Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) throughout the country have developed and implemented successful strategies in the public workforce system to promote the employment and economic self-sufficiency of persons with disabilities. This Information Brief highlights how DPNs are improving access to financial education; home ownership ad entrepreneurial programs, and increased use of the Earned Income Tax Credit to expand economic opportunities of job seekers with disabilities. One asset building strategies being used. One very successful strategy has been facilitating the One-Stop Career Centers to become Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.
The GAO recently issued a report on how education needs a coordinated approach to improve its technical assistance postsecondary schools in supporting students with disabilities. Students with disabilities represent approximately 11% of all postsecondary students in 2008. The proportion of students that reported having attention deficit disorder increased from 7 to 19%.
U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Audit Reports http://www.oig.dol.gov/cgi-bin/oa_rpts.cgi?s=&y=all&a=03 Information on DOL's Efforts to Ensure Access for Persons with Disabilities to the One-Stop Career System Report No. 25-10-001-03-390 (March 10, 2010) Access the website above and then search for the report titled “Information on DOL's Efforts to Ensure Access for Persons with Disabilities to the One-Stop Career System.” The full report is 13.5 MBs. The attachment represents a one-page summary that includes a link to the full report.
Benefits & Employment Services for Veterans with Disabilities Homeless Veterans Reintegration Project (HVRP) Fact Sheet #9 http://www.hvrp.org/resources/content.cfm/879 There are a variety of benefit programs and employment services available to veterans who experience a disability that play a critical role in making meaningful employment happen. In the process of pursuing employment it is important to identify the current benefits (cash benefits and health insurance) a veteran is utilizing, to plan out any changes that might occur once working, if any, and identify special work rules those benefit programs may have that support work. Additionally, there are several employment programs that assist veterans in securing and maintaining employment. These programs can provide crucial support in developing a plan for employment and accessing needed services and support. This paper provides an overview of the main employment services and benefits available to veterans with disabilities.
As one of the key principles of WIA, universal access offered the promise of a welcoming, integrated, and user-friendly system. Job seekers would be able to independently tap into all available employment services, resulting in fewer requests for specialized assistance and more efficient use of staff resources. Under WIA and the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations would be provided upon request; however, One-Stop Career Centers would streamline services so that a wide-ranging population of job seekers, including job seekers with disabilities, would have direct access to their resources, programs and activities. With the addition of Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) in One-Stop Career Centers across the nation, universal access moved into the spotlight. Read the full Brief to learn how DPNs throughout the country are helping to expand universal access in One-Stop Career Centers for a more diverse population of job seekers.
This Guide was published by the Prisoner Reentry Institute, John Jay College, Spring 2008. It walks an offender through the process of setting educational goals and getting organized; enrolling in programs that best suits her/his needs; and receiving assistance to pay for college. This guide is intended to be helpful to offeners while in prison and in the community.
GAO convened a Forum on March 16, 2010, to explore policy options and actions that could be implemented to help adults with disabilities participate in the workforce. Several challenges were identified, including the need for: 1) a more coordinated system of services and benefits; 2) additional information on benefits and work incentives; 3) additional employer incentives to hire persons with disabilities; 4) targeted information to employers to make the business case to hire persons with disabilities; and 5) a coordinated Federal policy to promote the employment of persons with disabilities. The Report and Highlights can be downloaded at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-812SP Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d10812sphigh.pdf
The Department of Justice issued final regulations covering Titles II and III of the ADA to incorporate the changes made by the passage of the ADA Amendments Act (ADDAA) in 2008. Title II prohibits discrimination on the basis of disbaility in state and local government services. Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and in commercial facilities. The Department has prepared fact sheets identifying the major changes in the rules. Title II: Final Rule amending 28 CFR Part 35: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services -- (HTML) Text of Revised Final Title II Regulation. Title III: Final Rule amending 28 CFR Part 36: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities -- (HTML) Fact Sheets: Highlights of the Final Rule to Amend the Department of Justice’s Regulation Implementing Title II of the ADA Highlights of the Final Rule to Amend the Department of Justice’s Regulation Implementing Title III of the ADA http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/.
