On October 26, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and Office of Disability Employment Policy conducted an in-depth roundtable discussion on how the workforce system can better serve youth with disabilities. The purpose of the Roundtable was to assist DOL in identifying critical issues and successful strategies that impact the provision of employment and training services provided to this population under the Workforce Investment Act. Specifically focused on youth with disabilities, ages 14-24, the Roundtable looked at the broad issues affecting these youth, as well as issues specifically surrounding mental health and learning disabilities. DOL intends to utilize the information collected from this dialogue to formulate guidance, policies, recommendations, and successful strategies that will expand the capacity of our workforce system to:
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%.
ETA has issues a Training and Employment Notice(TEN)to encourage the public workforce system to partner with TANF agencies in their efforts to promote subsidized employment opportunities allowable under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) TANF Contingency funding for the creation and expansion of subsidized summer employment for low-income youth. It also encourages co-enrollment of youth in TANF and appropriate WIA programs so individuals can benefit from WIA services such as supportive services,occupational skills training,and other relevant services.
The U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services have jointly identifies areas of collaboration that support training and employment opportunities for low-income families, particularly opportunities to place eligible TANF participants in subsidized employment in the summer of 2010. It is DOL's hope that this national partnership focused on subsidized employment will be modeled throughout state and local TANF and workforce agencies. The need for this partnership comes at a critical time-- overall teen employment rate has remained devastatingly low, reaching levels not seen in 60 years. Unfortunately, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the proportion of young people employed in July 2009 was 51.4 percent. This is the lowest July rate for the series, which began in 1948. While the WIA summer youth employment funding under ARRA has been nearly expended,significant TANF Emergency Contingency funding remains and TANF agencies can choose to commit some of those funds to subsidized employment programs for low-income youth.
Individuals with disabilities and family members with disabilities comprise a disproportionately high percent of the population receiving TANF benefits.
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.
Charting the Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ld-guide This guide is intended to help practitioners, administrators, and policymakers in secondary and postsecondary education programs, transition programs, One-Stop Career Centers, youth employment programs, and community rehabilitation programs to improve services and outcomes for youth, ages 14 to 25, with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities. This Guide includes numerous quick reference charts, tables, and tools for counselors, career advisors, and other professionals who work directly with youth. In-depth information is provided on a variety of topics, including the types and impact of learning disabilities, needed supports, and research-based interventions. This Guide is intended to increase awareness of the fact that the public workforce system serves many youth who have learning disabilities that may never have been identified and many others who may know they have a learning disability but choose not to disclose. Although focusing primarily on youth with learning disabilities, many of the strategies and approaches advocated in this Guide, which are premised on universal design, may be of practical use for other youth.
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 US Business Leadership Network (BLN) has just issued a "Guide to Business-Branded Internships." The US BLN is the national disability organization that serves as the collective voice of over 60 BLN affiliates across North America, representing 5,000 employers. The USBLN: recognizes and supports best practices in the employment and advancement of people with disabilities; the preparedenss for work of youth and students with disabilities; and contracting with vendors with disabilities through the development and certification of disability-owned businesses The USBLN affiliates are business organizations headed by a lead employer who exemplifies best practices and shares experiences with other members-employers-within the state or region. These activities include career fairs, disability mentoring and internship, programs, and training programs, including disability business etiquette, accommodation, and other disability issues significant to employers. The USBLN belives the inclusion of students with disabilities is essential to assist business in preparing a talented and diversified American workforce to take on tomorrow's challenges. The USBLN created the TOWER Initiative to be proactive in providing students with disabilities,as well as businesses, the tools on work and employment readiness necessary to meet the demands of employers. Through the TOWER Initiative, the USBLN created this Toolkit to help employers include students with disabilities in new or existing internship programs. For more information about the USBLN visit: www.usbln.org.
The U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is committed to helping all workers obtain "good jobs". This includes helping to eliminate multiple challenges to employment of youth with disabilities. Youth with disabilities experience particularly poor employment and education outcomes. The December 2010 employment rate for youth (ages 16 to 19) was 25 percent compared to an employment rate of 11.9 percent for youth with disabilities. For youth (ages 20 to 24) the employment rate was 60.6 percent for those youth without disabilities and 32.7 percent for those youth with disabilities (Labor Force Statistics, Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2010). The Institute for Community Inclusion, Boston,University of Massachusetts has produced the following four (4) Information Briefs on this topic which are useful to the One-Stop Career Centers: 1) WIA-Youth Overview; 2) WIA Youth Service Provider Overview; 3) Getting Involved in Transition; and 4) Transition and One-Stop Career Centers.
