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New NCWD content.indicates new NCWD/Youth content.

July

LEAD Center and ODEP to Present Olmstead Anniversary Webinar

This month marks the 15th anniversary of one of the most historic legal decisions affecting the civil rights of people with disabilities. On June 22, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its ruling in the Olmstead v. L.C. case, requiring states to eliminate the segregation of people with disabilities and ensure they receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. On July 16, 3:00-4:30 PM EDT, the LEAD Center, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), will host an Olmstead Anniversary webinar to discuss the history and impact of this landmark decision. Additionally, ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez authored a blog celebrating the landmark Olmstead v. L.C. decision entitled Employment First: A Key Component in Community Inclusion.

June

Vermont RAMP Site Shares Career-Focused Mentoring Video

Youth Services, Inc., of Vermont, one of the Institute for Educational Leadership’s 11 Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) sites across the country recently shared a video focused on the program. Based on NCWD/Youth’s Paving the Way to Workcareer-focused mentoring guide and Guideposts for Success framework, RAMP provides high tech, career-focused group, peer, and one-on-one mentoring for youth with disabilities involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. The Institute for Educational Leadership serves as NCWD/Youth’s host organization.

ICI Publishes New Brief on English Language Learners with Disabilities

The Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota, a partner in the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, has released a new brief entitled State Assessment Decision-Making Processes for ELLs with Disabilities. The brief presents information on what is known about assessment decision-making processes for English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities. It highlights information that has been collected by ICI's National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) as well as information from other sources. Topics addressed in the brief include: (a) required assessment decision-making processes, (b) experts' recommendations about assessment decision making for ELLs with disabilities, (c) resources available to guide assessment decision-making, (d) standards-based IEPs, and (e) recommended participants on the decision-making team.

Transitions RTC Publishes New Tip Sheet on Vocational Peer Mentoring

The Transitions RTC and Thresholds Young Adult Program released a new tip sheet,Making it Work: Vocational Peer Mentors for Emerging Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. The tip sheet is based on a collaborative model between Transitions RTC and Thresholds Young Adult Program which adapted the evidence-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment for 16-21 year olds with serious mental health conditions. The tip sheet includes preliminary guidelines for youth service professionals thinking about implementing peer mentors into their vocational services for emerging adults with serious mental health conditions.

Pathways RTC Releases New Career Guidance Publication

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?, a new publication from Pathways RTC’s Career Visions project, offers young adults guidance on career research, including career exploration, getting and conducting informational interviews, and using internet resources for further inquiry.

Coalition for Juvenile Justice Seeking Youth Video Submissions

Youth ages 13-21 are encouraged to enter the Coalition for Juvenile Justice’s Youth Video Competition. The competition is being held as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The winning videos will be shown at the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) Youth Summit and included in 40 for the 40th, a joint venture between CJJ and Act 4 JJ. All entries must be received by July 1, 2014 at which time they will be posted on CJJ’s YouTube channel.  Viewers will then have a chance to vote for the best video between July 2 and July 22. The winner will be announced at the Youth Summit and their video will be shown at that time.

Youth Leaders Speak at White House Forum on LGBT and Disability Issues

On June 19, 2014, NCWD/Youth facilitated the involvement of several young leaders to speak on a panel entitled Youth & Resilience at the first ever White House Forum on LGBT and Disability Issues. The goal of the forum was to foster communication among the LGBT and disability communities in recognition of shared goals and challenges. The youth panel, comprised of several individuals who identify as a part of both the LGBT and disability communities, discussed their diverse experiences in education, employment, and community living. Dylan Orr, Chief of Staff to Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez at the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, provided closing remarks, many of which are reflected in his blog “Same Struggle, Different Difference” – Opportunities for Togetherness. A social media summary of the event is also available online.    

NCWD/Youth Attends White House Briefing on My Brother’s Keeper

On June 16, 2014, NCWD/Youth attended a White House Briefing on President Obama’s My Brother’s KeeperInitiative which is designed to determine what works to help young people stay on track to reach their full potentialAttendees received a copy of the White House’s 90-day report:Opportunity for All: My Brother’s Keeper Blueprint for Action which identified six key milestones in the path to adulthood that are especially predictive of later success and the interventions that can have the greatest impact:

  • Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn;

  • Reading at grade level by third grade;

  • Graduating from high school ready for college and/or a career;

  • Completing post-secondary education or training;

  • Successfully entering the workforce;

  • Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances.

Minnesota WorkForce Center Signs Agreement with US Labor Department to Serve Individuals with Disabilities in Integrated Settings

On June 9, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it had entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve allegations of disability discrimination by an American Job Center in Burnsville, Minnesota. The U.S. Labor Department's Civil Rights Center investigated a complaint claiming that the Dakota County Burnsville WorkForce Center required a customer who was perceived to have a disability to attend an orientation for a vocational rehabilitation program before it would permit her to receive services that were not limited to individuals with disabilities.

While not acknowledging that it violated the law, the WorkForce Center has agreed that:

  • It will not require customers who have disabilities, or whom it believes to have disabilities, to be assessed for or participate in disability-specific services before, or as a condition of, receiving any services that are not disability-specific;
  • It will not automatically refer all customers with disabilities, or any specific types of disabilities, to disability-specific services. Rather, it will conduct individualized assessments to determine whether a particular customer may be qualified for referral to such services;
  • Before asking customers to provide medical or disability-related information, it will inform those customers about their rights with regard to that information; and
  • It will develop new procedures that incorporate and train its staff and file reports with CRC regarding the Center's obligations under the law and the agreement.

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

DC Advocacy Partners Graduate Appointed to President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities 

Ricardo Thornton, Sr., a member of IEL’s inaugural class of DC Advocacy Partners was appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Of Ricardo and his fellow appointees, President Obama said, “I am confident that these outstanding men and women will serve the American people well in their new roles and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.” In addition to being a graduate of DC Advocacy Partners, Ricardo is a member of Project ACTION!, a coalition of adults with disabilities, a member of the D.C. Developmental Disabilities Council, and he serves as international ambassador with the Special Olympics.  

Call for Applications: DC Youth Workforce Leaders Academy

NCWD/Youth's host organization, the Institute for Educational Leadership, and the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, are accepting applications for the Youth Workforce Leaders Academy. This learning community will support the growth and success of selected staff from Washington, DC-based organizations that provide workforce development services to youth 16-24. The applications contains an assessment developed by NCWD/Youth to allow youth service professionals to assess their own knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and set professional development goals. The KSAs are organized into ten Competency Areas which were compiled from a review of over 70 initiatives offering training and/or identifying competencies for the fields of youth development, workforce development, education, and disabilities. 

Up to 15 professionals will be competitively-selected to participate in the free 10 month Academy. Applicants should be DC residents and mid-level professionals who play a decision-making role at Washington, DC-based youth workforce development organizations. Professionals who work for nonprofit organizations, schools, public agencies, or related entities that provide youth workforce development services are eligible to apply. The Youth Workforce Leaders Academy is generously supported through funding from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. 

DOL to Host Webinar on Mentoring Youth and Young Parents 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration is hosting a webinar on June 9 at 2:00 ET on the mentoring strategies and services showcased in the recently released, Mentoring Youth and Young Parents: A Guidebook for Programs Helping Youth and Young Parents Navigate a Pathway to Self-Sufficiency. This webinar will offer nationally-recognized strategies for developing and implementing a mentoring program. Participants will also learn more through mentor program experiences shared by two Young Parents Demonstration Programs; and receive tips about quality standards and available resources from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. 

May

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Celebrates National Mental Health Awareness Month and National Foster Care Month

President Obama issued two Presidential Proclamations, asserting May as National Foster Care Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month. NCWD/Youth understands the unique challenges faced by both youth involved in the foster care system and youth with mental health needs and has a series of resources designed to inform policymakers and youth service professionals working with these populations. The Guideposts for Success for Youth in Foster Care and the Guideposts for Success for Youth with Mental Health Needs highlight specific experiences, supports, and services relevant to providing comprehensive transition services to these youth. Negotiating the Curves toward Employment: A Guide about Youth Involved in the Foster Care System applies the Guideposts to Success to meeting the needs of youth in foster care through state and local examples and resource identification. Navigating Tunnels and Cliffs: Empowering Families and Caregivers to Assist Youth with Mental Health Needs in Preparing for Work provides families, caregivers, and youth with mental health needs the information needed to prepare for a career.

Department of Labor Presents Workforce Investment Act Youth Trainings

The Division of Youth Services of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration presents the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Flash Training Series. These trainings are brief (5 minutes or less) lessons focused on specific WIA Youth program topics. They are designed to provide information and direct those working with youth to tools and resources to help them best serve program participants. The first topics in the series include: the 10 WIA youth program elementsexit policyfinding youth program resourceswaivers, and youth councils.

ODEP Releases Individualized Learning Plan Interactive Policy Map

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has developed an Interactive Policy Map and accompanying brief, Individualized Learning Plans Across the U.S. to provide a snapshot of how individualized learning plans (ILPs) are being implemented nationwide. This map and brief are part of a collection of resources that ODEP has developed in partnership with NCWD/Youth, Altarum Institute, and Social Dynamics, LLC. To learn more about ILPs, take a look at NCWD/Youth's resources including the Individualized Learning Plan Fact SheetPromoting Quality Individualized Learning Plans: A "How to Guide" Focused on the High School Years, and Using Individualized Learning Plans to Produce College and Career Ready High School Graduates. The full scope of NCWD/Youth's ILP resources are also available online.

House and Senate Reach Deal on Workforce Development Legislation

On May 21, 2014, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers announced a deal to improve the nation's workforce development system through new legislation, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The bill, which will now be considered by both the House and Senate represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which passed the House of Representatives in March 2013 with bipartisan support, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356), which passed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee with bipartisan support in July 2013. The bill aims to promote positive employment outcomes for youth with disabilities by requiring vocational rehabilitation programs to develop "individual employment plans" and mandates that states use at least 15 percent of vocational rehabilitation funding to support students while they are still transitioning out of school. Additionally, the bill imposes restrictions on when youth ages 24 or younger can be employed in a sheltered employment setting; they must first be provided with pre-employment transition services and have applied for vocational rehabilitation and either be found ineligible, or if eligible, have an individualized plan for employment and have been working toward employment outcomes specified in the plan with appropriate supports and services, including supported employment services for a reasonable period of time without success

NCWD/Youth's Host Organization, IEL, Shares 50th Anniversary Video

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Institute for Educational Leadership, NCWD/Youth’s host organization. Since 1964, IEL has championed the need for leaders at all levels to shake off their institutional constraints and work together to address the needs of children, youth, and families. IEL’s programs, including NCWD/Youth, have helped define national and state policies in education and workforce development, enabled leaders to build collaborative strategies that get results, and assisted practitioners to implement best practices, leading to better outcomes for our young people. 

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth's Patricia D. Gill Receives National Association of Workforce Development Professionals 2014 Professional Development Award

Patricia D. Gill has been working for over 15 years to improve the competence and capacity of workforce development professionals as both a skilled trainer and as a national leader of various professional development initiatives. Her work as a trainer started with the Chicago Youth Agency Partnership. Patricia then joined the Academy for Educational Leadership, where she played an integral role in developing professional development curricula for youth workers and supervisors.

