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Intersection Newsletter masthead.
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Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work

Volume 12, Number 1
January 2015

Welcome to Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work, the electronic newsletter of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth). The newsletter and the NCWD/Youth website offer information to improve programs and services for all youth and especially youth with disabilities.

IMPORTANT: In order to ensure the delivery of our publication to your inbox, please add our e-mail address,, to your address book and/or whitelist.

USDOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy Seeks Family Input on Postsecondary Success for Young Adults with Disabilities

From January 26 to February 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is hosting an online dialogue to hear the perspectives of family members of young adults with disabilities enrolled in postsecondary education, including certificate programs, apprenticeships, community colleges, and universities. Through this virtual town hall meeting, participants can share their ideas and insights on ways that postsecondary institutions and other organizations can better assist families of young adults with disabilities in supporting their educational and employment success. ODEP's Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez highlights the role that families play in this process in her related blog The Family Connection: Supporting Postsecondary Success of Young Adults with Disabilities.

ODEP is conducting the online dialogue via its web-based platform, ePolicyWorks, as part of an ongoing information-gathering series and approach to policymaking that engages citizens and stakeholders in new and innovative ways. The initiative leverages the latest technology to address barriers to employment for people with disabilities and fosters real-time collaboration and communication around key issues.

U.S. Department of Labor Convenes First Meeting of New Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

The inaugural meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities took place on January 22-23, 2015 at the U.S. Access Board. Mandated by the recent Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the committee's purpose is to prepare findings and recommendations for the Secretary of Labor on ways to increase competitive integrated employment for individuals with significant disabilities, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the use and oversight of certificates for the employment of individuals with significant disabilities at subminimum wages, as authorized by Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The committee consists of federal representatives from the Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration as well as 17 public members, including self-advocates, employment service providers, national disability advocacy organization members, academic experts, employers, and other members.

NCWD/Youth to Present at 2015 National Mentoring Summit

The 2015 National Mentoring Summit by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership will feature a workshop by NCWD/Youth staff entitled RAMP'n Up for STEM: Career-Focused Mentoring for All Youth. The Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) is a high-tech, career-focused mentoring program for youth involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. RAMP is based on a variety of materials developed by NCWD/Youth, including the Guideposts for Success and Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities. The session, which takes places January 30, 2015 at 9:45 a.m. EST, will be an interactive dialogue about what works: connecting mentors, STEM employers, and at-risk youth.

President Obama Announces Free Community College Plan

On January 9, 2015, President Obama announced his plan to make two years of community college free for students meeting certain requirements. The plan would apply to students who are earning the first half of a bachelor's degree and for students gaining skills to go directly into the workforce. If all states were to participate, the White House estimates that 9 million students could benefit and a full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year. President Obama announced this plan at Pellissippi State Community College, the site of one of the grantees of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy's Pathways to Careers: Community Colleges for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project.

CMS Seeking Comments on Draft Summary of Benefits and Coverage

Under the Affordable Care Act, all health plans and issuers are required to provide consumers with a standardized, brief summary of what a health insurance policy or employer plan covers, known as a Summary of Benefits and Coverage. This information allows consumers to make comparisons when they are shopping for health insurance coverage and to have a clear picture of what their insurance covers. Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services are seeking feedback on what should be displayed about health insurance policies and employer plans and in what form such information should be presented. If finalized, the new requirements would be implemented for plan years on or after September 1, 2015. Comments are due by March 2, 2015.

Senate Committee Holds First Full Hearing on ESEA Reauthorization

On January 21, 2015, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) convened its first full committee hearing on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a law passed 50 years ago to promote educational opportunity and protect the rights and interests of students disadvantaged by discrimination, poverty, and other conditions that may limit their educational attainment. The hearing, titled Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability, included a witness panel comprised of educators, state education officials, and civil rights education advocates.

TIME Act Introduced in Congress

On January 7, 2015, U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) introduced the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act of 2015. The TIME Act would seek to phase out the use of Special Wage Certificates under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act which allow some employers of people with disabilities to pay them less than the minimum wage. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House of Representatives as a whole.

AIR Hosts Briefing on Lack of Equal Pay for Workers with Disabilities

On January 22, 2015, NCWD/Youth attended a briefing hosted by the American Institutes for Research on Closing the Pay Gap for Workers with Disabilities. The briefing, and accompanying report, An Uneven Playing Field: The Lack of Equal Pay for People with Disabilities, found that people with disabilities earn 64 cents to every dollar their colleagues make and that the greatest earnings inequalities occur among those with master's degrees or higher. The briefing also discussed what changes to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act mean for workers with disabilities.

AYPF Publishes Policy Brief on Supporting Youth in Transition from Foster Care

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) released Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care, which highlights best practices and policies and makes recommendations to support youth in transition from foster care. The recommendations are in three critical areas of need: sustainable social capital, permanency supports, and access to postsecondary opportunities. For each area, AYPF defined the challenges youth face and identified promising programs and policies that are in place to help them transition from foster care to a healthy successful adult life.

NCWD/Youth's Host Organization Holds Successful Annual Meeting with Juvenile Justice Transition Program

On January 20 and 21, 2015, NCWD/Youth's host organization, the Institute for Educational Leadership, held the second Annual Meeting for the Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative, a program that provides a career development process for youth that are involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. The meeting was hosted at one of the five Right Turn sites at KentuckianaWorks in Louisville, KY and had youth and adult representation from the other sites: Peckham, Inc., in Lansing, MI; Oasis Center in Nashville, TN; Playa Vista Jobs in Los Angeles, CA; and Goodwill Industries of Houston in Houston, TX. The meeting featured content-rich training both in and out of the facility and featured a visit from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Right Turn is based on a variety of foundational materials from IEL and NCWD/Youth and is funded by the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.

NCWD/Youth Blog Posts

NCWD/Youth's blog features current and relevant information related to the Guideposts for SuccessYouth Development and LeadershipInnovative StrategiesProfessional Development, and more!

January is National Mentoring Month! Check out some of our most popular mentoring themed blogs below!

Important Information

If you know of others who might be interested in the newsletter and the work of NCWD/Youth, they can sign up online. All comments, inquiries, and suggestions for transition related resources and tools should be sent to

This document was developed by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, funded by a grant/contract/cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (Number #OD-23804-12-75-4-11). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply the endorsement by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Note: There are no copyright restrictions on this document. However, please credit the source and support of Federal funds when copying all or part of this document.

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