The Center for Workforce and Disabilities, American Public Human Services Association, recently issued a Report, entitled "Getting to Work: A Case Study Report on Accessible Transportation Projects." A lack of reliable, accessible, and affordable transportation is consistently cited as a barrier to employment by people with disabilities. The four Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) transportation projects (Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey) profiled in this Report illustrate a set of promising practices that address transportation needs. Although the MIG grants are not intended to provide or fund direct transportation services, state MIGs are well-positioned to use their resources to create linkages with other agencies and entities engaged in accessible transportation planning and service delivery. The four projects described in this Report suggest a set of strategies and activities that can help advance accessible transportation in states and in communities.
On Septmebr 30, 2010, DOL awarded $21.5 million to 9 states to implement the new Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). The major purposes of the DEI is to promote positive employment outcomes of persons with disabilities to achieve career pathway jobs and to expand the capacity of the One-Stop Career Center system to serve persons with disabilties.
The Center for American Progress just issued a Report, entitled "Degree Completion Beyond Institutional Borders: Responding to the New Reality of Mobile and Nontraditional Learners." This Report describes the avenues that colleges, states, and other organizations take to recognize prior learning and transfer credit. It also identifies the flaws in policies that block students from efficiently gaining credit as they move through and among institutions. The Report uses case studies to explore emerging and established examples of colleges and systems that make the most of the learning that students acquire without scarificing integrity or quality. It recommends best practices and new ways to think about the construction of a college degree by focusing on competencies and other learning outcomes, instead of merely credit hours.
On December 3, 2010, the Center for American Progress and Hamilton Project issued a Report, "Supporting Work: A Proposal for Modernizing the U.S. Disability Insurance System." Excerpts from the Report: The Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has served to protect U.S. workers and their families from poverty and loss of medical care in the event of work-limiting disability since its inception in 1956. The program has become a crucial piece of the U.S. social safety net, and it creates substantial net benefits for citizens. In the ensuing fifty years since the program’s introduction, medical care and assistive technologies for treating and accommodating work-limiting disabilities have advanced, the physical demands of the workplace have lessened, and the societal consensus on the proper objective for treatment of disabled workers has greatly evolved. The SSDI program was designed to provide income support (and, after 1965, medical care) to workers transitioning from employment to early retirement and, in many cases, death. This goal was progressive for its time but is no longer aligned with current societal objectives. A modern disability insurance system should properly focus on assisting individuals with disabilities to maintain economic self-sufficiency and to enjoy the many benefits of gainful employment. Thsi Report provides a proposal for universal private disability insurance as a blueprint for modernizing the structure of the SSDI program. Once in place, the reformed program will better support workers with disabilities to remain employed and encourage their self-sufficiency. It also will reduce the dual wastes stemming from spending too few societal resources on helping individuals with disabilities remain employed and too many societal resources on supporting unnecessary long-term dependency of individuals who could be self-sufficient with the appropriate accommodation and support.
Client Success through Partnership: 2010 TANF and Workforce Meeting, July 2010 The final report is now available! The Administration for Children and Families Regions VI and VIII and the Employment and Training Administration Region IV came together to host the Client Success through Partnership: 2010 TANF and Workforce Meeting in Dallas, Texas from July 25-27, 2010. The meeting contained a series of targeted discussion forums, interactive plenary sessions, and peer-to-peer breakouts coordinated to improve partnership and collaboration among TANF and workforce programs. Over the two and one-half days, attendees were exposed to a variety of sessions presented by more than 20 distinguished experts and peers from the TANF, workforce, social service, and research communities.
