faced by travelers with disabilities, including veterans and older adults. Information gathered through the dialogue will be used to further develop and enhance transportation options as an important employment support for people with disabilities.

PEAT Talks: Small Business Accessibility though Biz Ability — November 19, 2:00-2:30 PM EST

The next “PEAT Talk” will be held on November 19, 2:00-2:30 PM EST, and will feature Ted Drake, Principal Engineer at Intuit. Ted will be speaking about Biz Ability, a community-driven resource for business owners with disabilities and entrepreneurs to find the accessible tools they need to build and run their business effectively. “PEAT Talks” is a monthly virtual speaker series to showcase organizations and individuals whose work is advancing accessible technology in the workplace. These events are designed to be energetic and interactive discussions highlighting a spectrum of exciting work. Featured speakers will deliver a 10- to 15- minute talk and then field questions from attendees.

The Power of Image

Reflecting on the evolution of her self-image over the years, Nadia Ibrahim, senior policy advisor at the Office of Disability Employment Policy, wrote a blog for, discussing the many facets of achieving independence and success as a woman with a disability both in and outside of the workplace. Noted Ibrahim, “…too often low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence can impact desires and ability to enjoy life, achieve personal goals and fully participate in all aspects of society, including employment.”

Work Early, Work Often

Claudia Gordon, chief of staff in the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the US Department of Labor, penned a blog discussing her involvement in the “Work Early, Work Often” video campaign designed to encourage early employment and work-based experiences for youth, particularly those with disabilities. In the blog, she focused on the reasons that these experiences are so important for youth, and the role that caregivers and employers play.

Job Accommodation Network Publishes Its Quarterly Enews

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released its quarterly Enews publication, designed to provide information about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and Webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities. This issue focuses on a variety of topics including the best ways for employers to approach employees about potential job accommodations, disability disclosure and employment, and accommodating an aging workforce. It also highlights new JAN resources.

October 2015 Issue of LEAD Center’s Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability Is Now Available

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 Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) Interim Report, ACL’s “No Wrong Door” system grants, CMS responses to statewide HCBS transition plans, various state updates, and more.

JAN Announces 2016 Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series

Find practical solutions with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) 2016 Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series. From January through March, JAN will provide three free Webcast sessions, covering federal sector hiring and employment, reasonable accommodation, and best practices. JAN will welcome guest speakers from the Transportation Security Administration and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Webcasts are aimed at federal disability program managers, hiring managers, supervisors, EEO representatives, selective placement coordinators, and others involved in hiring and managing workers in the federal government. All Webcasts begin at 2:00 PM EST and continue for 1.5 hours.

President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities Releases 2015 Report

On October 26, the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) published its 2015 Report to the President titled, “Leveling the Playing Field: Improving Technology Access and Design for People with Intellectual Disabilities.” The report contains specific policy recommendations on technology as it relates to employment and economic well-being, education, community living, and health. PCPID serves in an advisory capacity to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on matters related to individuals with intellectual disabilities, and includes 18 private citizens and representatives from 13 federal agencies, including the US Department of Labor.

What’s Good for Business and Society: Hiring People With Disabilities

In an October 29 blog in the Huffington Post, Judith E. Heumann, special advisor for international disability rights at the US Department of State, discussed the vital role that employment plays in the lives of people with disabilities in the United States and all over the world. Heumann explained that the State Department has “launched a social media campaign to break the stereotype that people with disabilities should be limited in their career options because of their disabilities. The “Employment #WithoutLimits” campaign highlights the contributions of workers with all types of disabilities from around the world, and showcases that people with disabilities can and should be employed on an equal basis with others.”

Telemundo Showcases National Disability Employment Awareness Month

To celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a Telemundo station in the Dallas, TX area created a news feature on the “Did You Know” segment of its TV show “Acceso Total.” The story highlights NDEAM and includes footage from all three of the Campaign for Disability Employment’s public service announcements.