Iowa's Workforce Partners Employment Network (EN) Final Report, PY 2010, was juts issued. Iowa's Workforce Boards and Workforce System is growing in its ability to generate new revenue to support the system's infrastructure to improve employment outcomes for job seekers with disabilities. It might also be reflective of increased collaborative support to Iowa’s businesses in their successful employment of workers with disabilities. There have been many disability initiatives implemented by Iowa’s workforce boards over the last ten years, and the promising strategies developed by these efforts has buoyed the growing success recognized by the workforce system in responding to Iowans with disabilities. The use of Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) in the Centers are key to their establishment as ENs, through the facilitation that they provided to the local partnership. The key components of increasing success for Regional Boards as ENs are: 1)Maintaining a disability Subject Matter Expert (SME) or DPN in the operation of the Skills Development Team, as a universal resource to all programs, businesses and job seekers, and EN facilitator; 2)Connecting the membership team and the the SME as disclosure occurs. 3)Maintaining ongoing service engagement and problem solving by the Skills Development Team; 4)Enhancing the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance services across the state of Iowa; and 5)Developing new partnerships and strategies to support workforce boards in achieving stronger outcomes with job seekers who do not fare well in the traditional labor exchange process. If you have questions about the Ticket to Work program, and the response of Iowa’s Regional Workforce Investment Boards in regard to this partnership, please contact Doug Keast at (515) 281-9045, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has identified two main factors for the deficit in STEM workers in the U.S. First, the STEM labor force is rapidly turning over as baby boomers retire. Second, too few U.S, students are preparing for STEM careers, especially engineering. Each of these is occurring while the U.S. business community is calling for a doubling of the number of annual STEM graduates by 2015. In addition to graduates with bachelor’s degrees, there will be a need for more STEM technicians with associate degrees and certificates. Unfortunately, many U.S. students arrive at a decisive point in their education without the requisite foundational skills to pursue these opportunities. A recent report from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, "Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century,"posit that career and technical education is an essential component in attempts to enhance the employability of American students. This can be assisted through the adoption of career exploration, career clusters, career pathways, rigorous programs of study, and the integration of academic learning, career education, and technology. In addition, encouraging students to pursue STEM pathways early enough in their schooling will help to build interest in STEM careers, leading them to acquire the academic preparation essential for higher- level positions in these occupations. The issue of promoting STEM training and employment is critical for persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are under-represented in STEM training and careers.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced $21,166,560 in funding for seven states under the Disability Employment Initiative to improve education, training, and employment opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults who are unemployed, underemployed and/or receiving Social Security disability benefits. The initiative is jointly funded and administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration and its Office of Disability Employment Policy. This round of funding is the second under the Disability Employment Initiative, which now supports 16 state projects. The new grants are part of cooperative agreements with California, Hawaii, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin to implement exemplary employment services for individuals with disabilities in the public workforce system. The states with continuing grants under the initiative are Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
DEI Grantee Abstracts represent one page outlines of each project based on the DEI funded proposal. Each grantee had the opportunity to review their respective draft abstract and make edits/additions.
As of July 2011, there is a 40 percent gap between the employment rate of people without disabilities and that of people with disabilities. The Disability Employment Initiative, or DEI, is a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy and its Employment Training Administration to facilitate systemic change in the workforce system in order to “increase the effective and meaningful participation of people with disabilities in the workforce” (DOL, 2010). One year ago, nine states were awarded DEI grants and set forth to change policy, practices, and, ultimately, culture, as they relate to the employment of people with disabilities. In tandem with this effort, a comprehensive evaluation was launched to maximize this opportunity to learn from each state’s implementation of the DEI. As DEI progresses, the evaluation will also be able to answer key questions related to the initiative’s outcomes and impacts. This first synthesis report on the Evaluation of the Disability Employment Initiative reviews DEI evaluation activities through July 31, 2011.
This presentation covers the following overview: 1. The DEI Evaluation Design; 2. Six Primary Research Questions; 3. Partnership and Collaboration Objectives of the DEI Evaluation Team; 4. Grantees’ Direct Link to the DEI Evaluation: State Evaluation Liaisons; 5. DEI Data System; and 6. DEI/SSA Match.