The "Promising Practice Brief: Connecting with the business sector on the advantages of a diverse and inclusive workforce" has been released, January 2011. This Brief highlights how the Texas Disability Program Navigators (DPNs)are leading the charge to promote the inclusion of disability as part of diversity within the public workforce development system and in their local communities. As staff members of local Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stop Career Centers, Navigators are working to ensure that disability is embedded into diversity management training that is offered to local businesses, as well as included in diversity awareness provided to workforce development system staff and partners. This Promising Practice Brief highlights replicable and successful strategies for ways to: incorporate topics on diversity, including tapping into the potential market of the disability community, onto the agenda of employer roundtables, business luncheons, employer focus groups, and Business Service meetings within the One-Stop Career Centers; collaborate with the local chapters of the Chambers of Commerce, Human Resource associations, job fair organizers, and others in the business sector to integrate disability into a wide spectrum of statewide and local diversity initiatives. A Workforce3One webinar will be held on this Brief in April...stay tuned for details.
The National Academy of Public Administration issued the United We Ride (UWR) National Dialogue Final Report." (February 2010) Transportation plays a critical role in providing access to employment, education, health care, community service, and other activities of community life. For people who do not drive or cannot afford an automobile, access to transportation services is one of the major barriers to essential services and everyday activities. Transportation challenges can be even greater for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with limited incomes. The UWR Dialogue brought together key stakeholders using collaborative web-based technologies to discuss the following broad question: "What ideas can improve access to affordable and reliable transportation for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with limited incomes?" The Dialogue had 783 registered participants. The four overarching themes were: 1) The process for creating coordinated transportation plans continues to need improvement; 2)Significant Federal policy barriers still exist to facilitate access to transportation services; 3) Mobility management strategies are underutilized in communities across the country; and 4) There are missed opportunities to bridge gaps between transportation and other community services.
Report Looks at Taxpayers with Disabilities In a report prepared for the IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) effort, Wage and Investment Research and Analysis profiled taxpayers with disabilities using results from the 2009 Benchmark Survey. This report provides an update of the 2007 Disability Report and aims to assist SPEC and its partners to better understand the characteristics and services used by taxpayers with disabilities and to identify possible outreach strategies. The analysis was limited to working-age taxpayers, and includes the following findings: ? Taxpayers with disabilities were more likely to be unemployed and/or on disability. Approximately 46 percent of taxpayers with disabilities reported being unemployed and/or on disability compared to 13 percent of taxpayers without disabilities. ? Respondents with disabilities are low income taxpayers. Over half of respondents with disabilities had an adjusted gross income of less than $20,000. ? On average, taxpayers with disabilities received $800 less Earned Income Tax Credit when compared to taxpayers without disabilities. ? Awareness and use of free tax preparation services/resources among respondents with disabilities was low. Approximately 36 percent of respondents with disabilities were aware of volunteer tax preparation clinics; however, only six percent reported using these services. ? Taxpayers with disabilities identified tax preparation companies as the potentially most important resource/service used in completing their tax return. For the full report, including recommendations, see http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4640.pdf.
Serving People with Psychiatric Disabilities in Centers for Independent Living: A Fact Sheet The national network of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) increasingly serves individuals with mental health challenges or a combination of mental health and physical/sensory disabilities. This new 20-page publication from the Temple University Collaborative provides CIL staff with clear and current information to help them better respond to the needs of people in recovery from mental illnesses. Developed in conjunction with CIL staff and mental health consumers from around the country, the Fact Sheet provides brief responses to twelve frequently asked questions (e.g., what is mental illness? where can people with psychiatric disabilities turn for clinical care and rehabilitation services? what impact is the mental health consumer movement having on MH system services? how can CIL staff respond to the needs of mental health consumers?) as well as online linkages to websites with more detailed information and instruction for each topic. The publication is designed both for individual CIL staff and for use in CIL staff training programs focusing on this growing portion of the CIL consumer base. Serving People with Psychiatric Disabilities in Centers for Independent Living: A Fact Sheet can be downloaded at no cost from the Temple University Collaborative's new website - tucollaborative.org - and is available in a variety of accessible formats.