Patricia currently directs the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities initiative, a project of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development.

What sets Patricia apart is her talent for designing and delivering professional development opportunities that are truly engaging for adult learners and full of practical strategies and easy-to-use tools. She is adept at creating tools and activities that workforce development professionals can use with ease in their day-to-day work with youth. While many people can offer information to professionals, Patricia brings the information to life in ways that enable the learner to understand, retain, and use what they learn to improve their work.

Learn more about the award and recipients. 

 

ODEP Announces National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2014 Theme

"Expect. Employ. Empower." is the 2014 official theme of National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and honors the many diverse contributions of America's workers with disabilities. "We all have a role to play in – and benefit to gain from – increasing opportunities for meaningful employment for people with disabilities," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. "This year's theme encapsulates this in three powerful words. It conveys that advancing disability employment is about much more than just hiring. It's about creating a continuum of inclusion. And the first step on this continuum is expectation."

 

ODEP Signs Agreement to Create Employment and Health Care Transition Alliance

The Youth Transitions Collaborativeand the Center for Health Care Transition Improvement (Got Transition)signed a formal alliance with the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Working together as the Employment and Health Care Transition Alliance for Youth, Young Adults, and Young Veterans with Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions, this alliance will provide stakeholders with information, technical assistance, and resources to help build the capacity of regional and national organizations to empower youth and young veterans with disabilities to create a self-directed path to integrated employment.

April

SAMHSA Celebrates National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

To celebrate National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2014, SAMHSA is highlighting the importance of peer support, which is critical in making the transition to adulthood easier for young adults with mental health and substance use challenges. SAMHSA is hosting a "hashtag showcase," inviting young adults across the country who have faced mental and/or substance use disorders to share their personal stories of resilience and peer support. Using the hashtag #IGetSupportFrom, youth can share photos, videos, tweets, and status updates showing how peer support has helped you tackle challenges related to housing, education, employment, and healthcare. The hashtag showcase goes until May 8th.

 

Annie E. Casey Foundation Releases New Index on Children’s Progress

A new KIDS COUNT policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation entitled Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Childrenexplores the intersection of kids, race, and opportunity. The report features the new Race for Results index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state level. The index is based on 12 indicators that measure a child’s success in each stage of life, from birth to adulthood, in the areas of early childhood; education and early work; family supports; and neighborhood context. The report also makes four policy recommendations to help ensure that all children and their families achieve their full potential.

 

The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago Schools Research Releases Report on Dropout Crisis

The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research released Preventable Failure: Improvements in Long-Term Outcomes when High Schools Focus on the Ninth Grade Year. This study found that a focus on the ninth-grade and the transition to high school can keep young people on track, improve grades, and increase graduation rates. Students on track after ninth grade are almost four times more likely to graduate from high school than those who are off track.

 

Lumina Foundation Publishes Report on Postsecondary Attainment

On April 23, 2014 the Lumina Foundation released its Stronger Nation through Higher Educationreport, which shows that postsecondary attainment has reached an all-time high at 39.4 percent among adults ages 25-64 and is increasing faster than ever before across all demographics. In addition, a Gallup/Lumina poll shows 74 percent of Americans believe a postsecondary degree or credential is important. The report also calls attention to existing challenges, including pressure on institutions to yield strong outcomes in terms of learning, accessibility, and job preparedness as well as disproportionate demographics among the degree or credential holders: minority and low income Americans are less likely to obtain a postsecondary degree or credential.

 

Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs Launches “How Can You Make a Difference?”

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP) and FindYouthInfo.gov recently launched a contest for youth ages 16-24. Youth can submit original posters and photos (with captions) responding to the question, “How Can Youth Make a Difference?” Submissions will be judged by a panel of IWGYP participants (and voting through Facebook will be taken into consideration). The first, second, and third place winners will receive prizes and their entries will be showcased on FindYouthInfo.gov. Submissions should be creative and give real ideas about how youth can take action to make things better for those around them. Submissions are due by 11:59PM EST May 4, 2014.

 

U.S. Department of Justice Urges Shift Away from Sheltered Workshops

In a first-of-its-kind settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice,Rhode Island has committed to overhaul its system of sheltered workshops and day programs for people with developmental disabilities. The agreement came after a Justice Department investigation found systematic violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the state’s approach to transition and employment for individuals with developmental disabilities. Under the agreement, Rhode Island has committed to the following:

  • supported employment placements that are individualized, typical jobs in the community, that pay at least minimum wage, and that offer employment for the maximum number of hours consistent with the person’s abilities and preferences, amounting to an average of at least 20 hours per week across the target population;
  • supports for integrated non-work activities for times when people are not at work including mainstream educational, leisure, or volunteer activities that use the same community centers, libraries, recreational, sports, and educational facilities that are available to everyone;
  • transition services for students with I/DD, to start at age 14, and to include internships, job site visits and mentoring, enabling students to leave school prepared for jobs in the community at competitive wages; and
  • significant funding sustained over a ten year period that redirects funds currently used to support services in segregated settings to those that incentivize services in integrated settings. 

 

U.S. Departments of Labor and Education Launch Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium

The U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, launched the Registered Apprenticeship — College Consortium, a new effort that will allow graduates of Registered Apprenticeship programsto turn on-the-job and classroom training into college credits toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. Registered Apprenticeship is an "earn while you learn" model that provides a combination of on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly-skilled occupation. Registered Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by joint employer and labor groups, individual employers, or employer associations. Currently the Registered Apprenticeship system includes a network of more than 19,000 programs nationwide, offering nearly 1,000 different career opportunities.

 

AUCD Publishes A Comprehensive Approach to Transition

Geared for individuals with disabilities, A Comprehensive Approach to Transitionpaper was produced by members of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) as a companion document to A Collaborative Interagency, Interdisciplinary Approach to Transition for Adolescence to Adulthood. The paper focuses on four important ideas:

  • Self-determination, or a student having a say in the important decisions of his/her own life, is at the heart of transition planning.
  • Everyone should understand the culture of the youth and his/her family when creating and carrying out a transition plan.
  • Everyone involved with the youth needs to work together.
  • Transition Planning should include all the perspectives and organizations that will affect the transitioning student.

Southern Education Foundation Releases Report on Juvenile Justice Education Programs

The report, Just Learning: The Imperative to Transform Juvenile Justice Systems into Effective Educational Systems, finds that the quality of the learning programs for incarcerated youth have had "little positive, enduring impact on the educational achievement of most children and youth in state custody." The report includes a foreword by Kent McGuire, President of the Southern Education Foundation and board member of the Institute for Educational Leadership which hosts NCWD/Youth.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Though the cost of operating the education programs in juvenile justice systems are significantly higher than they are for public K-12 education, the majority of students do not earn a single course credit and only a very small percentage earn their GED and/or high school diploma; an even smaller percentage enroll in postsecondary education.
  • Incarcerated youth in smaller facilities closer to their local communities actually make less progress than students enrolled in state systems.
  • A large majority of students are behind in school but only a small portion receive testing to see if they are behind grade level.
  • A significant percentage of the students in the programs have learning and behavioral problems, and students with learning disabilities don’t receive the special education services and supports they need.

NCWD/Youth has identified promising practices for policymakers and youth services professionals working to improve transition outcomes involved in the juvenile justice system in the guide Making the Right Turn.

March

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to Present at 2014 Community Schools National Forum

NCWD/Youth staff will present at the 2014 Community Schools National Forum, CommunitySchools: The Engine of Opportunity on April 9-11. NCWD/Youth will present a workshop entitled Using High Quality Individualized Learning Plans to Increase Personalized Learning and College and Career Readiness and a workshop entitled RAMP'n Up for Work: Career-Focused Mentoring & Community Partnerships utilizing NCWD/Youth’s Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to Present at 2014 National Family Engagement Conference 

NCWD/Youth staff will present at the 2014 National Family Engagement Conference, Engaging Families & Expanding Opportunities: Partnership. Leadership. Inclusionon April 8-9. NCWD/Youth Director Curtis Richards will present a workshop entitled Engaging Parents in Individualized Learning Plans focused on NCWD/Youth’s research on the use of Individualized Learning Plansfor all students including students with disabilities. Richards will also moderate two workshops entitled Family Guideposts: Working with Families on Youth and Transition and Examining Power: Engaging Parents and Educators to Advocate for Inclusive Practices.

New NCWD content.Illinois ILP Guide Utilizes NCWD/Youth Research to Support Educators 

A free guide released on March 10by the Pathways Resource Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign aims to help educators to create relevant, motivating and engaging educational experience for students that serve as the foundation for students to achieve in their college and career goals. The guide is designed to support educators across thestate of Illinois, and specifically the Illinois Race to the Top districts who are required to pilot an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP­) process as part of their grant. The guide was informed by NCWD/Youth’s extensive research on the use of ILPs nationally.  

ODEP Publishes Individualized Learning Plan Info-Comic

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and NCWD/Youth have found that Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) positively impact self-determination, leadership abilities, and awareness of career opportunities for all youth including youth with disabilities. Based on this research, ODEP has released an info-comic entitled Shelly Saves the Future in which high school senior Shelly learns how to take charge of her future by using an ILP.

Join the Conversation for Change on Social Media Accessibility

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and the National Council on Disability are hosting a public virtual town hall dialogue, Advancing Accessibility and Inclusion in Social Media — The User Experience. The dialogue will examine the accessibility barriers of social media for individuals with disabilities, including jobseekers and workers. This crowdsourcing event will take place from Monday, March 17, to Friday, April 4, and it will be the first in a series of three social media accessibility online events taking place over the next three months.

OFCCP Launches New Outreach and Recruitment Database for Contractors

On March 13, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) launched a new database to help contractors find qualified workers with disabilities and veterans, and to assist contractors with establishing relationships with national organizations and local community groups that have access to these workers. Contractors, as well as others, can visit OFCCP’s Disability and Veterans Community Resources Directory. This new resource supplements the agency’s existing Employment Resources Referral Directory (ERRD).

Institute for Community Integration Releases New Policy Research Brief

The Institute for Community Integration’s Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota, a partner in the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth has published the latest issue of Policy Research Brief. This brief entitled Employment First Across the Nation: Progress on the Policy Front uses an online, interactive format to show how states are adopting Employment First policies, connect readers with the actual policies in states, and provide additional resources to advance employment of people with disabilities.

New Toolkit on Restorative Practices Released

Educators across the nation recognize the importance of fostering positive, healthy school climates and helping students learn from their mistakes. Increasingly, they are partnering with parents, students, district officials, community organizations, and policymakers to move away from harmful and counter-productive zero-tolerance discipline policies and toward proven restorative approaches to addressing conflict in schools. A new toolkit, Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools aims to help educators better understand what restorative practices are and how they foster safe learning environments through community building and constructive conflict resolution. The toolkit was developed by the Opportunity to Learn Campaign, Advancement Project, American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association with the help of a working group of educators and school personnel.

