President Obama Signs Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
On July 22, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. The new law marks the first major update to federal job training programs in more than 15 years and will help to streamline and coordinate workforce and adult education programs at the federal, state, and local levels. At the State level, WIOA establishes unified strategic planning requirements and common performance measures across "core" programs, which include: Title I Adult; Dislocated Worker and Youth programs; Adult Education and Literacy programs; the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service; and Title I of the Rehabilitation Act programs. WIOA also refocuses the youth formula program on providing services to disconnected youth by requiring that a minimum of 75% of funding be used to assist out-of-school youth compared to 30% under WIA. WIOA increases individuals with disabilities' access to high-quality workforce services to prepare them for competitive, integrated employment. It requires better employer engagement and promotes physical and programmatic accessibility to employment and training services for individuals with disabilities. Under WIOA, youth with disabilities receive extensive pre-employment transition services to obtain and retain competitive, integrated employment, and 15% of Vocational Rehabilitation Funding is to be directed toward assisting youth transitioning into the workforce. The law also creates an Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities. Youth from NCWD/Youth and Institute for Educational Leadership programs who could benefit from this new legislation were present at the signing of WIOA.
Obama Administration Releases Report on America's Job Training Programs
In his 2014 State of the Union Address, and as part of his plan to make 2014 a Year of Action, President Obama announced that he was asking the Vice President to lead a review of federal training programs in order to identify and implement steps to make these programs more "job-driven": to be responsive to the needs of employers in order to effectively place ready-to-work Americans in jobs that are available now or train them in the skills needed for better jobs. On July 22, 2014, the President and Vice President announced the results and Vice President Biden released Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity, a new report that details these actions and highlights successful job-driven strategies.
President Obama Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT Workers
On July 21, 2014, President Obama signed an executive order (EO) prohibiting workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the federal government and by federal contractors and subcontractors. This executive order amends EO 11246, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories in the existing Executive Order covering federal contractors, and it amends EO 11478 to include gender identity within the protected categories in the EO covering federal civilian workers.
South Dakota Disability Employment Initiative Produces Disability Disclosure Video
The South Dakota Disability Employment Initiative recently shared a video on the topic of disability disclosure. The video features personal testimonies by South Dakotans with visible and hidden disabilities on their choices to disclose or not disclose their disabilities in education and workplace settings. NCWD/Youth has several resources available to inform young people with disabilities, as well as their family members and youth service professionals, how to determine appropriate methods of disclosure including: The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities;The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Families, Educators, Youth Service Professionals, and Adult Allies Who Care About Youth with Disabilities; and the supplemental Cyber Disclosure for Youth with Disabilities.
NCWD/Youth's Host Organization Seeking Applications for Education Policy Fellowship Program
NCWD/Youth's host organization, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) is now recruiting for the 2014-2015 cohort of the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP™). EPFP prepares high-potential individuals for positions of leadership in education and related fields. The program recruits over 200 Fellows annually and operates in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The 10-month program provides a forum in which Fellows broaden their understanding of education issues through cross-sector and cross-boundary learning. The knowledge and understanding of leadership and policy as well as the networks developed during the EPFP experience provide a foundation upon which Fellows help to strengthen the education community and build their careers.
DOL Announces Funding for Community Colleges to Improve Employment Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is seeking applicants for two cooperative agreements with institutions of higher education to better meet the inclusive educational and career development needs of young people with disabilities through the Pathways to Careers: Community Colleges for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project. Grant recipients will work across various youth-serving systems and use the Guideposts for Success developed by NCWD/Youth and ODEP as a framework in developing their projects. Each cooperative agreement awardee may receive up to $1,041,650. Applications will be accepted until August 11, 2014 and grants will be awarded by September 30, 2014. The full grant announcement (SCA-14-03), including eligibility requirements, is available at grants.gov.
ODEP and NCD to Host Online Dialogue on STEM Careers for People with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the National Council on Disability (NCD) announced the third online dialogue in their three-part series, Encouraging People with Disabilities to Pursue Careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The purpose of this dialogue is to gather insight, ideas, and recommendations on how to take the necessary steps to ensure that job opportunities in the STEM fields are open to everyone, including people with disabilities, and that individuals with disabilities are able to secure and succeed in those positions. Participants are encouraged to contribute their ideas on how to increase the number of people with disabilities pursuing STEM careers, as well as suggestions on how to provide better support to ensure successful employment outcomes in these growing fields. The virtual event began July 28, 2014, and will run through August 8, 2014.
Science Magazine and AAAS Publish Resource on Postsecondary Students with Disabilities in STEM Fields
Science Magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) published From College to Careers: Fostering Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in STEM, the product of a collaborative project initiated to examine current issues and explore future directions for improving the academic success and career entry rate of postsecondary students with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This publication contains chapters prepared by four groups of invited authors who shared their research findings on the topics of accessible environments, programmatic interventions, communications, and sustainability.
PACER Launches Updated Student-to-Student Bullying Prevention Program
PACER Center, a partner in the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, recently launched the WE WILL Generation™ version 2.0, a nationwide campaign and online peer curriculum that provides students with the inspiration and education to take action against bullying in schools, the community, and online. The new version features a streamlined curriculum, a new mobile-friendly web design, increased opportunities for teens to share videos and stories, and more creative activities for students to do with their peers. The program is focused on providing practical, concrete strategies for students to intervene in instances of bullying.
Got Transition Launches Redesigned Website and Updated Resources
The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, which operates the federally-funded national resource center on health care transition (Got Transition), recently announced the release of updated clinical resources on transition from pediatric to adult health care. The Six Core Elements of Health Care Transition (Version 2.0) define the basic components of transition support. Got Transition also launched its newly redesigned website to coincide with the release of the updated Six Core Elements. The site includes an interactive health provider section that corresponds to the Six Core Elements' practice settings. It also includes a set of frequently asked transition questions developed by and for youth/young adults and families.
Annie E. Casey Foundation Publishes 2014 Kids Count Data Book
The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently published the 2014 Kids Count Data Book, an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Using an index of 16 indicators, the 2014 report ranks states on overall child well-being and in four domains: (1) economic well-being, (2) education, (3) health, and (4) family and community. For 2014, the three highest-ranked states for child well-being were Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa; the three lowest-ranked were Nevada, New Mexico, and Mississippi. The report also provides national trends, comparing the latest data with mid-decade statistics.
Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics Publishes Special Report on Young Adults
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum), a collection of federal agencies seeking to foster coordination and collaboration in the collection and reporting of federal data on children, youth, and families, published America's Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014, a one-time report on young adults in the United States, ages 18-24. The report includes data from nationally representative, federally sponsored surveys, summarized under five key themes: education; economic circumstances; family formation; civic, social, and personal behavior; and health and safety.
New America Foundation Publishes New Brief on Federal Funding for Students with Disabilities
The New America Education Foundation recently published a new Policy Brief entitled Federal Funding for Students with Disabilities: The Evolution of Federal Special Education Finance in the U.S. The brief provides a history of special education financing in the U.S. The report also presents a detailed analysis of special education finance data for more than 9,000 school districts across the United States and discusses challenges for the future of special education finance policies.