People with disabilities can work and want to work. Given the growing body of evidence that demonstrates that workers with disabilities meet or exceed the job performance of co-workers without disabilities, the continuing high unemployment rate and low labor force participation rate of people with disabilities deprive the nation of a valuable pool of talent. Increasing the employment of people with disabilities produces significant benefits to the economy, the nation, and people with disabilities themselves.
The primary focus of the survey was to determine how knowledgeable HR professionals are regarding various governmental incentives for hiring individuals with disabilities. In addition, the survey sought to find out how many companies actually take advantage of employer incentives and who in companies make decisions about using them. A secondary focus of the survey was to assess HR professionals’ attitudes and opinions regarding the impact of the ADA on the employment of individuals with disabilities; determine the level of effort companies expend in recruiting individuals with disabilities; and gain insight into senior managements' personal experiences with disabilities. Furthermore, the survey sought the opinions of HR professionals on how best to improve the employment of individuals with disabilities
According to the U.S. Census in 2007, of the 23.6 million military veterans in the United States, 6 million had disabilities. In addition, an increasing number of disabled veterans will be returning from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other mental and physical disabilities resulting from their tours of duty. If the One-Stop Career Centers are to meet the challenges of serving the increasing number of disabled veterans seeking employment services, there needs to be collaboration and coordination between the public workforce investment system and programs that serve disabled veterans. This information brief highlights DPNs successful strategies by partnering with the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program and Local Veterans Employment Representative staffing to provide access to the full array of services available to disabled veterans through the public workforce investment system.
Since the inception of the DPN initiative in 2003, DPNs have focused on the coordination of integrated services to job seekers with multiple challenges to employment. With considerable knowledge on resources within the workforce investment system and in the community, DPNs often see the “big picture” or the many pieces needed to form the puzzle. This information brief highlights the use of Integrated Resource Teams, which represent one approach DPNs are using to bring together multiple partners across service systems helping to build teams who work together to combine resources and help job seekers reach employment goals.
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%.
Transportation plays a critical role in providing access to employment, health care, education, community services, and other activities necessary for daily life. For people who cannot drive or afford an automobile, access to public transportation services is one of the major barriers to essential services and participation in community life. Transportation challenges can be even greater for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with limited incomes. The Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) includes 11 federal departments, 9 of which are responsible for providing transportation for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with limited incomes. CCAM officially launched United We Ride in 2004 to: (1) Provide more rides for target populations for the same or fewer assets; (2) Simplify access; and (3) Increase customer satisfaction. CCAM asked the National Academy of Public Administration (National Academy) and Easter Seals Project ACTION to develop and host the first United We Ride (UWR) National Dialogue. The goal of the Dialogue was to help shape future policy direction and provide input to the next CCAM strategic plan. The United We Ride National 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 attached docuemnt is the Final Report from the UWR Dialogue.
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 very successful strategy has been facilitating the One-Stop Career Centers to become Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Read the full Brief to learn about more strategies, resources and examples of how the One-Stop Career Center system can help support jobseekers with low-incomes during tax season.
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.
The Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Initiative has just issued another promising practices information brief as part of a series of publications. This Brief is entitled: "Maximizing the Self-Sufficiency of Youth with Disabilities in the One-Stop Career Center System." Colorado and Minnesota are highlighted in the attached Information Brief, which includes outcomes, successful strategies, case studies, and resources.
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.
The Report was prepared by Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), Inc. under contract with the Employment and Training Administration. The purpose of this report was to conduct a quantitative evaluation of the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative through the use of the One-Stop Career Center system by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. The study was conducted with Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon, which were early implementers of the DPN initiative and were willing to share their Workforce Investment Act (WIA) adult and dislocated worker and Wagner-Peyser (W-P) data base information for the period Program Year 2002 – Program Year 2007. The data runs were matched with SSI and SSDI Ticket to Work (TTW) record system. The target population for the study was adults age 21 and over. In addition to determining if the impact of the DPN would effect WIA and W-P service and outcome levels for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries, it was also intended to gain understanding of the: • Extent to which One-Stop Career Centers are serving persons who are SSA disability beneficiaries; • Characteristics of SSI/SSDI beneficiaries receiving these services; • Nature of the services received; and • How services and outcomes for beneficiaries compared with SSI/SSDI beneficiaries nationally. Key findings include: • One-Stop Career Centers are serving a very large share of persons receiving SSA disability benefits and the public workforce system is providing important support for SSA disability beneficiaries who want to work; • SSA beneficiaries who used One-Stop services achieved positive employment outcomes.