Attendance Awareness Campaign to Launch in April

April 8 marks the beginning of the second annual Attendance Awareness Campaign of which NCWD/Youth is a Collaborating Partner. Organized by America's Promise Alliance, Attendance Works, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Points of Light, and United Way Worldwide, this campaign aims to improve student success by targeting chronic absenteeism.  The campaign will kick off with a webinar on April 8 at 1:00pm ET and the unveiling of the he latest version of the Count Us In! Toolkit.  

Call for Applications: Advocates in Disability Award

The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) program recognizes a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Funded by The HSC Foundation and the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation, the selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for a project to benefit the disability community. The ADA Program is part of The HSC Foundation’s National Youth Transitions Initiative.  The application deadline is April 11, 2014.

 

February

Legislation Draws Attention to Restraint and Seclusion Practices in Schools

Senator Tom Harkin recently introduced legislation to reduce the use of restraints and seclusions in schools. The Keeping All Students Safe Act would prohibit the use of seclusion in locked, unattended rooms or enclosures and also prohibit almost all uses of restraint procedures. Senator Harkin's staff undertook an investigation in order to better understand the types of seclusion and restraints occurring in U.S. schools, and the obstacles faced by families seeking to stop the use of these practices or seeking restitution for harm caused by these practices. The investigation examined ten recent cases where children have suffered severe trauma and even loss of life as a result of these practices, and found that only eighteen states currently require parents be notified about the use of seclusion or restraints.

NYLN and the Center for Rural Strategies Release Disability and Rural Communities Training Guide

The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) and the Center for Rural Strategies recently released Disability and Rural Communities: Making a Difference in Small Towns, a training guide for people with disabilities who live in rural areas. The guide covers such topics as advocacy, inclusion, interdependence, resources, networking and community involvement, supportive relationships, leadership, and more.

Online Modules Available for Educators of English Language Learners with Disabilities

The IVARED project at the Institute on Community Integration's National Center on Educational Outcomes, a partner of NCWD/Youth, has launched a set of online learning modules to help educators look at issues surrounding students who are English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities. Access to the modules is free and open to all educators. Educators can register for a username and password, and then log in whenever they like and work their way through the modules. Most users take 70-90 minutes to complete all five sections: The Essentials, The Students, Participation, Accommodations, and Results.

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) Releases Two Reports on Disability Employment

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) released two new reports on disability employment entitled States as Model Employers of People with Disabilities andAdvancing Economic Opportunities for Business Owners and Job Seekers with Disabilities. Both reports were produced by the Employment and Disability Institute of the ILR School at Cornell University and funded by a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Staff Featured in Education Week Commentary on Individualized Learning Plans

On February 26, commentary submitted by NCWD/Youth Director Curtis Richards and Individualized Learning Plans (ILP) principle researcher for NCWD/Youth, V. Scott Solberg was published in Education WeekThe article entitled Planning for Life After High School discusses what makes for a quality ILP, what effect ILPs are having on student success, and how states are implementing ILPs. More information about ILPs and NCWD/Youth's ILP research and demonstration project are available on our website. 

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Staff to Testify at Senate HELP Committee Roundtable on College Success for Students with Disabilities 

NCWD/Youth's Dana Fink has been invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) at their roundtable hearing titled, Promoting College Access and Success for Students with Disabilities. The roundtable will examine barriers to access and completion for students with disabilities and ways to support their success through the Higher Education Act reauthorization. The Committee has asked Fink to talk about her experiences as she transitioned from high school in Georgia to the University of Illinois; provide detail on the physical and programmatic access barriers that she experienced on campus, as well as the supports and services she used and valued; and to provide policy recommendations for the Committee. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 27 at 10:00am. All hearings are webcast live at: http://help.senate.gov, and testimony and archived videos will be posted at: http://help.senate.gov/hearings/

RAMP Coordinator to Participate in White House Panel on Benefits of Mentoring Individualis of Color with Disabilities

On February 27, Taavon James, Baltimore Coordinator for the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), (a program of the Institute for Educational Leadership which hosts NCWD/Youth) will participate in a White House Mentoring Panel discussion on the benefits of mentoring individuals of color with disabilities.  Taavon’s remarks will focus on the career-focused mentoring activities that he has been providing in the RAMP program as well as the unique aspects of serving young people of color who may still be coming to terms with their own disability.  This dialogue is a part of the African American History Month event at the White House and will include co-panelists Taryn Williams, Youth Policy Advisor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; David Johns, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans; Odunola Ojewumi – Founder of Project ASCEND; and Moderator: Patrick Cokley, Policy Advisor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor and Moderator of the Lead on Update.

The event will be February 27, 2014 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm EST at the White House.

RAMP Coordinator to Participate in President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative”

Taavon James, Baltimore Coordinator for the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), (a program of the Institute for Educational Leadership which hosts NCWD/Youth) is invited to participate in the launching of President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative”.  This event will bring together individuals and organizations from across the country to discuss strategies to support young men of color that will keep them in school and out of the criminal justice system.  The initiative will consist of two phases: first, businesses and foundations will join together to test strategies aimed at making sure youth arrive at school ready to learn and reduce negative interactions with the criminal justice system and second, President Obama will launch an internal administration effort to rigorously evaluate what programs are successful with supporting young minority males.  Taavon was invited to be a part of this discussion as a result of RAMP’s career-focused mentoring work with at-risk youth in Baltimore.

The event will be on February 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm EST at the White House.

Executive Order Raising Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors Includes People with Disabilities

Today, the President signed an Executive Order that will raise the minimum wage of individuals employed by federal contractors to $10.10 per hour beginning January 1, 2015.  The minimum wage hike applies to all individuals working under new service or concession contracts with the Federal government, including people with disabilities. Under current law, workers whose productivity is affected by their disabilities may be paid subminimum wages under certain specialized certificate programs authorized pursuant to Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

The inclusion of people with disabilities in this minimum wage hike is being applauded by the disability community as a tremendous victory for federal contract workers with disabilities. Read more about the Executive Order and its impact on the minimum wage for all federal contractors, including those with disabilities.  

Employment for People with Disabilities:  An Inter-Agency Enforcement Effort between the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor

Across the nation, people with disabilities are often excluded from the middle class and from accessing real jobs in their communities.  Instead, they are often segregated in sheltered workshops where they work alongside only other people with disabilities and earn far less than minimum wage.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, is working to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to the services and supports they need to have the opportunity to work in real jobs in the community, rather than just in segregated settings.  In June 2013, DOJ entered into an Interim Settlement Agreement with the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence, resolving the kinds of violations that result in Americans with disabilities spending their days in segregated employment.  Read the story of Pedro, one such individual whose life has changed under the Interim Settlement Agreement because of his new job.

In Rhode Island, DOJ worked collaboratively with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a first-of-its-kind enforcement effort between the agencies to achieve relief for adults and youth with disabilities.  Today, DOL announced that it has secured more than $250,000 in back wages for student workers with disabilities who spent their days in a school-based sheltered workshop in Providence, where they were routinely paid less than $2 an hour, if at all, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Together, DOJ and DOL are working to ensure that, under the ADA and FLSA, Americans with disabilities receive the protections they are entitled to.  Read the DOL press release

Learn more about the Rhode Island interim settlement agreement.  For more general information about the Justice Department’s ADA Olmstead enforcement efforts, visit the Civil Rights Division’s Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone website.   To find out more about the ADA, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA.gov website.

January

The HSC Foundation, PPC, and IEL Release Roundtable Report on Health Care Transition

In the summer of 2012, The HSC Foundation, in partnership with Physician-Parent Caregivers (PPC) and the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), which houses NCWD/Youth, hosted a model multi-stakeholder roundtable to discuss how to advance health care transition in an era of post-health care reform, dwindling medical resources, and a struggling economy. The Roundtable discussion topics included: 1) Meeting the health care needs of youth and young adults with chronic conditions and disabilities; 2) Transformation of primary care in health care transition; and, 3) Improving the health care workforce for health care transition. Read the Multi-Stakeholder Roundtable Report here.

Call for Applications: AAPD Summer Internship Program

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has announced its Summer Internship Program. The program is open to college students, graduate students, recent graduates (within one year), or veterans who self-identify as an individual with any type of disability. AAPD's Summer Internship Program provides the opportunity to gain hands-on professional experience to help advance program participants' career goals while interning in Washington, DC. Interns will receive a stipend, mentor matching, and additional resources during the summer. Candidates interested in the professional arena of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and veterans with disabilities are highly encouraged to apply. Applications are due by 5:00 PM EST on February 5.

 New NCWD content.Disclosing Disability: What You Need to Know" Webinar Now Archived

NCWD/Youth's Jennifer Thomas participated in a webinar entitled Disclosing Disability: What You Need to Know.  The archived webinar is now available for viewing on the website of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network. The webinar, aimed at jobseekers, employees, and employers, was co-sponsored by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Job Accommodation Network, and the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium and it featured several of NCWD/Youth's resources on disability disclosure

Job Accommodation Network Offers Free Federal Contractor Webcast Training Series

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) will provide three free 1.5 hour training sessions in its 2014 Federal Contractor Winter Webcast Series. In March 2014, OFCCP's new Section 503 regulations will take affect for thousands of federal contractors and subcontractors. This webcast series will provide an overview of the basic requirements, practical tips for compliance, best practices for affirmative action, and time for participants' questions and answers. The first session, Section 503 Basics and Practical Tips, will be held on January 29. 

MENTOR Releases "The Mentoring Effect: Young People's Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring"

The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring was commissioned by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership with support from AT&T, and written by Civic Enterprises in partnership with Hart Research. This report is informed by the first-ever nationally representative survey of 1,109 young people ages 18-21 on the topic of mentoring, as well as a literature and landscape review with insight from a variety of key leaders in business, philanthropy, government, and education.

Read The Mentoring Effect.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Issues Final Rule on Medicaid HCBS Programs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have published a final rule that offers states new flexibilities in providing necessary and appropriate services to elderly and disabled populations on a more individualized basis. Authorized through section 2402 of the Affordable Care Act, the regulation outlines the optional state plan benefit to furnish home and community-based state plan services and draw federal matching funds. As a result, states will be able to design and tailor Medicaid services to better accommodate individual needs. The final rule includes other changes to the Home and Community Based Servives (HCBS) waiver provisions to convey expectations regarding person-centered plans of care, to provide characteristics of settings that are home and community-based as well as settings that may not be home and community-based, to clarify the timing of amendments and public input requirements when states propose modifications to HCBS waiver programs and service rates, and describes strategies state Medicaid systems can pursue to make sure that aging citizens and individuals with disabilities are supported in the most integrated setting possible. For mor information, read the fact sheets regarding the HCBS final rule.  

DOL Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Releases New Study on Health-care Transition and Employment

Because the ability to manage one's health is critical to going to school, learning, and transitioning into employment, ODEP commissioned this study in 2012 to better understand the relationship between disability (including chronic health conditions); health and wellness; and transition and employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. In addition, the study examined the role health-care providers play in establishing employment expectations.

Despite growing recognition of the importance of health-care transition as youth move from school to work and independent living within the health-care community, the study revealed that youth with chronic health conditions and other disabilities face a number of challenges in accessing health-care transition services. Included among these are low expectations, lack of time, and inadequate payment and training related to employment among providers; systems with distinct and disparate outcomes and goals; and the use of biological/physiological versus bio-psychosocial treatment approaches. In addition to explaining how a number of provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have significant potential to transform health-care transition planning, the study addresses the need to:

• underscore the interdependence between health, wellness and employment through education and outreach to youth and their parents and other caring adults; and
• provide health-care providers and other youth service professionals with professional development opportunities to gain the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to guide youth through a coordinated self-determined, cross-discipline transition planning process.