Income Security: Older Adults and the 2007-2009 Recession, GAO-12-76 October 17, 2011. The recession of 2007 to 2009 has been the most severe in this country since the 1930s. After adjusting for inflation, gross domestic product declined by 5.1 percent and the national unemployment rate peaked at 9.5 percent. While the recession officially ended in June 2009, our economy has experienced a weak recovery, with unemployment still above 9 percent. While the recession has affected all age groups, older adults--particularly those close to or in retirement--may face a greater burden because they may not have the same opportunities to recover from its effects. Older workers are less likely to be unemployed than workers in younger age groups, but when older workers lose a job they are less likely to find other employment. The Report examines: (1) What changes have occurred in the employment status of older adults, generally those 55 and older, with the recession? (2) How have the incomes and wealth of older adults in or near retirement changed with the recession? (3) What changes have occurred in the costs of medical care, the purchasing power of Social Security benefits, and mortality rates for older adults in recent years? Since 2007, unemployment rates doubled and remained higher than before the recession for workers aged 55 and older. While these rates were not as high as for other age groups, of more concern is that once older workers lose their jobs they are less likely to find other employment. In fact, the median duration of unemployment for older workers rose sharply from 2007 to 2010, more than tripling for workers 65 and older and increasing to 31 weeks from 11 weeks for workers aged 55 to 64. In addition, the proportion of older part-time workers who indicated they would prefer full-time work nearly doubled during this time.
The National Technical Assistance and Research (NTAR) Leadership Center has published, "The Great Recession and Serving Dislocated Workers with Disabilities: Perspectives from One-Stop Career Centers and Rapid Response Coordinators." In considering the scope of long-term unemployment, and the disproportionate unemployment for people with disabilities, NTAR sought to gain a better understanding of the extent to which people with disabilities who had lost their jobs were seeking services from the public workforce system, and to identify strategies, if any, being used at the state and local levels to help these workers reconnect with the labor market. The first section of the report describes the methodology that NTAR Leadership Center researchers used to study a set of research questions. The second section reviews the empirical literature on strategies that have been tried to return dislocated workers to work. The third section discusses the findings obtained from interviews with state and local workforce professionals. The final section includes findings, as follows: 1.Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) report that One-Stop staff are serving greater numbers of older workers and older workers with disabilities; 2.DPNs report that One-Stop staff are serving greater numbers of people with non-visible disabilities, many of whom do not disclose their disability; 3.One-Stop staff are seeing greater numbers of people with mental and behavioral health disabilities; 4.DPNs and Vocational Rehabilitation staff occasionally participate in rapid response activities; and 5.States have implemented a variety of strategies to promote their customers' disclosing whether they have a disability, including displaying information about available resources/ accommodations, outreach to people with disabilities at job fairs, rewriting intake forms to encourage disclosure, and DPNs.
In June 2011, the National Technical Assistance And Research Center (NTAR) issued, "Moving TANF Recipients with Disabilities to Work: Examples of State Strategies." A substantially higher proportion of TANF recipients have physical and/or mental disabilities. TANF recipients, especially those with disabilities, have significant challenges to getting and keeping a job. This Information Brief examines the successful strategies that states have used to assist TANF recipients with a disability to secure and retain employment.
On November 11, 2011, the National Resource Center (NRC) for Human Service Transportation Coordination issued an Information Report, "Transportation for America's Veterans and Their Families." This Information Brief provides case studies, successful strategies and resources.
On November 15, 2011, DOL/ETA issued TEN No. 16-11, "Availability of Assistive Technology (AT) Resources for Persons with Disabilities." The purpose of this TEN is to inform the public workforce system about the availability of AT resources for customers with disabilities. This TEN describes the different types of AT, funding sources, and includes additional resources. The TEN is an excellent resource for front-line One-Stop Career Center and partner staff.
On January 3, 2012, DOL/ETA issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) No. 21-11, "Strategies to Meet One-Stop Career Centers' Business and Job-Seeker Customer Needs for Employment-Related Transportation Services." The purpose of this TEN is to: 1) provide successful strategies to the public workforce system for connecting individuals with disabilities and other multiple challenges to employment with transportation to jobs and training; and 2) help business access a diverse workforce. Transportation is a key asset for future workforce planning, business creation, and economic development. On an individual level, transportation can sometimes be overlooked as a critical service for jobseeekers, employees, or individuals needing training.