The US DOL/ETA has just issued TEN 1-10, Release and availability of an ETA quantitative evaluation report, "Use of One-Stops by Social Security Disability Beneficiaries in Four States Implementing Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Initiatives." ETA contracted out with Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), Inc. to condcut a quantitative evaluation of the DPN initiative through the use of the One-Stop Career Cenetr system by Supplemental Security Income(SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. The stduy was condcuted in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, and Oregon, which were early implementers of the DPN Initiative and were willing to share their Workforce Investment Act adult and dislocated worker and Wagner-Peyser data base information for program years 2002-2007. The data runs were matched with the SSI and SSDI Ticket to Work records system. This Reoport docuemnted that a very aklrge number of SSA disability beneficiaries are using the services of the public workforce system and achieving positive employment outcomes. The report is located here: http://disability.workforce3one.org/view/2001018107873517795/info
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.
Mathematica Policy Research Inc, issued an Information Brief, "Assisting TANF Recipients with Disabilities to Obtain and Maintain Employment." Assessment often is the first step in helping TANF recipients living with a disability find and maintain employment. While some TANF recipients living with a disability enter TANF fully aware of their disability, many do not. It is estimated that approximately 37% of TANF recipients have disabiliites, mainly cognitive, learning, and psychiatric disabilties. There are multiple strategies that TANF agencies can employ to identify recipients whose program participation or employment difficulties may be influenced by the presence of a disability or to develop an appropriate employment plan once a disability is identified. This Brief describes five different approaches to assessment: disability screening, psychosocial assessments, clinical and psychological assessments, functional needs assessments and vocational assessments.
In July, 2010, Ernst & Young developed a Handbook, " Getting Support, Supporting Others: A handbook for working with non-visible disabilities." This hanbook is targeted to persons with disabilities, HR staff, and supervisors/co-workers. The handbook's purpose is to provide a basic level of understanding among employees in the hopes of fostering an environment "where everybody is limited only by talents, skills, and energy." The handbook defines "non-visible disability" and explores the pros and cons of disclosure, and addresses questions that employees with disabilities and their managers might have about how much information to share, how to handle questions about accommodations from co-workers, and how to deal with resentment or backlash from collegaues who perceive an accommodation as special teatment. "One of the most difficult decisions an individual with a non-obvious disability has to make is whether to inform people or not." Increasingly, the One-Stop Career Center system is seeing customers who have non-visible/non-diagnosed/non-identified disabilities.
DOL/ETA's Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) has recently compiled a Guide, "Resources for Senior Community Services Employment (SCSEP) Grantees Working with Persons with Disabilities." This Guide is organized as follows: Disability 101/Etiquette/Definitions, Disclosure, Reasonable Accommodations, Mental Health Resources, Working with Employers, Workforce3One Web sites/Tools, National Technical Assistance Resources, Disability Laws and Regulations, and Information/ Contacts on the DEI Grants. It is directed to front-line staff.
The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has issued a Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) on supporting entrepreneurial and self-employment training through the workforce investment system. The purpose of the TEGL is to encourage states to establish parameters for funding such training under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act which authorizes the provision of entrepreneurial training to adult and dislocated workers, and authorizes entrepreneurial work experiences for youth. The TEGL replaces an earlier guidance letter and provides more detailed information about designing and implementing entrepreneurial and self-employment training strategies for adults, dislocated workers, and youth, and provides guidance about allowable costs and outcome tracking. The TEGL notes that entrepreneurship and small business development have been identified as an important employment option for populations that have challenges to employment. For example, self-employment may offer individuals with disabilities greater workplace flexibility and income opportunities. The TEGL identifies self-employment as a potential strategy for Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) grantee states. The guidance letter describes a variety of ways in which the workforce investment system can support entrepreneurship and self-employment. The TEGL also addresses performance accountability issues and suggests strategies such as using supplemental data sources and administrative records to assist in reporting on employment, retention and earnings measures. The TEGL is available at http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/TEGL/TEGL12-10acc.pdf.
Office of Vocational Adult Education's (OVAE Office of Correctional Education, within the Division of Adult Education and Literacy, recently released the report Community-based Correctional Education, which presents information from 15 community-based education programs in 10 states—from charter schools to technical colleges and adult education programs. They provide services for individuals serving all or part of a criminal sentence under parole or probation. Community-based correctional education has attracted attention as a potentially cost-effective way to address two challenges: rising correctional costs and the needs of those in the inmate population who generally have lower literacy and workforce skills than those in the general population. The report describes characteristics of community-based correctional education programs, their presence as viable and more cost-efficient alternatives to incarceration for improving public safety and decreasing recidivism rates, and the challenges and implications for state and federal policies in addressing these issues.
For more information you may access the full report at:http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/cbce-report-2011.pdf
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
On March 15, 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ)released a new publication, “ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business.” This publication is designed to assist small businesses understand the new and updated accessibility requirements. In addition, DOJ is announcing the release of a new publication explaining when the various provisions of its amended regulations will take effect. Both documents are available tomorrow on DOJ's ADA website, www.ada.gov.
On April 11, 2011, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) just released a Occasional Paper: Workforce System One-Stop Services for Public Assistance and Other Low-Income Populations: Lessons Learned in Selected States.