To learn more about the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing purposeful planned health-care transition planning and its impact on employment for youth with chronic health conditions and other disabilities, view the full policy brief

Microsoft Announces Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

Microsoft announced the launch of the Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship intended to empower and enable high school students with disabilities to (a) go to college, (b) realize the impact technology has on the world, and (c) target a career in the technology industry. The scholarship launched Friday, January 17, 2014 and includes a goal to increase enrollment of persons living with a disability in higher education and, in the long term, decrease the unemployment bias for disabled persons. This new program was started by, and is supported by, Microsoft employees who will select promising high school seniors who require financial assistance in order to enter and successfully complete a vocational or academic college program.  This non-renewable $5000 scholarship will be paid to the recipient’s Financial Aid Office by the Seattle Foundation on behalf of the DisAbility Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Microsoft. Applications are due March 15, 2014.

December 

OPM Releases Fiscal Year 2012 Hiring Report of People with Disabilities

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, people with disabilities were hired at a higher percentage than at any point in the past 32 years. Additionally, people with targeted disabilities were hired at a higher percentage than at any time in the past 17 years.

According to the “Employing People with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch” report, in FY 2012, federal employees with disabilities represented 11.89 percent of the overall workforce, including veterans who are 30 percent or more disabled. 16.31% of new hires in FY 2012 were people with disabilities (up from 14.65% in FY 2011). Additionally, 14.65% of General Schedule grade 14 and 15 new hires in FY 2012 were people with disabilities (up from 12.24% in FY 2011). On July 26, 2010, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13548 - Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, in which he stated that the federal government must become a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities.

OPM is responsible for providing regular reports to the President, the heads of agencies, and the public on the progress of Federal employment for people with disabilities. The report is prepared in compliance with Executive Order 13548 - Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, and contains information on the representation of people with disabilities within the Federal Government and best practices of Federal agencies.

ODEP Wants to Help You "Kick Start Your ILP"

A new toolkit aimed at high school students and called "Kick Start Your ILP" has been released by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. An individualized learning plan (ILP) is both a document and a process that students, including students with disabilities, use to define and explore their career goals and post-secondary plans throughout high school in order to shape their decisions about courses and activities. "Kick Start Your ILP" includes an explanation of ILPs, a year by year checklist of steps to follow, and tips to pull it all together.

Submit Your Ideas! Join the Conversation and Help Improve the Accessibility of Online Tools for Workers with Intellectual Disabilities

What can be done to make web-based job tools easier to use by people with intellectual or cognitive disabilities, traumatic brain injuries or other disabilities? 

An online dialogue December 9-20 aims to address these issues. The event is being held by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP); the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT); and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). Members of the public are invited to participate.  Please join this virtual event and post your ideas for making online tools easier to use for workers with intellectual disabilities or other disabilities. Simply log in to the online dialogue and submit your ideas and comments and vote on other ideas. Remember, these ideas will be used to help improve technology access for all.

Visit http://ASAN-PEATePolicyWorks.IdeaScale.com/ to register today.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Kicks Off Professional Development Demonstration

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) is pleased to announce the selection of three sites across the country for the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Professional Development Demonstration and Evaluation (YSP/KSA Demo). This professional development initiative will provide four free full-day trainings in the core competencies that youth service professionals need to work with all youth; content-rich materials and resources; and pre- and post-training technical assistance from experts in youth development, workforce development, and disability. The evaluation will examine the effects of professional development on youth service professionals’ practices, organizational culture, and outcomes for youth.

Following a competitive nation-wide application process, NCWD/Youth selected the following sites:

  • Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED), Youth Services Division – Baltimore, MD
  • City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department – Los Angeles, CA
  • New York State Department of Labor – Albany, NY

With support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), NCWD/Youth seeks to demonstrate the value of and further grow a professional development system for youth service professionals to improve program quality and service delivery for all youth, including youth with disabilities. Sites have already begun aligning cross-system and post-secondary partners, selecting participants and identifying professional development goals. The trainings will kick off in January 2014.

“The YSP/KSA Demo represents a wonderful opportunity for youth service professionals in the greater Baltimore community to come together to demonstrate the value of and further grow a professional development system – ultimately improving the services we are able to offer to young people,” said Ronald Blake, Special Project Supervisor for the Housing Authority of Baltimore.

Since 1991, IEL’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD), which houses NCWD/Youth, has helped public and private sector leaders promote career readiness and successful transitions to adulthood for all youth – with a special focus on youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth. As IEL’s President, Marty Blank explains, “The youth service professionals who interact with young people each day, are the face of any program or system. If we are to improve outcomes for youth, we must build the competency and capacity of these key people."

To learn more or stay up-to-date on the YSP/KSA Demo, visit: www.ncwd-youth.info/ksa/demo.  

November

New NCWD content.Institute on Community Integration Releases How-to Guide on Connecting People with Disabilities

The Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota has released a new guide entitled Friends: Connecting People with Disabilities and Community Members. This manual provides concrete, how-to strategies for supporting relationships between people with disabilities and other community members. It describes why such friendships are important to people with disabilities and why it is important to promote community belonging and membership. The manual includes specific activities to guide users in creating a plan for connecting people. It is designed for agency staff, but can be used by parents, support coordinators, teachers, people with disabilities, and others to support community relationships. 

Call for Applications: Youth in Development Internship Program

The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) is seeking applications for the summer 2014 Youth in Development (YiD) internship program. Applications are due January 29, 2014. The YiD program focuses on youth with disabilities from across the U.S. who are interested in international development and foreign affairs careers. The summer 2014 YiD internship program will bring a group of talented graduate students, recent graduates, and rising college juniors and seniors with disabilities to Washington, DC, for nine weeks. The program, sponsored by the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation will include a one-week training and orientation program followed by an eight-week internship at an international organization in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. USICD will cover the cost of fully-accessible housing during the YiD progam, reimburse travel expenses to and from DC, and provide a limited stipend. 

Obama Administration Publishes Mental Health Parity Regulations

On November 8, the Obama administration published regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which states that health insurance plans must cover mental health and substance use services. Under this legislation, health insurance marketplaces cannot apply yearly or lifetime dollar limits on coverage of these benefits. The marketplaces also cannot deny anyone coverage or charge more for pre-existing conditions. The final rule is effective for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2014. For more information, see the final regulations and frequently asked questions about mental health parity implementation

Achieve and NCEO Release Report on Access to Diplomas for Students with Disabilities 

Achieve and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) released a report to guide state policies with the goal of ensuring all students have access to a diploma that means something. While acknowledging that the students with disabilities population is diverse, the report indicated that 85-90 percent of this group can meet the graduation standards targeted for all students with appropriate supports and accommodations. Only 10-15 percent of students with disabilities have disabilities that require they meet different achievement standards. The report also indicates that the correlation between numerous diploma options and the lower rate at which students with disabilities earn a standard diploma results in fewer high school graduates and limits many students' ability to pursue educational and employment opportunities.   

New Report Published on Re-entry for Formerly Incarcerated Adults

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released a new report outlining a comprehensive policy agenda to ease the re-entry process entitled A Second Chance: Charting a New Course for Re-Entry and Criminal Justice Reform. The Second Chance report outlines a policy agenda for easing the re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals into society. It examines the impact of four barriers that make re-entry more difficult and recidivism more likely—predatory prison phone rates; inadequate access to education; restrictions on employment; and restrictions on voting. The report discusses the consequences of these practices and makes a series of policy recommendations regarding their reform.

Achieve Announces Launch of Business Center for a College- and Career-Ready America 

On November 13, GE Foundation and AT&T, along with Chevron and the Prudential and Travelers foundations collaborated with Achieve to launch the the Business Center for a College- and Career-Ready America. The goal of the Business Center is to help businesses think more strategically about how best to support college and career readiness for all students. To strengthen the bridge between awareness and engagement, the Business Center provides a range of practical and customizable tools and examples of how business leaders can and do support standards-based education reform within and across states. 

The Transitions RTC Publishes How to Keep a Job: A Young Adult Guide

This latest guide from The Transitions RTC is designed for young adults to help them be more prepared to start and keep a new job. The Transitions RTC is a national effort that aims to: improve the supports for youth and young adults, ages 14-30, with serious mental health conditions who are trying to successfully complete their schooling and training and move into rewarding work lives.

New NCWD content.IEL, NCWD/Youth to Host Twitter Chat on Involving Families in Youth Mentoring Programs

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) which houses NCWD/Youth hosts a weekly Parent-Teacher Twitter Chat. On Wednesday, November 20 at 9:00 pm EST, the chat will focus on NCWD/Youth's work around "Involving Families in Youth Mentoring Programs". Log in to Twitter and join the conversation using hashtag #PTchat. Learn more about PTchat and check out NCWD/Youth's Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring.

U.S. Education Department Announces First-of-Its Kind Resolution of Virtual Charter School Civil Rights Investigation

On November 6, the U.S. Department of Education announced that its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has entered into an agreement with Virtual Community School of Ohio, an Internet-based, public charter school that serves approximately 1,200 students in Ohio, to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act for students with disabilities at the school. This first-of-its-kind resolution promises equal access to educational opportunities for students with disabilities in virtual charter schools. 

“Students with disabilities who attend online public charter schools are entitled to all the protections of the federal civil rights laws that their peers receive at traditional public schools, including the right to receive a free appropriate education.  Online schools also must take steps to ensure that the websites and online classrooms they use to promote their services and to educate students are accessible to individuals with disabilities,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.  “Online education environments such as this in which students reside across the state and go to school together in a totally on-line environment, may present unique challenges. Nevertheless, these online schools must comply with the civil rights laws.  I commend Virtual Community School of Ohio for agreeing to address these issues as part of its agreement with OCR.”

OCR will closely monitor the school’s implementation of the agreement.

The full press release is available here.

IEL to Host Nov. 19 Webinar on Fiscally Strong Nonprofits

The Institute for Educational Leadership, the Wallace Foundation, and Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) are hosting a webinar entitled "Strong Nonprofits: Build Your Fiscal Fitness," on November 19 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST. Participants will learn about an online resource, www.StrongNonprofits.org, that provides support on financial sustainability, and how to connect strong financial program operation to the delivery and sustainability of high-quality services to children and youth. Topics will include winning grants, realistic financial planning, and maintaining a resourceful and mission driven focus. The webinar will feature Michelle Morrison, CEO of Chicago-based Youth Guidance, and John Summers, Manager of Consulting Services at FMA. Register for the webinar online.  

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to Present at Webinar on Pathways to Postsecondary Education for Youth in Juvenile Justice

On November 6, NCWD/Youth’s Patricia D. Gill will present on a webinar entitled "Building Pathways to Postsecondary Education for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System." The webinar, hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum(AYPF), will also include Yelena Nemoy of the National Youth Employment Coalition and Sophia Morel of the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment. Gill will present on NCWD/Youth’s Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System which highlight specific experiences, supports, and services that are relevant to improving transition outcomes for youth with and without disabilities involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. 