In November of 2011, TransCEN issued a Technical Report, "Strategies Used by Employment Service Provders in the Job Development Process." Historically, the role of job developers employed in the state/Federal vocational rehabilitation program and the community-based rehabilitation programs has been to identify and secure paid employment for individuals with disabilities, particularly those with significant disabilities. Past strategies have included a “carrot and stick” approach, where the carrots are tax incentives and other benefits to employers for hiring people with disabilities, and the stick being in compliance with the mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Luecking, 2008). More recently, several authors have recommended that job developers adopt a broader marketing approach to their activities in terms of creating demand for the jobseekers they represent by demonstrating their value to business by using relationship marketing approaches, and emphasizing the mutual benefits of their partnerships (Gilbride & Stensrud, 1999; Luecking,Fabian & Tilson, 2004; Luecking, Cuozzo, & Buchanan, 2006). In the challenging job market of the last few years, it is now more important than ever for job developers to be aware of and apply the most effective strategies in their efforts to assist job seekers to secure and maintain jobs. The purposes of this Technical Report are to: a)describe the results of the study of job development/placement professionals’ strategies in the employment process; b)compare these results to employer perceptions of the employment process; and c)identify implications for job development/ placement practice.
A new national report, issued by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 45.9 million American adults aged 18 or older, or 20 percent of this age group, experienced mental illness in the past year. The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.9 percent) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3 percent). The economic impact of mental illness in the United States is considerable—about $300 billion in 2002. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness accounts for more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. According to the report, rates for substance dependence were far higher for those who had experienced either any mental illness or serious mental illness than for the adult population which had not experienced mental illness in the past year. According to the report 1.9 million youth aged 12 to 17 (8 percent of this population) had experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In addition, the report finds that young people aged 12 to 17 who experienced a major depressive episode in the past year have more than twice the rate of past year illicit drug use(37.2 percent) as their counterparts who had not experienced a major depressive episode during that period (17.8 percent). The complete survey findings from this report are available on the SAMHSA Web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10MH_Findings/. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older.
President Obama's hiring incentives will hopefully bring down the 13.1 percent veteran unemployment rate. The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVN)is filling in the information gap that often interferes with veterans getting jobs. The DVNF announced that it will connect unemployed veterans with the career resources that have come out of the VOW Act. "We are working diligently to help disabled and underserved veterans, including our women veterans, access the benefits created under the new law and connect them immediately to the training, financial assistance and secure jobs they need and deserve," wrote Raegan Rivers, Chief Administrative Officer, DVNF, in a press release. "Just as they fight for us on the battlefield, it's up to us to fight for our troops and their families when they come home," President Obama said after signing the VOW To Hire Heroes Act. "Today, a deeply grateful nation is doing right by our military and paying back just a little bit what we owe our veterans." For more information about VOW, go to http://www.benefits.va.gov/vow/ For more information about DVN's efforts, please go to: http://www.dvnf.org
In January 2012, Mathematica Policy Research issued a Brief, entitled, "A Roadmap to a 21st-Century Disability Policy," by David Mann and David Stapleton. Of the approximately 17.5 million working-age people in the United States who live with disabilities, nearly 70 percent receive benefits from public programs. Despite increases over many decades in program participation and spending—$357 billion in fiscal year 2008, representing some 12 percent of all Federal outlays in 2011 - the disability support infrastructure in the United States is failing many of those it was designed to help, and the economic independence of people with disabilities has eroded. Although immediate fiscal pressures would be alleviated by tightening eligibility or reducing benefits for the largest support programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, and Medicaid, failure to address the underlying structural issues will perpetuate program inefficiencies and poor outcomes. This issue brief outlines an alternative approach to slowing expenditure growth while improving the economic status of Americans with disabilities. The proposed plan addresses the work disincentives and fragmentation that drive up program costs.