Under a grant from ETA, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government(Rockefeller) undertook a field network research study of selected sites to examine how Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) customers are served by the Workforce Investment Act’s (WIA) One-Stop Career Centers. The research sought to define the nature of the cooperative, administrative, operational, and financial relationships between WIA and TANF programs.
This report contains a set of structured case studies of the relationship between WIA and TANF programs in Sacramento and Modesto Counties in California; Macon and Columbus Counties in Georgia; and the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County in Missouri. To inform this report, Rockefeller gathered and analyzed information on the experiences of key stakeholders in settings with a successful track record of serving TANF and other low-income populations through One-Stop Career Centers, where such experience is the result of local decisions rather than centralized state services or state-mandated program alignments. Rockefeller conducted interviews and on-site observations with key informants, including senior administrative and program management at the selected One-Stop Career Centers and the local Workforce Investment Board (WIB), as well as contacts with the employment and social service agencies at the state and county levels. The study also included an analysis of administrative data on client caseloads, types of services, and performance indicators
The US Business Leadership Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently issued a publication, "Leading Practices on Disbaility Inclusion." Successful businesses recognize that incorporating disability in all diversity and inclusion practices positively impacts their companies’ bottom line. Corporate CEOs understand that it is cost-effective to recruit and retain the best talent regardless of disability. Chief technology officers know that technologies that are usable by all employees lead to greater productivity. Senior purchasing managers recognize the economic benefits of broadening their supplier bases to include diverse categories, such as disability owned businesses, and savvy marketing directors eagerly embrace opportunities to increase their companies’ share of new markets. While businesses sometimes encounter serious challenges as they seek to implement inclusion strategies, many employers have overcome these hurdles with robust and creative practices. Through the Leading Practices on Disability Inclusion initiative, the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN?) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce invited business leaders to share their successful disability inclusion strategies. This publication highlights successful strategies that can be used by businesses of all sizes to create a more inclusive workplace, marketplace, and supply chain. Real-life examples, such as these, are important to help businesses realize the wide range of opportunities available and the potential for replicating success. The companies and leaders featured in this publication provide valuable insights on the successes they have realized through the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of their corporate enterprises as well as in their marketing. In addition to these effective strategies, an assessment is included as a tool to initiate or enhance your company’s disability-friendly corporate practices.
On May 13 2011, the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Federal Disability Insurance (DI) trust funds and the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) trust fund transmitted their 2011 annual reports to Congress and the Administration. Some of the major findings are:
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 Urban Institute just issued a Fact Sheet, "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Counters High Unemployment," July 2011 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) currently reaches 45 million people, which is an increase of 69 percent since the current economic recession began. This fact sheet discusses how SNAP caseloads and unemployment have increased both nationally and by state. Authors provide a map of the United States, which shows the concurrent increase in SNAP and unemployment across the country. For more information, please see: http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412365-supplemental-nutrition.pdf
'Disability Data in National Surveys, Final Report, Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), Inc., August 22, 2011. MPR has just released this comprehensive report to assess the need for developing and implementing another disability survey data collection effort. It has data from every major survey (over 40 surveys) that includes disability data. The Report was prepared for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
In view of the continuing need for transportation assistance and strained staff and budget resources, it is vital that One Stop Centers be able to leverage all currently available funding as well as all possible partnerships to serve their customers’ needs. The One Stop system is positioned to make significant strides in helping to forge transportation solutions, and there is much to be gained by a better-informed discourse among all stakeholders. This report, developed by the Community Transportation Association of America, is intended to be a foundation for that ongoing discourse and a forum through which One Stop Centers can share lessons learned and best practices. It includes reference to the impact of local areas that have Disability Program Navigators.
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 tool, developed by the One-Stop Ticket Success Project, provides a basic overview of Social Security disability benefits and the impact of employment on both cash and medical benefits. It can be used both by One-Stop Career Center staff to provide guidance to customers, as well as a handout for customers. It is intended to provide basic information that will help allay concerns individuals may have regarding benefit issues, and in turn provide encouragement to participate in Ticket to Work. The handout makes clear that benefit experts should be consulted for more comprehensive information. This tool can be used as is. However, it is suggested that Workforce Investment systems and One-Stop Career Centers add additional information to the flyer, including their specific Medicaid threshold level, and contact information for the local Work Incentive Planning and Assistance project and similar resources.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a new Report which provides state-by-state analysis of the prevalence of mental illness. This report finds that nationally almost 20 percent of all adults—44.5 million aged 18 or older—experienced mental illness in the past year. Among states, the highest rate of any mental illness occurred in Rhode Island (24.2 percent) while the lowest rate occurred in Maryland (16.7 percent), according to the study compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Nationally, 10.4 million adults aged 18 or older (4.6 percent of that population) experienced a serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year. Arkansas, Idaho, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia had the highest rates for both SMI and any mental illness. Alaska, Maryland, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Virginia had the lowest rates across both.