New Resources on Universal Design for Learning and Common Core State Standards

The National Center on Universal Design for Learning has released new resources on the intersection of UDL and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These helpful tools and links illustrate the important way that the CCSS identify WHAT educators need to address in their instruction while UDL guides HOW to design their instruction. Key resources include a crosswalk on UDL and the Literacy by Design Collaborative (LDC) framework and video examples showing lessons illustrating classroom instruction addressing both the UDL guidelines and CCSS.

October

IEL, NCWD/Youth to Host Twitter Chat on Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs)

New NCWD content.The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) which houses NCWD/Youth hosts a weekly Parent-Teacher Twitter Chat. On Wednesday, October 23 at 9:00 pm EDT, the chat will feature NCWD/Youth's work on Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs). Log in to Twitter and join the conversation using hashtag #PTchat.

Students use ILPs to define career goals and postsecondary plans and inform their decisions about courses and activities throughout high school. As a process, the ILP provides students and their families with opportunities for career development, including self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management skill building activities. Typically, schools require family engagement in the ILP process, including reviewing and updating the plan each year.

Here are three facts you should know:

  • Interviews with state and local officials indicate that the ILP provides an important opportunity for students, families, and school staff to discuss students’ goals for the future.
  • Families find the ILP experience to be valuable and reported stronger positive regard for the school and stronger relationships with their youth as a result of the ILP process.
  • When schools use electronic vs. paper ILPs, they are able to link to web-based career information systems. For families this makes it easier to view the student’s ePortfolio as information becomes accessible from home.

Learn which states use ILPs and the different names by which they are known.

LEAD Center Webinar: Inaugural Year in Review

In this webinar, LEAD Center staff and partners will share outcomes of the LEAD Center's inaugural year including major accomplishments, emerging promising practices and pending reports and knowledge translation tools. A preview of the LEAD Center's 2013-2014 efforts will also be shared. This webinar is designed for workforce development professionals, individuals with disabilities, policy makers and Influencers, professionals from partner systems, and related stakeholders. Register here

DC Advocacy Partners Accepting Applications for 2014 Class

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) which houses NCWD/Youth is seeking applications for its 2014 DC Advocacy Partners class. DC Advocacy Partners is a free leadership training program for self-advocates and family members of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the District of Columbia. Through this program, community members gain leadership skills and techniques to help develop positive partnerships with elected officials, school personnel, and other community leaders. They become policy influencers, and interact with policy makers and policy implementers. Participants also engage in interactive learning experiences and gain valuable information about current issues, services, and policymaking and legislative processes at local and national levels. DC Advocacy Partners is accepting applications through November 18, 2013

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign from the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policythat raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2013 is "Because We Are EQUAL to the Task." A highlight of NDEAM is Disability Mentoring Day (DMD)which this year will be celebrated on October 16. Beginning in 1999, Disability Mentoring Day is the nation's largest job shadowing program designed for Americans with disabilities. DMD connects mentors with students and job seekers with disabilities in order to expand employment opportunities and help close the disability unemployment gap. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recently partnered with the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) to create the DMD Pipelines of Talent initiative. This multi-phase project aims to provide tools and resources developed by AAPD to assist with transitioning current DMD programs to year-round initiatives. AAPD recently selected Disability Mentoring Day Iowa as the first grant recipient of the initiative.

The Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) has several sites across the country that will be participating in NDEAM and DMD events.

PACER Center to Raise Awareness of National Bullying Prevention Month in October

PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center will be celebrating October with the message, The End of Bullying Begins with Me. PACER Center has created a five-step guide designed for students and educators to plan bullying prevention events in their schools and communities. Individuals can also add their names to the digital The End of Bullying Begins with Me petition, sign up their schools or organizations as a Champion against Bullying, and share why they care about bullying prevention.

IEL's Coalition for Community Schools to Host National Forum

The Coalition for Community Schools, housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership, is an alliance of national, state and local organizations in education K-16, youth development, community planning and development, family support, health and human services, government and philanthropy as well as national, state and local community school networks. Community schools are both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources.

April 9-10, 2014 the Coalition for Community Schools will host the 2014 Community Schools National Forum themed Opportunity for All: Community Schools, The Engine for ChangeThis theme reflects the Coalition's commitment to equal opportunity for all students and the belief that community schools, with their deep and sustained relationships between schools and community partners, are the "engine" that will prepare young people to live and work in the 21st century. There is a growing awareness and discussion of the importance of student engagement in learning, and the influence of non-school factors, including poverty, on student achievement.

IEL's District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement (FCE) to Host National Family Engagement Conference

The District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement, housed at theInstitute for Educational Leadership, is a peer network designed to bring together district leaders from across the nation and provide the most up-to-date resources, professional development, and best practices to ultimately improve student achievement.

April 8-9, 2014, FCE will host the National Family Engagement Conference themedEngaging Families & Expanding Opportunities: Partnership. Leadership. Inclusion. The conference will focus on the intersection between family engagement and educational equity. This conference will bring together various networks of educators, parent advocates, community organizers, students, and others concerned with enhancing and expanding opportunities for ALL children and families and strengthening partnerships to improve engagement at all levels. Conference workshops and activities will address four aspects of quality engagement practices: parent leadership for school improvement, parent-teacher partnerships, families and inclusion, and family.

September

Senator Harkin Release Report in Efforts to Improve Employment Opportunities for ADA Generation

Senator Tom Harkin released a report that offers steps to improve employment opportunities for the 'ADA Generation' – the young men and women who have come of age since the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)was enacted. Chairman Harkin was the Senate author of the landmark ADA.

"The enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 23 years ago, helped grant the promise of equality to Americans with disabilities. But today, more work remains to be done to knock down one of the last remaining barriers—the gap in workforce participation that exists for millions of young adults," Harkin said. 
Chairman Harkin's report identifies four key areas of opportunity to improve support for members of the ADA generation as they seek competitive employment. These areas are:

  • Increasing support for high school students as they plan for their transition into the workforce
  • Improving the transition of the ADA generation as they enter postsecondary education and the labor market
  • Changing the assumptions in disability benefit programs that discourage young people with disabilities from working
  • Leveraging employer demand, correcting misconceptions about employing people with disabilities, building strong pipelines from school to the competitive workforce, and establishing supportive workplaces.

New NCWD content. Secretary of Education and NCWD/Youth Staff Share Stage to Celebrate 40 Years of Learning Under Section 504

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan engaged current and former students with disabilities on the impact that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has had on their lives. The event featuring Secretary Duncan included a student panel and NCWD/Youth’s own Dana Fink.

The Forty Years of Learning Under Section 504 celebration emphasized the importance of accommodations, specifically in education, and highlighted today’s leaders in the youth disability communities and individuals who worked to help pass the law as youth in the 1970s.

“When we set high expectations for young people with disabilities, more often than not, they achieve them. And if they’re not achieving them, maybe we need to look at why,” says Fink. “Maybe they don’t have the necessary accommodations, maybe they don’t have a mentor that can show them what’s possible. Maybe they haven’t had an opportunity to explore what they want to do for a living and so they’re bored with their studies.” 

Section 504 is widely recognized as the first civil-rights statute for persons with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in federally funded activities. Schools must afford students with disabilities with equal opportunities "to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement" as students without disabilities.

American Historical Society Establishing Mentoring Program for Graduate Students in the Field of Disability History

The American Historical Association's Advisory Committee on Disability is establishing a mentoring program in which graduate students doing work in the history of disability or related historical fields will be matched with established faculty mentors. History graduate students with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply. Volunteer mentors will be matched with students who are either pursuing a graduate degree in the same subfield of history or who have the same disability, if they choose to disclose that information. The program is based on communications either through e-mail or by phone or Skype in order to nurture the mentor-mentee relationship. Frequency and mode of contact may vary but must be no less than one to two hours every four to six weeks for at least one year.

RTI International Publishes Stories of Change Among Justice-Involved American Indian Youth

Stories of Change Among Justice-Involved American Indian Youthshares the perspectives of youth, parents, and program staff who participated in the OJJDP-sponsored Tribal Juvenile Detention and Reentry Green Demonstration programs, which combined conventional youth reentry activities with green activities, such as gardening, and skill development in green technologies. The resource briefly summarizes past research on risk and protective factors for ongoing justice-system involvement among American Indian youth; describes the Green Reentry initiative; and presents the perspectives of youth, parents, and program staff and stakeholders on experiences of personal change among participating youth.

New White House Rules Aim to Improve Employment of Veterans, Individuals with Disabilities amongst Federal Contractors

The White House announced two new rules that are an historic advancement for veterans and individuals with disabilities. By strengthening longstanding regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the new rules will ensure that qualified workers have more meaningful opportunities to find, secure, and keep good jobs. The Section 503 rules will require contractors to establish a 7% utilization benchmark for employment of individuals with disabilities.

After more than twenty years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities remains high at 14.7 percent, nearly double the rate of people without disabilities at 7.4 percent. Further, people with disabilities have a workforce participation rate of only 20.3 percent. Read more in the USDOL news release.

Minimum Wage, Overtime Protections Extended to Direct Care Workers by US Department of Labor

On September 17, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule extending the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime protections to most of the nation's workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries or disabilities. This change will result in nearly two million direct care workers — such as home health aides, personal care aides and certified nursing assistants — receiving the same basic protections already provided to most U.S. workers. It will also help guarantee that those who rely on the assistance of direct care workers have access to consistent and high-quality care from a stable and increasingly professional workforce.

"Many American families rely on the vital services provided by direct care workers," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Because of their hard work, countless Americans are able to live independently, go to work and participate more fully in their communities. Today we are taking an important step toward guaranteeing that these professionals receive the wage protections they deserve while protecting the right of individuals to live at home." The rule will be effective January 1, 2015.

US Department of Labor Presents: The Affordable Care Act Compliance Assistance Webcast Archive

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) adds new protections to make health coverage affordable and easy. Some of these changes are already in effect, with most of the remaining changes taking effect in January 2014. When key parts of the Affordable Care Act take effect in 2014, there also will be a new way to buy health insurance – the Health Insurance Marketplace. The marketplace will offer health coverage options for those with no health coverage as well as those with coverage through an employer plan. Open enrollment begins October 1, 2013. This webcast provides information on the new protections for health coverage and the health insurance marketplace to help individuals make informed decisions. The Department of Labor discussed the impact of the Affordable Care Act on employment-based group health plans. The Department of Health and Human Services also provided information on the new health insurance marketplace. 

Secretary of State John Kerry Delivers Remarks at a High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Disability and Development

On September 23, Secretary Kerry delivered remarks at his first high-level meeting at the United Nations General Assembly as Secretary of State. Secretary Kerry said:

"Through our development agenda, we have a very important opportunity to show the world that we value everyone's contributions, and that we leave no one behind, including those with disabilities. It is clear, and we have seen here in the United States over the last years, that we can make an enormous number of lives better in that process."