With the passage of the Workforce investment Act (WIA) in 1998 came a powerful message that the training and employment needs of a diverse population of job seekers and employers would be met within a single, universal One-Stop Career Center system. As a key principle of WIA, universal access offers the promise of a welcoming, integrated and user-friendly system where job seekers of all ages from various racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and with a range of education and work experiences, can reach their training and career goals. For job seekers, including those with disabilities, who encounter any number of challenges to employment, the One-Stop Career Center system provides equal access, participation and opportunity.
To contribute to the groundwork established by WIA legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (DOL/ETA) directed funds through the Work Incentive Grant (WIG) projects and the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative. Both initiatives supported policy development and systems change activities within the One-Stop Career Center system to improve access and meaningful participation of job seekers, including those with disabilities and multiple challenges to employment.
Through a variety of innovative strategies and approaches, Disability Program Navigators (DPNs/Navigators) helped to expand the capacity of the public workforce system to effectively serve and accommodate a more diversified population of job seekers. As a result of these varied approaches, DPNs impacted the career advancement and self-sufficiency of a diverse population of job seekers, including those with disabilities, veterans, transitional youth, individuals who are homeless, ex-offenders and many other job seekers who are considered underserved and/or at-risk.
The Department of Education's, Office of Vocational Adult Education (OVAE) has recently posted a publication entitled, "Learning to Achieve: A Professional’s Guide to Educating Adults with Learning Disabilities." This publication is a free evidence-based resource Guude for educators who work with adults with learning disabilities (LD). This Guide can be used as a stand-alone resource or to reinforce and extend professional development delivered with the "Learning to Achieve" program. Chapters provide information on characteristics of adults with learning disabilities and match them with examples of practical intervention strategies.
Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation, Smart Growth America, February 2011. This Report analyzes states' investments in infrastructure to determine whether they made the best use of their spending based on job creation numbers. It evaluates how successful states have been in creating jobs with their flexible $26.6 billion of transportation funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
JAN has recently released two new Fact Sheetsb on The Interactive Process for the Reasonable Acccommodations Process. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the interactive process is not necessarily required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but from a legal standpoint, going through the process is a way for employers to show that they are making a good faith effort to comply with the ADA. And from a practical standpoint, it is a way to streamline the accommodation process and help insure that effective accommodations are provided. JAN Releases Fact Sheets on The Interactive Process: The Federal Sector. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires the Federal sector to provide effective, reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. To help determine effective accommodations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), recommends that agencies use an "interactive process," which simply means that employers and employees with disabilities who request accommodations work together. An effective interactive process is essential to Federal agencies in complying with Executive Order 13548.
Abt Associates and Mathematica Policy Research have issued a report that described the final design of the implementation and evaluation. BOND is intended to test changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) ogram, most notably a $1 for $2 benefit offset, that have the potential to help SSDI beneficiaries increase their earnings and income and reduce their reliance on SSDI benefits. The report opens by presenting the rationale behind the demonstration. The authors describe the “cash cliff” effect that results when beneficiaries have earnings in excess of Substantial Gainful Activity over a designated period of time. The authors also describe the macro-level challenges associated with the work disincentives in the SSDI program, including the growth of program expenditures that is outpacing growth in payroll taxes and other income that support the SSDI Trust Fund. In response, BOND will test whether eliminating the SGA cash cliff and replacing it with a ramp-a gradual reduction of benefits by only one dollar for every two dollars of countable earnings above the BOND threshold—can increase return to work and earnings. BOND will test other administrative and programmatic changes as well. These will include, for example, a demonstration system to facilitate and expedite earnings reporting. Additionally, the demonstration will test the provision of more intensive counseling, termed Enhanced Work Incentives Counseling. EWIC is expected to increase the impact of the offset by improving beneficiary understanding of how higher earnings will affect SSDI and other benefits. It is also expected to help beneficiaries access the medical treatments, employment supports, and job search assistance they might need to address other obstacles. The report is available at http://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/documents/BOND_Design%20Report_FINAL_Del2-2_12-17-10.pdf
The Economic Policy Institute has issued a publication entitled,"Different Race, Different Recession: American Indian Unemployment in 2010." There are two very different experiences of the recession in some regions of the country. While Alaska and the Northern Plains states have had some of the lowest unemployment rates for persons who are white since the start of the recession, these regions have had among the highest rates of joblessness for American Indians. This Issue Brief documents these extreme regional employment disparities, as well as the smaller but still significant ones between American Indians and persons who are white from the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2010. It presents American Indian and white unemployment rates and employment-to-population ratios nationally and broken down by region.