On February 13, 2012, the President announced the 2013 Budget Request for Career and Technical, and Adult Education. The budget for the Office of Voctaional Education & Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education, represents an overall proposed increase of $1.7 billion, or of 2.5% in discretionary funding, for a 2.5% increase above the enacted FY 2012 budget. Three key themes are sounded in this budget: - College Costs: Ensuring Affordability and Quality in Postsecondary Education; - Teachers: Strengthening the Teaching Profession; and - Jobs: Aligning Job Training and Education Programs With Workforce Demands The budget provides $850 million for Race to the Top and $300 million in new resources to improve child care quality and prepare children for success in school. The budget funds improvements in the quality of postsecondary offerings, makes college more affordable, and helps achieve the president’s goal of the U.S. leading the world in college graduates by 2020. This will be accomplished by sustaining the maximum Pell Grant award, preventing student loan interest rates from doubling this summer, doubling the number of work-study jobs, making permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, and providing new incentives for colleges to keep costs under control. The budget supports state and community college partnerships with businesses to build the skills of American workers.
"Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success," is a curriculum which focuses on teaching "soft" or workforce readiness skills to youth,including youth with disabilities. Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is modular, hands-on activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.
The Role of Public Transportation as a Job Access Mode: Lessons from a Survey of Persons with Disabilities in New Jersey by Andrea Lubin and Devajyoti Deka, Ph.D., researchers at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, examines the role of public transportation in providing job access to persons with disabilities. The paper draws from a survey of persons with disabilities implemented during a seven-month period beginning in September 2010. The survey was distributed through the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and other venues. The survey was distinctive in that, unlike many other studies, it acquired data from persons who are actively seeking employment. The paper provides information on the availability, usage, needs, barriers, and perceptions of the survey respondents about different public transit modes, and discusses the implications for agencies providing public and human services transit. The report also includes a review of recent literature on accessible work transportation and the role of public transportation for people with disabilities. Survey data show that public transit is widely used by people seeking employment. In spite of accessibility improvements, challenges remain. The cost of service has increased, making cost optimization a significant challenge for public transit agencies providing services to people with disabilities. Although public transit agencies could reduce costs by attracting larger numbers to fixed-route transit, people with certain disabilities may avoid fixed-route transit due to difficulties in accessing and interpreting service-related information, such as understanding transit schedules and announcements. Safety perceptions can also serve as barriers to public transit for people with disabilities. The authors conclude that public transportation is critical to job access for persons with disabilities.
The NTAR Center has recently released a report on Medicaid funding of employment supports and services for people with disabilities. recently released reports on Medicaid, Using Medicaid Funding to Support the Employment of People with Disabilities: A Federal Framework. State Medicaid agencies fund a range of supports and services for individuals with disabilities. As national public policy has recognized and emphasized the ability of individuals with disabilities to work, states have begun to integrate employment supports into the continuum of long-term care in Medicaid. This NTAR issue brief discusses the Federal legislative and regulatory framework for funding employment supports in Medicaid, and highlights examples of state innovations and best practices for using Medicaid to promote positive employment outcomes. The brief provides an overview of Medicaid eligibility, the types of benefits available under Medicaid, and the structure of Medicaid waivers. The brief then examines options for funding employment supports and services through Medicaid state plan and waiver services. The brief describes how service categories such as case management, habilitation, rehabilitation, and personal assistance can be used to finance services to directly and indirectly assist with the employment goals of individuals with disabilities. In conclusion, the issue brief notes that state policymakers have a range of options available to design initiatives that support disability employment, using Medicaid funds in combination with other federal and state resources.
The NTAR Leadership Center has recently released a report, Using Braided Funding Strategies to Advance Employer Hiring Initiatives that Include People with Disabilities, on using braided funding strategies to advance employment of people with disabilities Using Braided Funding Strategies to Advance Employer Hiring Initiatives that Include People with Disabilities. Many state and local disability employment services are operated by a number of different public and nonprofit agencies (e.g., the vocational rehabilitation system, the local school system, the One-Stop Career Center system, and many community-based employment service providers). These organizations often find it necessary to access funds from more than one program, agency, or funding stream. As a result, many program administrators and staff face the challenge of developing effective strategies to braid disability employment funding. This report profiles four employer-responsive programs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and Connecticut that have implemented braided funding strategies to support hiring initiatives with key business partners. These cases demonstrate advantages to braided funding strategies, particularly where participating businesses are able to deal with a single point of contact for funding and disability employment services.
Learn how to develop effective partnerships in order to build Career Pathways in your community, region, or State. This newly released guide provides a step-by-step outline, with integral tools, that you can use when convening workforce, education, human and social services, employers, organized labor and other partners.