"The principle behind this is really very, very simple: Our societies, all of our societies, are stronger when every single one of our citizens, able bodied and disabled alike, all get to live up to their full potential. And that's why here in our country, many states have established standards, and they steadfastly enforce them – laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, which we passed in 1990 and we believe is really a gold standard with respect to how we treat people and how we open up the world for opportunities. We encourage the international community to look at, study, and, hopefully, emulate this law."

Department of Education Publishes Notice of Proposed Rule Making: Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to amend regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These regulations govern the Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities program. The Department of Education seeks public comment on proposed amendmentsto the regulation regarding local maintenance of effort to clarify existing policy and make other related changes regarding: the compliance standard; the eligibility standard; the level of effort required of a local educational agency (LEA) in the year after it fails to maintain effort under the IDEA; and the consequence for a failure to maintain local effort. The Department also seeks comment on whether states and LEAs or other interested parties think these proposed amendments will be helpful in increasing understanding of, and ensuring compliance with, the current local maintenance of effort requirements. Specifically, the Department of Education seeks comment from states and LEAs to identify where they are experiencing the most problems in implementing the maintenance of effort requirements. Comments must be received on or before December 2, 2013.

National Parent Technical Assistance Center Publishes New Guide on Youth with Disabilities and Extracurricular Activities

PACER's National Parent Technical Assistance Center released a new guide entitled Your Child with a Disability Can Take Part in Extracurricular Activities. This guide provides an overview of the importance of extracurricular activities and how to utilize legal requirements to ensure that youth with disabilities are included.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth and V. Scott Solberg, Ph.D to Present on Individualized Learning Plans for All Students at Alliance of Career Resource Professionals Webinar 

This webinar presents the findings from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth's longitudinal research project to determine whether and how Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) could be considered as a promising strategy for personalizing learning and supporting the development of college and career readiness for youth with and without disabilities. The presentation will provide an overview of the key research findings, implications for state ILP implementation planning, considerations for engaging youth with disabilities and their families, and the promise of using online career information systems to improve ILP quality and implementation fidelity.

 On Wednesday, September 25, 2:00-3:00 Dr. Solberg will discuss pertinent research and implications for individualized learning plans and their effects related to the following:

  • Role of Career Development in College and Career Readiness

  • Postsecondary readiness

  • High school graduation rates

  • Alignment of coursework with personal goals

  • Using web-based career information systems

Register here!

 

New NCWD content. Deadline Extended: Applications for Youth Action Council on Transition (Youth ACT) Due September 27, 2013

Are you a youth, age 12-25, who wants to develop leadership and advocacy skills and become a leader in your community who improves opportunities and services for all youth?

Are you a professional or organization who wants to increase youth voice, leadership, and youth-adult partnerships within your organization and community?

If so, apply for the Youth Action Council on Transition (Youth ACT)!  The Youth Action Council on Transition (Youth ACT) is a national project to get more youth involved as leaders and partners with adults and youth-serving organizations to improve youth transition outcomes. NCWD/Youth will select four teams consisting of two emerging youth leaders (youth, ages 12-25, who have disabilities or are allies of the disability community), one adult partner, and a sponsoring organization to participate in this four-year initiative.  Each team will:

  • Attend the annual national training conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Receive training in youth leadership and advocacy skills; youth-adult partnership strategies; youth transition policies; and issues affecting youth with disabilities.
  • Create a local plan for how the team will work together year-round.
  • Form and facilitate their own local youth peer group that will meet regularly to discuss youth transition issues and engage in leadership and advocacy activities.
  • Participate in monthly national conference calls and quarterly webinars or video conferences with all the Youth ACT teams.
  • Partner with NCWD/Youth to create national youth-driven materials and tools on youth leadership and transition topics and to develop a youth-driven national change agenda.

There’s no cost to participate and each Youth ACT team will receive a small stipend of $3,000 to use for team expenses. Youth ACT is led by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) at the Institute for Educational Leadership with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).  The application deadline is now September 27, 2013. Learn more about this opportunity and download the application online at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/youth-act. Questions? Contact NCWD/Youth at farrj@iel.org  or ph. (202) 822-8405 Ext. 145. 

New NCWD content. Call for Applications: IEL's Center for Workforce Development Hiring for Two Positions

IEL's Center for Workforce Development (CWD) is hiring for two new staff positions: the Right Turn Program Manager and the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) Program Coordinator.

The Right Turn Program Manager is responsible for helping design and implement the Right Turn Program, a career-focused transition initiative funded by a multi-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Through the program, the organization will serve as an intermediary with local sites to help improve outcomes for youth offenders in high crime, high poverty areas based on IEL/CWD's research and experience. The Right Turn Program Manager will assume primary responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day implementation of the grant, including providing technical assistance to sites; lead all research, data collection and evaluation, and reporting; and, conduct monthly calls and annual meetings. 

The RAMP Program Coordinator is responsible for working with the RAMP Program Director to help design and implement the RAMP Program a high-tech, career-focused mentoring program for youth involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. The RAMP Program Coordinator will assume primary responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day implementation of the program; deliver technical assistance to sites; complete reports and research collection; and plan and conduct monthly calls and annual meetings.

To see the full job descriptions and to apply, please visit the Right Turn Program Manager and Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) Program Coordinator pages.

Applications are due September 23, 2013.  Please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Jason Farr, farrj@iel.org or fax (202) 872-4050.

The Institute for Educational Leadership is an equal opportunity employer.

August 2013

Save the Date! Employers: What Can We Do? Join the Conversation for Change on September 9 -11, 2013

Help shape federal strategies to assist employers in creating a diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities

Employers and other interested stakeholders are invited to participate in an online Employer Dialogue being sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The dialogue will be centered around the main question, "What services do you need to facilitate the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities?"

Employers, human resource and diversity professionals, and all others with expertise and insight into disability employment issues are encouraged to participate in the Employer Dialogue by submitting ideas and comments and/or voting on others' ideas and comments. Submissions will be accepted 24 hours a day, using an online crowdsourcing tool. Together, these contributions will help inform ODEP's work going forward.

The Employer Dialogue is being facilitated through ODEP's ePolicyWorks initiative and will be moderated by ODEP's Employer Policy team. To register and participate, visit http://EmployerDialogue-ePolicyWorks.ideascale.com.

Institute for Educational Leadership Seeks Applicants for Career-Focused Transition for Court-Involved Youth Initiative

Are you looking for a way to improve your work with court-involved youth through better connections to career information, education, and their community? Then consider being a part of the Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative (Right Turn), a high-poverty, high crime communities grant. Participating sites will utilize the Right Turn Career-Focused model to provide 100 youth per year: workforce development, education and training, case management, mentoring, community-wide violence reduction efforts, post program support and follow-up, and restorative justice. Sites will receive a research-based career development model, practical strategies, implementation materials, and technical assistance from experts in juvenile justice, mentoring, disability, and career development, as well as $290,000 per year to enhance their current work.

The Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development (IEL/CWD) was awarded an “Intermediary Organizations Serving Juvenile Offenders in High-Poverty, High Crime Communities” Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (SGA/DFA: PY-12-03; CFDA: 17.203) to implement the Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative. Right Turn will adapt the Guideposts for Success for Transition Age Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, the three career development phases from the Individualized Learning Plan demonstration project, and lessons learned from the existing Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program for court-involved youth to provide opportunities to juvenile ex-offenders who are returning to and currently residing in high-poverty, high-crime communities. IEL/CWD will work with five local sub-grantees in at least two states. IEL/CWD is currently seeking applications from interested sites. Applications are due September 23, 2013 and can be downloaded at rightturn.iel.org.

Applications are due September 23, 2013 and can be downloaded at rightturn.iel.org.

New White House Rules Aim to Improve Employment of Veterans, Individuals with Disabilities Amongst Federal Contractors

The White House announced two new rules that are an historic advancement for veterans and individuals with disabilities. By strengthening longstanding regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the new rules will ensure that qualified workers have more meaningful opportunities to find, secure, and keep good jobs. The Section 503 rules will require contractors to establish a 7% utilization benchmark for employment of individuals with disabilities.

"In a competitive job market, employers need access to the best possible employees," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "These rules make it easier for employers to tap into a large, diverse pool of qualified candidates."

"Strengthening these regulations is an important step toward reducing barriers to real opportunities for veterans and individuals with disabilities," said Patricia A. Shiu, director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which enforces both laws.

After more than twenty years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities remains high at 14.7 percent, nearly double the rate of people without disabilities at 7.4 percent. Further, people with disabilities have a workforce participation rate of only 20.3 percent.

The rules will be published shortly in the Federal Register and will take effect 180 days later.

New NCWD content.Call for Applications: NCWD/Youth Forming Youth Action Council on Transition, Seeks Teams of Youth Leaders & Adult Partners

Are you a youth, age 12-25, who wants to develop leadership and advocacy skills and become a leader in your community who improves opportunities and services for all youth?

Are you a professional or organization who wants to increase youth voice, leadership, and youth-adult partnerships within your organization and community?

If so, apply for the Youth Action Council on Transition (Youth ACT)!  The Youth Action Council on Transition (Youth ACT) is a national project to get more youth involved as leaders and partners with adults and youth-serving organizations to improve youth transition outcomes. NCWD/Youth will select four teams consisting of two emerging youth leaders (youth, ages 12-25, who have disabilities or are allies of the disability community), one adult partner, and a sponsoring organization to participate in this four-year initiative.  Each team will:

  • Attend the annual national training conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Receive training in youth leadership and advocacy skills; youth-adult partnership strategies; youth transition policies; and issues affecting youth with disabilities.
  • Create a local plan for how the team will work together year-round.
  • Form and facilitate their own local youth peer group that will meet regularly to discuss youth transition issues and engage in leadership and advocacy activities.
  • Participate in monthly national conference calls and quarterly webinars or video conferences with all the Youth ACT teams.
  • Partner with NCWD/Youth to create national youth-driven materials and tools on youth leadership and transition topics and to develop a youth-driven national change agenda.

There’s no cost to participate and each Youth ACT team will receive a small stipend of $3,000 to use for team expenses. Youth ACT is led by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) at the Institute for Educational Leadership with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).  The application deadline is September 13, 2013. Learn more about this opportunity and download the application online at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/youth-act. Questions? Contact NCWD/Youth at farrj@iel.org  or ph. (202) 822-8405 Ext. 145. 

 

New NCWD content. Call for Applications: NCWD/Youth Announces Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (YSP/KSA) Professional Development Demonstration and Evaluation

FREE Professional Development Opportunity for Youth Serving Organizations (and their partners!)

Are you looking for a way to increase your staff’s skills, gather new strategies, and improve your services to youth for free?  Then consider, being a part of the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Professional Development Demonstration and Evaluation (YSP/KSA Demo). Participating sites will receive: four free full-day trainings in the core competencies that youth service professionals need to work with all youth; content-rich materials and resources; and pre- and post-training technical assistance from experts in youth development, workforce development, and disability. 

With support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) seeks to demonstrate the value of and further grow a professional development system for youth service professionals to improve program quality and service delivery for all youth, including youth with disabilities. Participation is free*, however each site’s lead organization must be committed to professional development and evaluation, provide 25 – 30 trainees, engage two partner organizations, and meet other eligibility requirements (see Application). Applications are due August 31, 2013. 

*Lead organizations will receive a small stipend to cover administrative costs. 