The key findings are:
Read Issue Brief #289, attached
In February 2011, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a Report, "Improving the Delivery of Key Work Supports: Policy and Practice Opportunities at a Critical Moment."
For more than 15 years, Federal and state governments have been working together to simplify enrollment in public benefit programs. Their work has been driven by the fact that the share of people who participate in public programs has not kept pace with the need; by a desire to make full use of the Federal resources available for low-income residents; and by the need to create more effective and efficient government services. These efforts have been successful in many ways. In some form or another, most states have implemented increasing access and simplifying policies, particularly in Federally-funded programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). They have streamlined processes, made procedures more customer-friendly, reduced paperwork, and sought to increase outreach to potentially eligible people. As a result, millions of low-income individuals who might not have obtained work supports now do. However, the work is far from complete. Often there is little coordination or seamless service delivery across programs. Although some states have coordination policies,the procedures needed to operationalize these policies are not implemented. In addition, few if any states have an effective,data-based system for determining whether families are in fact connected to the full range of programs for which they qualify.
Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families, is a 5-year project directed by the Urban Institute. It will provide nine states with the opportunity to design, test, and implement more effective, streamlined, and integrated approaches to delivering key supports for low-income working families. Visit: http://www.urban.org/worksupport/index.cfm
Holding a postsecondary credential leads to expanded career opportunities, better wages, and more options for the students who obtain one. Community colleges, with their open access policies and low tuition, are a vital pathway to postsecondary education for almost half of all U.S. undergraduates. Yet, only one-third of all students who enter community colleges with the intent to earn a degree or certificate actually meet this goal within six years of enrollment. Reasons for the low rate of completion among students include: entering community college under-prepared for college-level work; facing competing priorities outside of school, such as work obligations; and lacking adequate financial resources to fund their educations. These factors contribute to the unacceptably low persistence and completion rates. In response to these issues, MDRC developed the Opening Doors Demonstration in 2003, the first large-scale random assignment study in a community college setting. In partnership with six community colleges, MDRC helped develop and evaluate programs based on financial incentives, reforms in instructional practices, and enhancements in student services. Colleges were encouraged to focus on one strategy and to combine elements of the others to design programs that would help students both perform well academically and persist toward degree completion. Opening Doors provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can improve educational outcomes for community college students. The findings showed that more work must be done to determine if the early effects can last and to test even bolder reforms. To learn more about this demonstration project, visit the policy brief which describes the different strategies tested, discusses what has been learned from Opening Doors, and offers suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for their use. Federal Grant.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities issued A Brief: Determining Appropriate Assessment Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the nation’s major Federal law related to education in grades pre-kindergarten through high school. In its most recent reauthorization, ESEA became known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. Under NCLB public school students throughout the country must participate in annual testing in specific academic areas and grades outlined in the law, including students with disabilities. Requiring the inclusion of all students with disabilities in state- and district-wide assessments helps ensure that schools, school districts, and states are held accountable for the achievement of these students. According to NCLB, students with disabilities (those covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) must be provided the appropriate accommodation necessary to participate in these tests. Making determinations about the appropriate accommodations that students with disabilities need in order to fully and equally participate in large scale testing is a critical component of developing a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan. IEP/504 team members, must engage in a thoughtful process that determines the necessary accommodations to facilitate the student’s access to grade level instruction and full participation in state/district assessments. The selection of appropriate accommodations is the focus of this Brief.