Since 2003, the United States has designated the month of April as National Financial Literacy Month to stress the importance of financial literacy. A number of governmental and financial initiatives support this effort. The Administration is again challenging students, teachers, and parents to emphasize the importance of financial literacy. The U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Education have developed an Educator Toolkit to help prepare students for the test of knowledge of financial issues. From saving for college to managing personal expenses, the challenge can help students to learn about several topics that collectively constitute a basic understanding of personal finance. Another resource can be found at: www.mymoney.gov.
On April 11, 2012, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, issued a publication entitled, "Promoting Workforce Strategies for Reintegrating Ex-Offenders." When formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into the community, they face a number of barriers to employment. By providing ex-offenders with the supports and services they need to find and maintain employment, states can reduce recidivism. Participation in comprehensive education and employment programming while incarcerated and a continued connection to education and employment services after release have been shown to reduce recidivism. Using strategies such as progressive sanctions that hold ex-offenders accountable but that also keep them in the community connected to family and employment, can be just as effective, if not more effective, than a costly revocation. When ex-offenders are productively engaged in their communities, working and supporting their families, the community is safer and their families are more economically secure. According to the Pew Center on the States, there has not been significant improvement in the performance of corrections systems in many states despite the massive increase in corrections spending. More than 4 out of 10 adult offenders in the United States return to prison within three years of their release. This is not just significant for ex-offenders and their families but also for the communities in which they live and the taxpayers in the state. Strategies for Policy Makers 1.Enhance workforce preparation during incarceration. 2.Improve placement services. 3.Expand partnerships with employers. 4.Remove barriers to employment for ex-offenders. 5.Promote access to transportation by amending driving restrictions 6.Promote access to health care. 7.Support opportunities for affordable housing.
In April 2012, the New America Foundation issued "The Assets Report 2012: An Assessment of the Federal Asset-Building Budget." Excerpts... While recovery from the Great Recession appears be taking hold, economic hardship remains pervasive. Poverty is still on the rise and many families feel that the forces of recession have displaced them from the middle class. Expanding opportunities for upward mobility has become a common call. The spotlight remains focused on the American Dream, what it takes to achieve it, and the role of government in that process. We think of “success” as being able to raise a family, educate our children, buy a home, start a business, and live securely in our retirement years...Being able to save/accumulate assets is an essential foundation for success. Over time, these resources can be invested productively in ways that promote economic mobility and well-being. It is the mobility and resiliency features of savings and assets that justify the wide range of Federal policies and programs intended to promote their accumulation. In our calculations, direct spending programs and policies that are embedded in the tax code together account for $548 billion in pro-savings and asset building resources for fiscal year 2013. Given the scale of these commitments and the importance of their objectives, these policies deserve scrutiny to insure that these investments are achieving their intended outcomes. Our assessment of policy, however, reveals several fundamental inequities. The poorest Americans, who have had the most difficulty saving and for whom appropriate interventions would have the greatest impact, are instead offered less accessible or meaningful ways to accumulate assets compared to middle- and upper-income families. If we are to broaden savings and asset ownership, we must understand how the Federal government’s policy affects asset building for low and moderate-income Americans, including persons with disabilities.
On April 16, 2012, The U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration(ETA0 announced the availability of approximately $20 million in grants to fund cooperative agreements that will improve educational, training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. These grants represent the third round of funding through the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a joint program of the Labor Department’s ETA and Office of Disability Employment Policy. “These grants are a wise investment in America’s greatest resource, our nation’s workers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The mission of the programs awarded under these grants will be to improve services for people with disabilities so they can more easily and effectively participate in the workforce.” Grants will be awarded to state workforce agencies, which will collaborate with local workforce investment boards. Programs supported by the grants will build upon the Labor Department’s Disability Program Navigator Initiative and other models of service delivery strategies. The department anticipates awarding six to 10 grants, ranging from $1.5 to $6 million, to be spent over a three-year period. The complete solicitation for grant applications is available at http://www.doleta.gov/grants/find_grants.cfm. Prospective applicants are encouraged to view the online tutorial “Grant Applications 101: A Plain English Guide to ETA Competitive Grants” at http://www.workforce3one.org/page/grants_toolkit.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has issued a "Snapshot" which provides information on accessible computer stations for persons with different disabilities (including mobility, low-vision, blind, hard of hearing, deaf, and cognitive). It also provides links to a variety of related resources.