If your organization and partners would like further information about participating in the YSP/KSA Demo, visit the webpage or contact Patricia Gill (gillp@iel.org, 202.822.8405 x154) at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

July 2013

New NCWD content. IEL Celebrate White House Champions of Change

To commemorate the 23rd Anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the White House honored eight “Champions of Change,” young people with disabilities who are having a significant impact on their communities. The Champions of Change participated in an engaging panel about issues affecting this generation of disability rights leaders. The Institute for Educational Leadership's (IEL) Center for Workforce Development  is proud to be connected with many of these emerging disability community leaders as they work across systemic and institutional boundaries to improve programs and services for people with disabilities.

Zoe Gross, a current Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at IEL spoke about her work organizing the Disability Day of Mourning, an annual event that remembers people with disabilities who have lost their lives at the hands of their family members or caregivers.

Lydia Brown, a former IEL Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow discussed the improvements for people with disabilities she is making on her college campus and in her home state of Massachusetts where she has made efforts to close the Judge Rotenberg Center.

Zach Garafalo, the Assistant Director of YOUTH POWER! spoke about his work with IEL’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) a career-focused mentoring program for youth involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. .

The panel was moderated by Rebecca Cokley, Executive Director of the National Council on Disability whose time at IEL helped form the basis of many of the youth-led materials and trainings used by the Center for Workforce Development. Cokley created the Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellowship program and the National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth (www.ncld-youth.info) while at IEL.

IEL is proud of these next generation disability community leaders and looks forward to more incredible work from all of the Champions of Change!

President Obama Creates New Advisory Council Focused on the Financial Capability of Young Americans

President Obama signed an Executive Order to establish a President's Advisory Council, charged with building the financial capability of young Americans. The new Council will be led by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. This new Council will advise the President and his Administration on ways to improve the financial skills of young Americans so that they can make smart decisions about going to college, using financial products, and even saving for their retirement.  Along with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Council will consist of leaders and innovators from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors who have demonstrated a commitment to building the financial capability of young people.

Claudia Gordon, Esq, Appointed as Public Engagement Advisor for the Disability Community

Claudia Gordon was recently appointed as the Public Engagement Advisor for the Disability Community in the Office of Public Engagement at the White House. Gordon was the first deaf African American woman to become an attorney as well as the first deaf student to graduate from the American University (AU) Washington College of Law in Washington, DC in 2000. She most recently served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Federal Contracts and Compliance Programs in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where she worked to improve regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to advance employment opportunities for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

New Materials Available to Help Students Understand Health Care Reform 

Young Invincibles, Enroll America, and CLASP have developed the ACA Toolkit: Helping Students Understand Health Care Reform and Enroll in Health Insurance and a companion frequently asked questions guide and brief. These resources are designed to raise awareness about the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act on community college students across the country.

Youth Transitions Collaborative Seeks Resumes from Youth with Disabilities  

The Youth Transitions Collaborative (YTC), an initiative of The HSC Foundation, is seeking the resumes of young people and young veterans with disabilities who are looking for work (full-time or part-time) in the private sector. These resumes will be incorporated into a database that will help employers connect with qualified young candidates with disabilities. The National Youth Transitions Resume Database will be national in scope and will be open to young people and employers from across the country. For more information or to submit a resume, contact ytf@aapd.com.

 New Survey Reveals Impact of Disability Community on Political Landscape

On July 12, the Youth Transitions Collaborative (YTC) released the results of its recent survey of over 1000 individuals with disabilities. YTC calls it “the first survey of its kind to study the political impact of this large community of people with disabilities, their families and caregivers.” According to the U.S. Census, roughly one in five Americans has a disability.

The survey highlights the views of an emerging generation of advocates and voters with disabilities who may be more engaged in the political process than previous generations. The survey found that people with disabilities are as politically diverse as the general populace and are not single-issue voters. Still, voters with disabilities across political affiliations—especially young voters—are likely to vote against candidates who support reducing or eliminating services and supports for people with disabilities.

The development of the survey was led by the YTC’s Advocacy Working Group, which includes the American Association of People with Disabilities, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, The HSC Foundation, Institute for Educational Leadership, National Council on Independent Living, and United Cerebral Palsy.

Read the full press release or executive summary of the survey.

June 2013

New Tip Sheet for Young Adults on Budgeting Strategies

"Telling Your Money What to Do: The Young Adult's Guide!" is the latest tip sheet created by the MA Community of Practice on Transition Age Youth and Young Adults, describing strategies for budgeting money. It also provides a sample budget tracking sheet for youth to use as they strive towards financial independence. 

Webinar to Solict Feedback on Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs Draft Strategic Plan

The Forum for Youth Investment, in partnership with the National Collaboration for Youth, the American Institutes for Research, the Campaign for Youth, and the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions, is convening a webinar for the public to learn about plans by the Obama administration to support comprehensive efforts for youth, especially disconnected youth. The webinar will focus on the need for coordinated federal polices to support comprehensive, place-based interagency efforts to enable community partnerships to have a stronger, positive collective impact on young people's lives.

Martha Moorehouse, a recipient of the Ready by 21 Policymaker of the Year Award and chair of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, and Sarah Oberlander, who leads the Working Group's production of FindYouthInfo.gov, will present Pathways for Youth, the working group's draft strategic plan for federal collaboration, and invites participants to provide feedback.

Kathy Stack of the White House Office of Management and Budget and Johan Uvin of the U.S. Department of Education will present the latest work from the Interagency Forum on Disconnected Youth, which they co-chair. Last year, on a webinar hosted by the Forum for Youth Investment, Stack asked participants to help shape the federal government's work through a Request for Information (RFI) about disconnected youth. Hundreds of organizations and individuals responded. Stack and Uvin will discuss what was learned through the RFI and the next steps they plan to advance this work. They invite your feedback.

Webinar Dates:

New NCWD content.Individualized Learning Plans Webinar Questions: Part 1 – The Role of Community Partners

On May 29, the American Youth Policy Forum, the College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS Center), and the Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Education Leadership (IEL) which houses the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), hosted a webinar titled, The Use of Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) to Help Students to be College and Career Ready. NCWD/Youth has conducted a longitudinal research study, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, to assess the effectiveness of Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) and better understand their impact on student outcomes. Webinar presenters summarized the research findings and discussed experiences implementing and scaling up the use of ILPs. The CCRS Center published a summary blog and the first in a series of blogs designed to address recurring questions that participants submitted following the webinar.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on 14th Anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead Decision

On the anniversary of the Olmstead decision, Secretary Sebelius remarked: “Like everyone, a majority of people with disabilities want to live in a home and community of their choosing. The Department of Health and Human Services is working aggressively to support and honor this right, identifying and implementing innovative policies and partnerships that advance the principles of community living and expand the delivery of home and community-based services and supports.” Read the full text of her remarks.

Grad Nation and America’s Promise Alliance Publish New Guidebook for Increasing Graduation Rates

Grad Nation and America's Promise Alliance have released the updated Grad Nation Community Guidebook (Community Guidebook), a research-based toolkit for communities working to raise graduation rates and better support children and youth from birth through college. Created in collaboration with Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, the online guidebook created in conjunction with the annual Grad Nation report offers approaches and tools that all communities can incorporate at any stage in their work.

LEAD Center to Host Webinar Titled Promoting Employment – Discovering Your Potential: Using Discovery to Identify Your Employment Goals

A July 31 LEAD Center webinar  will provide information on how to use Discovery – an alternative assessment tool to identify the strengths of job seekers with and without disabilities – to help them  identify personal employment goals. Participants will gain an understanding of Discovery, how to use Discovery components individually or in preparation for Group Discovery, and potential outcomes. This webinar is intended for individuals with disabilities, workforce development professionals, and related stakeholders.

PACER Center to Hold National Symposium About Children and Young Adults with Mental Health and Learning Disabilities

On August 6, PACER Center will be holding its eighth annual national symposium for general education teachers, administrators, and parents interested in understanding more about mental health and learning disabilities in children and young adults. The symposium is designed to enhance awareness and identify strategies for responding to mental health and learning disabilities in children and young adults from the perspective of teachers and parents. Registration is available online.

U.S. HHS Re-launches Healthcare.gov and Launches New MentalHealth.gov Websites

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has re-launched healthcare.gov in order to educate people in preparation for the Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period in October. Features include a new 800 number and online chat for Marketplace questions available 24/7: 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). HHS is also sponsoring a series of webinars for organizations to learn more about the Affordable Care Act.  

HHS has also launched mentalhealth.gov as an online resource for people looking for information about mental health. This website provides information about the signs of mental illness, how individuals can seek help, and how communities can host conversations about mental health. The website also features videos from a number of individuals sharing their stories about mental illness, recovery, and hope.

Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Releases A Collaborative Interagency, Interdisciplinary Approach to Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood

A Collaborative Interagency, Interdisciplinary Approach to Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood aims to promote a dialogue among key stakeholders and to facilitate their engagement in pursuing a more comprehensive, coordinated, supportive, and successful transition process for youth with disabilities from adolescence to young adulthood. The paper promotes four core concepts that are essential to the development and implementation of effective transition plans:

  • Self-determination should be the foundation for transition planning.

  • Transition should be viewed through a cultural lens.

  • Interagency collaboration is essential to effective transition.

  • Transition planning should include all the perspectives, disciplines, and organizations that will impact the transitioning student.

NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams" to Air a Segment on Subminimum Wages Paid to Americans with DIsabilities

NBC’s "Rock Center with Brian Williams" will be airing a segment on subminimum wages for Americans with disabilities on Friday, June 21st at 10:00 pm on NBC. Current law (under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act) allows public and private employers who obtain special certificates from the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division to pay workers with significant disabilities at rates below the current federal minimum wage. 

USDOL ETA Issues New Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) for WIA Youth Funded Activities

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) recently issued a new TEGL for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth funded activities for 2013. The intent of the TEGL is to provide state and local area staff with a helpful tool to improve youth services and ensure legal compliance and successful future monitoring. ETA routinely monitors states and local areas to ensure compliance with WIA. ETA compared findings across 15 WIA Youth reports from monitoring visits conducted in 2011 and 2012 to identify common findings and areas of concern. The most common monitoring findings related to case management, service provision, performance management, and governance. 

 In Landmark Decision, U.S. Justice Department Finds City of Providence, RI in Violation of ADA

On June 7, a groundbreaking settlement agreement was reached between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the State of Rhode Island, and the City of Providence, which will significantly improve transition services and meaningful employment outcomes for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The DOJ found Rhode Island and Providence to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),which prohibits state and local governments from segregating people with disabilities based on their disabilities. DOJ found that approximately 200 students and jobseekers with disabilities were segregated in sheltered workshops at Training Thru Placement (TTP) and the Harold A. Birch Vocational Program at Mount Pleasant High School (Birch). In both instances, students and jobseekers with disabilities were placed in segregated environments receiving subminimum wages. With the new agreement, the State of Rhode Island will provide integrated transition services at Birch such as work-based learning, job shadowing, soft skill and job skill development, and internships to prepare students for the world of work. All people receiving services from TTP will be aided in finding and maintaining gainful integrated employment with real wages. You can learn more about this landmark settlement agreement from DOJ’s announcement or from reading the agreements in full.