The Institute of Community Inclusion just issued, "Job Seekers with Disabilities at One-Stop Career Centers: An Examination of Registration for Wagner-Peyser (W-P)Funded Employment Services, 2002 to 2009,"Data Note No. 32. The percentage of W-P Employment Service participants identifying as having a disability showed a steady increase from 2002, when it stood at 2.3%, to a high of 3.1% in 2005, and in 2009 was slightly below this at 2.7%. The overall demand for Wagner-Peyser services has grown significantly over this time period, due primarily to the increasingly high unemployment rate. However, the volume of customers with disabilities has increased at a much higher rate than the overall increase in customer volume. Overall customer volume grew by 50% from 2002 to 2009, while the volume of customers with disabilities over the same time period grew by 80%, from approximately 340,000 to 614,000. On a state-to-state basis, there is extensive variability in terms of the percentage of individuals identifying as having a disability. For example,in 2009, North Carolina had the highest percentage at 15.0%, followed by Wisconsin at 7.3%. On the other end, Mississippi, Montana, and Ohio were each at less than 1%. Looking at trends over time, most states have maintained a fairly consistent percentage of individuals identifying as having a disability, whether that percentage is above or below the national average. Among the consistent high performers have been Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, and in more recent years Idaho, all generally consistently above 5%. A few states have shown increases in the percentage of individuals with disabilities served over time. The most noteworthy is North Carolina, which increased from 3.5% in 2002 to 15.0% in 2009 (the top percentage in the country). Other states showing significant and steady increases over the same period include Colorado and Michigan.
This map compares the Wagner-Peyser Employment Services Percentage of People with Disabilties in 2002 and 2009. The National Average in 2002 was 2.3% and in 2009 was 2.7%. The map was based on data from the Institute of Community Inclusion, Data Note No. 32, 2011.
NTAR issued a Brief entitled, "Integrating Job Opportunities for People with Disabilities into State and Regional Economic and Workforce Development Strategies," Across the nation, state and regional economic and workforce development officials have begun to work together more systematically and strategically in an effort to better address the economic needs of a geographical area, including creating jobs for local residents. A new perspective has emerged that recognizes the need for a skilled and ready “talent pipeline” to support local economic growth. This Brief offers some background on recent trends in economic and workforce development strategies, and highlights two regions that have been piloting initiatives to include opportunities for people with disabilities in their regional activities.
The Wagner-Peyser (W-P) Act of 1933 established a nationwide system of public employment services, known as the Employment Service (ES). The Workforce Investment Act of 1998, made the ES part of the One-Stop Career Center service-delivery system. There are currently 1,800 comprehensive One-Stop Career Centers throughout the United States, as well as satellite and affiliate centers. One-Stop partners are encouraged to register everyone they serve (including people with disabilities)in the Labor Exchange Services funded by W-P. However, the data should be interpreted as a reflection, but not an absolute measure, of One-Stop performance, due to the following: a)variations from state to state in registration procedures and requirements (e.g., in some states, individuals can use some core One-Stop services without registering); and b)variations in the level of integration of W-P services within the One-Stop system. In examining and interpreting this data, it is important to note this data may not fully reflect the use of services by people with disabilities, as it does not include individuals with non-apparent disabilities who have declined to identify that they have a disability, or customers with disabilities not identified for other reasons. The percentage of ES participants identifying as having a disability showed a steady increase from 2002, when it stood at 2.3%, to a high of 3.1% in 2005, and in 2009 was slightly below this at 2.7%. The overall demand for W-P services has grown significantly over this time period, due primarily to the increasingly high unemployment rate. However, the volume of customers with disabilities has increased at a much higher rate than the overall increase in customer volume. Overall customer volume grew by 50% from 2002 to 2009, while the volume of customers with disabilities over the same time period grew by 80%, from approximately 340,000 to 614,000.