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 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
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 Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) just issued Data Note, No. 34, 2011, "Setting Higher Employment Expectations for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities" Integrated employment is a critical goal because it leads to greater economic self-sufficiency, social inclusion, and personal satisfaction. Unfortunately, high schools do not always include integrated employment as a primary goal in the transition plans of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Moreover, in some cases sheltered employment is listed as the primary goal. Only 53% of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities had integrated employment listed as a primary goal in their transition plans, and 10% had sheltered employment listed as a primary goal. However, a substantial number of students who did not have integrated employment as a primary goal transitioned to work after high school. The relatively high number of students who worked despite not having integrated employment as a primary goal in their transition plans indicates that high schools may underestimate the employment potential of some students. At the same time, setting goals is not enough. The high number of students who did not progress to work—despite having had integrated employment as their primary goal—indicates that more needs to be done to assist students’ transition to employment.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
On May 16, 2012, DOL/ETA issues Training and Employment Notice (TEN) No. 46-11, Announcement of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Program Reference Tool. This TEN provides an array of valubale resources (Web sites) for workforce practitioners and others. Examples of state resources are included.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 1 in 29 Americans, from our country’s service men and women to abused children and survivors of rape, domestic violence and natural disasters. June is PTSD Awareness Month. This impacts upon employment. Refer to the attached docuemnt for resources
The Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University, June, 2012, issued a new publication, "Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees." Excerpts from article in Inside Higher Eductaion Newsletter...The certificate is the odd man out in the debate over college completion. But the little-understood certificate is the fastest-growing form of college credential, and a key component of work force development. Those were among the findings of a new report, released today by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, that found that certificates make up 22 percent of all college awards, up from 6 percent in 1980... Growth in the earning of certificates has largely been driven by the labor market, as more jobs require college-based training. Certificates are earned through seat time in a classroom, the study notes, with more than half taking less than a year to complete. Industry-based certifications, which are often confused with certificates, are typically awarded based on tests. Over all, a certificate is the highest form of education held by about 1 in 10 American workers, according to the study, which collected and crunched data from several government sources. And certificate holders earn 20 percent more than workers who hold only a high school diploma. More surprising, however, is the finding that fully one-third of certificate holders also have an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree. Such a large percentage suggests that workers are getting certificates to bolster skills or learn new ones in a tight job market. And people are going back to college for certificates throughout their careers, with a third of certificates earned by students over the age of 30.
The U.S. Census Bureau issued, "Americans with Disabilities, 2010, Census Bureau Report"(July 2012). About 56.7 million people, 19 percent of the population (nearly 1 in 5 people), had a disability in 2010 with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe. This report provides estimates of disability by status and type. According to the report, the total number of people with a disability increased by 2.2 million over the period, but the percentage remained statistically unchanged. Both the number and percentage with a severe disability increased, however. Likewise, the number and percentage needing assistance also both increased. The report shows that 41 percent of those age 21 to 64 with any disability were employed, compared with 79 percent of those with no disability. Along with the lower likelihood of having a job came the higher likelihood of experiencing persistent poverty; that is, continuous poverty over a 24-month period. Among people age 15 to 64 with severe disabilities, 10.8 percent experienced persistent poverty; the same was true for 4.9 percent of those with a nonsevere disability and 3.8 percent of those with no disability. The statistics are from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which contains supplemental questions on whether respondents had difficulty performing a specific set of functional and participatory activities. For many activities, if a respondent reported difficulty, a follow-up question was asked to determine the severity of the limitation, hence, the distinction between a “severe” and "nonsevere" disability. In addition to the statistics from this report, the Census Bureau also produces annual disability estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS). While the ACS uses a different definition of disability than in this report, it produces estimates of the population with disabilities at subnational geographies like states, counties, places and metropolitan areas.
The Kessler Foundation and the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development released a new research brief on disability and employment," "Strategies to Support Employer-Driven Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities." It explores a growing trend among employers to establish initiatives to increase the participation of workers with disabilities in their workplaces. These initiatives involve partnerships with local workforce and disability service organizations. Coordinated by a single agency (or small number of agencies), employers gain access to assistance and support services for recruitment, training, and job retention for employees with disabilities. This new brief, one in a series on disability and employment, examines the successful partnership initiatives that have enabled employers to hire people with disabilities. The brief profiles the following successful disability employment initiatives: 1. Walgreens Distribution Centers, which exceeded its target of hiring 30% of its Anderson, NC center's workforce through a partnership with disability service providers, and found that efficacy increased by 20%. 2.NOD's Bridges to Business program, which helped Lowe's establish a successful and sustainable hiring initiative for its distribution centers. 3.The Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services' Industry-Specific Training and Placement Program, which provided grants to five community rehabilitation providers to partner with major employers, eg, Lowe's, HomeGoods, Mohegan Sun Casino, CVS and Walgreens. 3. Wal-Mart's partnership with Project SEARCH, a school-to-work transition program, provides real-life work experiences that help young adults with disabilities explore careers and sample jobs that suit their skills and interests. 4.Reddwerks, a software company based in Austin, disability-friendly distribution management systems software has enabled employers to expand their pool of job candidates with disabilities.