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President Obama’s Budget Supports Opportunities for People with Disabilities

President Obama’s recently released Budget makes critical investments in our domestic and national security priorities while adhering to the bipartisan budget agreement signed into law last fall. The Budget shows that the President and the Administration are remaining focused on meeting our greatest challenges not only for the year ahead, but for decades to come, including giving everyone a fair shot at opportunity and economic security by investing in quality education and training, supporting workers and their families, and providing access to quality, affordable health care. The fact sheet “Expanding Opportunities for People with Disabilities” outlines the Budget’s investments in programs serving people with disabilities.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheehy Addresses Faith-Based Advocates for Inclusion

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Jennifer Sheehy spoke at Jewish Disability Advocacy Day on February 10 in Washington, DC, an annual event held as part of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. In her remarks, Sheehy addressed current issues in workplace inclusion and ODEP initiatives to improve the employment landscape for Americans with disabilities of all backgrounds and faiths.

“Improving Postsecondary Outcomes with Universal Design for Learning” Webinar — February 17, 2:00-3:30 PM ET

Postsecondary education institutions can improve retention and graduation rates by implementing an inclusive learning strategy, known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Every student learns differently, so postsecondary education faculty and staff need to appeal to a variety of ways students think, learn, and problem solve independently and effectively. UDL promotes a framework to make course instruction, materials, and content accessible and engaging for students of all learning styles. This webinar, the first in a series of webinars for postsecondary education faculty and staff being hosted by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), provides an orientation to UDL for postsecondary education professionals as a strategy for increasing student success. The webinar will be held February 17, 2:00-3:30 PM ET.

“WIOA Implementation Partnerships: The Important Role of Centers for Independent Living” Webinar — February 25, 3:00-4:30 PM ET

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provides new opportunities for American Job Centers (AJCs) to partner with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) leading to improved employment outcomes for job seekers with disabilities. To support these partnerships, the LEAD Center recently released the Independence Through Employment Toolkit, a collection of resources for CILs and AJCs to deepen their understanding of each other’s services and structure to improve the lives of job seekers with disabilities through employment. Participants in this webinar, to be held February 25, 3:00-4:30 PM ET, will learn more about the toolkit and hear from national and local leaders who will share how CILs and AJCs are working together to create a win-win-win for CILs, AJCs, and job seekers with disabilities.

JAN Archives Webcast on Recruiting and Hiring Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Sector

This Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Webcast, held on January 20, 2016, as part of its Federal Winter Webcast Series, focused on the Rehabilitation Act. Presenters Jo Linda Johnson, J.D., Civil Rights Director, Transportation Security Administration, and Beth Loy, Ph.D., JAN Principal Consultant, responded to the concerns most commonly raised by those implementing Federal Sector requirements related to recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities.

Advocates in Disability Award Program Now Accepting Applications

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) Program awards and encourages a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities. The ADA is a joint program of The HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding for a project to benefit the disability community. Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection. Applications must be received by 5:00 PM ET on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Rehabilitation Services Administration Training and Technical Assistance Centers Now Available

Aligning with the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA’s) mission to provide leadership and resources to grantees and stakeholders, RSA created a series of training and technical assistance centers (TACs) and demonstration projects to assist state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and their partners in providing VR and other services to individuals with disabilities. Each TAC focuses its efforts on a specific set of topics designed to provide universal, targeted, and intensive technical assistance (TA) for the purpose of improving services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence, and integration into the community and the competitive labor market. Specific information about each TAC, how to receive TA services, latest projects and communities of practice can be obtained by visiting the individual TAC websites. Details about each grant and the TA continuum of services are on the RSA homepage.

ACL Seeks Comments on NIDILRR Proposed Rule

On December 21, 2015 the Administration for Community Living (ACL) published a proposed rule to guide implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 regarding the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) in the Federal Register. This proposed rule incorporates feedback on the WIOA transfer from NIDLRR stakeholders; streamlines prior NIDILRR program regulations issued by the Department of Education and aligns the regulations with the current statute and HHS policies; and defines the stages of research funded by NIDILRR and requires applicants to identify which stage(s) of research they propose to undertake. The public may submit comments by February 19, 2016 about the proposed rule and how it can be improved in ways that are consistent with statute. The rule will not take effect until after comments are reviewed and a final rule is released.