USDOL Awards IEL $5M Juvenile Offender Grant for Right Turn Initiative

On June 6, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Employment and Training Administration awarded the Institute for Educational Leadership’s (IEL) Center for Workforce Development a $5 million, 39-month grant to serve juvenile offenders in high-poverty, high-crime communities. In the next six months, IEL will competitively select five community organizations or partnerships in at least two different states to implement the proposed Right Turn program, based on decades of IEL’s work promoting improved services for at risk youth, including youth with disabilities, youth in juvenile justice, and other disconnected populations.

The Right Turn initiative will utilize strategies and lessons from several resources created by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), including Making the Right Turn: A Guide About Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, the Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System national youth transition framework, the three career development phases gleaned from the Individualized Learning Plan research and demonstration project, and lessons learned from IEL’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP).

Read the full USDOL press release to learn more about this federal grant award.

Youth Solutions Desk Shares Webinar on Health and Health Care in the Transition from Adolescence to Young Adulthood 

On May 22, Youth Solutions Desk— Helping Youth Transition, a  service of the Interagency Working Group for Youth Programs, managed by the National Resource Center for Youth Development through the Children’s Bureau presented a webinar on Health and Health Care in the Transition from Adolescence to Young Adulthood including the impact of the Affordable Care Act on adolescents. The webcast also reviewed issues in healthcare for transitioning youth and access prior to the enaction of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The webinar slides are available online.  

Survey about Services to Youth with Disabilities Extended to June 28, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration, in collaboration with the Office of Disability Employment Policy, are conducting a survey on WIA Services Provided to Youth with Disabilities.  The intended respondents are Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIB) and responses are voluntary. DOL is interested in learning more about the current practices related to: 1) the population served and the types of organizations that provide the services; 2) organizational emphasis in local areas and use of resources; 3) partnerships leveraged and integration of resources; 4) use customized assessment tools; 5) work experience and employment opportunities; 6) community service opportunities; and 7) staff development and training. Benefits from this study include: 1) gaining a broader understanding about how youth with disabilities are served in the public workforce system; 2) identifying promising practices and/or policies that demonstrate improvements to serving youth with disabilities.

LWIB Executive Directors are encouraged to respond to the WIA Services Provided to Youth with Disabilities before June 28, 2013.  In order to receive access to the survey, please contact ABT Associates via email: dolyouthwia@abtssoc.com or call 1-855-295-5528.

May 2013

Join the LEAD Center for a Webinar on Customized Employment

The LEAD Center is hosting a Webinar on May 29 3:00-4:30PM ET on the topic of customized employment. The webinar will provide information on customized employment as a best practice and on customized self-employment. Participants will gain an understanding of how customized employment can support job placement efforts for a variety of job seekers both with and without disabilities. This webinar will be captioned and a link to download the presentation will be sent to registrants prior to the webinar. To request any other reasonable accommodations, please contact Brittany Taylor at btaylor@ndi-inc.orgwithin 48 hours of the webinar.

Register Now

College and Career Readiness Conference to Highlight Individualized Learning Plans

Dr. V. Scott Solberg, Principal Investigator for the ILP Research and Demonstration Project and Associate Dean of Research at Boston University School of Education will be the keynote speaker at the Personalizing College and Career Readiness Conference sponsored by the Alliance of Career Resource Professionals (ACRP). Dr. Solberg will present his work on individualized learning plans and other speakers will present on how to more effectively personalize career readiness planning. Registration is available now for the July 7, 2013 conference in Boston, MA.

NCWD/Youth Webinar on Individualized Learning Plans Available Online

On May 16, the National Collaborative on Worforce and Disability for Youth and the Institute for Educational Leadership hosted a webinar that presented the findings from NCWD/Youth's longitudinal research and demonstration project to determine whether and how ILPs could be considered as a promising strategy for developing college and career readiness. Presenters also recommended actions for educational leaders at the state and local levels interested in successful transitions of youth from adolescence to adulthood and shared lessons on implementing ILPs statewide for all students. The webinar recording is available online.

AYPF, CCRS Center, and NCWD/Youth to Co-host Webinar on the Use of Individualized Learning Plans

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:00–2:30 PM, The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF),the College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS Center) at the American Institutes for Research, and the Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Educational Leadership, which houses the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) are co-hosting a webinar on the use of Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) across the country. NCWD/Youth has conducted longitudinal research, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, to assess the effectiveness of ILPs and better understand their impact on post-school outcomes.

College and career exploration and planning play a critical role in engaging students through creating personalized learning opportunities and preparing them for life beyond school. ILPs are one tool that middle school and high school students can use to define their personal interests, goals, and course choices through postsecondary education and careers. Many states have adopted or are exploring policies that require the use of ILPs.

Webinar presenters will summarize the research findings and discuss experiences implementing and scaling up the use of ILPs. They will include:

 

  • Dr. Joe Harris, Director, College and Career Readiness and Success Center;
  • Dr. Scott Solberg, Associate Dean for Research, Boston University;
  • Mindy Larson, Senior Program Associate, Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Educational Leadership;
  • Misti Ruthven, Postsecondary Education and Success Manager, Colorado Department of Education; and
  • Dr. Sabrina Moore, Director, Student Intervention Services, South Carolina Department of Education.

 

Register Now

Federal Funding Opportunity: Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income

Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Under PROMISE, the Department of Education will fund States to develop and implement model demonstration projects that promote positive outcomes for children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and their families. Specifically, PROMISE is intended to improve the provision and coordination of services and supports for child SSI recipients and their families to enable them to achieve improved outcomes. These outcomes include graduating from high school ready for college and a career, completing postsecondary education and job training, and obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting and, as a result, achieving long-term reductions in the child recipients' reliance on SSI. Eligible applicants are the 50 States and the District of Columbia. A consortium of States may also apply. 

 Agencies to Host Online Federal Partners and Transition National Dialogue

To examine the impact of existing federal regulations and legislation on the successful transition from school to work of youth with disabilities, a free, public online dialogue will be held May 13-27, 2013. The U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration invite policymakers, service providers, advocates, youth with disabilities, and others to join this online dialogue to improve transition outcomes for youth with disabilities. Anyone with a personal or professional stake in supporting the aspirations of youth and young adults with disabilities to live, work, and thrive in their communities is invited to register and participate. Once registered, participants may submit ideas, submit comments about ideas, and rate those ideas they think are the most important. The dialogue will be facilitated to ensure participants experience a robust and productive exchange. Once the dialogue has closed, a summary report will be made public.

New Resource Available from SAMHSA for National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

The Teen Years: A Road Map for Parents is a CD available free from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The CD contains six modules that guide parents in helping their teens face the challenges of adolescence It addresses phases of teen development, warning signs of pressured teens, scenarios for parent conversations, parenting styles and drug IQ, and includes a parenting handbook. 

New NCWD content.Upcoming Webinar from the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) and NCWD/Youth

May 16th 1:30-3:00pm ET – Using Individualized Learning Plans to Increase College & Career Readiness of All Students

The Institute for Educational Leadership, which houses NCWD/Youth, is hosting a webinar that will highlight key findings from NCWD/Youth’s research on the use of Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs).  An ILP is both a document and a process that a student uses – with support from school counselors, teachers, and parents – to define their career goals and postsecondary plans in order to inform the student’s decisions about courses and activities throughout high school. Many states have adopted policies that require all students to use ILPs starting in middle school as a way to personalize learning and increase college and career readiness.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, NCWD/Youth has conducted longitudinal research to determine whether and how ILPs could be considered as a promising strategy for developing college and career readiness. In addition to sharing research findings, webinar presenters will recommend actions for educational leaders at the state and local levels interested in successful transitions of youth from adolescence to adulthood. Presenters from Connecticut’s State Department of Education will share lessons on implementing ILPs statewide for all students.

Webinar presenters will include:

  • Dr. V. Scott Solberg, Associate Dean of Research, Boston University School of Education

  • June Sanford, Co-Task Leader Student Success Plans for Connecticut Department of Education, Connecticut State Director of  Career Technical Education (NASDCTEc), and Carl D. Perkins Program Manager

  • Dr. Jocelyn Mackey, Education Consultant for School Psychology and Primary Mental Health Program Manager, Connecticut Department of Education

  • Mindy Larson, Senior Program Associate, Center for Workforce Development, Institute for Educational Leadership

Register Here

April 2013

USDOL Reschedules WIA Youth Chat

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Association, Division of Youth Services rescheduled its Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Chat for Wednesday, April 24, 2013 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm EDT.WIA Youth programs are charged with offering participants a range of services (support, employment, education, and more), based on individual needs. Doing this work well involves partnering with participants and collaborating with community organizations to ensure that the 10 WIA program elementsare available to youth. Sign up with and login to Workforce3One to participate.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Highlights How States Use the Guideposts for Success in Two New Publications

Two new publications by NCWD/Youth illustrate how state agencies can use the Guideposts for Success as a strategic organizational framework to increase coordination across agencies, departments, and service providers responsible for youth transition outcomes. In Maryland, the Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) has used the Guideposts to develop and pilot a seamless transition services model called the Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative (MSTC). The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) uses the Guideposts as a framework for defining, developing, and tracking its youth transition services and programs throughout the state. Read the State Perspectives on Using the Guideposts for Success Innovative Strategies profiles of Maryland and South Carolina online.

NCWD/Youth Partner, LEAD Center Launches Website

NCWD/Youth, a national partner of The LEAD Center, is featured on the center’s new website. The LEAD Center is a collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. The LEAD Center website is a key resource for information to promote public policy, employment and economic advancement outcomes for all people across the spectrum of disability. New resources, events, news and information will be added to the site regularly, with guest blogs and other features coming in June. Explore the LEAD Center website today at www.LEADCenter.org.

FEMA Seeks Young Leaders for Youth Preparedness Council 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is looking for youth leaders who are dedicated to public service, who are making a difference in their communities, and who want to expand their impact as national advocates for youth disaster preparedness to serve on its Youth Preparedness Council (YPC). Youth who are between the ages of 12 and 17 and are engaged and interested in the field of community preparedness are encouraged to apply. Youth may apply on their own, or they can be nominated by individuals who are familiar with their preparedness activities. YPC members are charged with completing a youth preparedness project, sharing their opinions and ideas about youth disaster preparedness with FEMA leadership, and participating in the YPC summit. The application deadline is April 19, 2013. Learn more and download the nomination application online at: http://www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Youth in Action! Tip Sheets for Young People

As part of their individual development, today’s youth need to learn and understand how to take action for themselves as they transition into adulthood. In conjunction with the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor, NCWD/Youth has developed a series of Youth in Action! Tip Sheets aimed at helping youth learn and think about important transition issues including: Becoming a Stronger Self-AdvocateLeading Your Transition PlanningLearning Disability HistoryGetting Involved in Volunteering; Serving on Decision-Making Boards; and Participating in Internships and Work-Based Experiences. While these tip sheets are designed for youth to read and use, they are also helpful tools for family members, educators, and youth service professionals to use in discussions with youth. See a list of all the Youth in Action! Tip Sheets on NCWD/Youth's Youth Development webpage under Publications.

March 2013

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Policy Brief on Using Individualized Learning Plans to Increase College & Career Readiness

NCWD/Youth has released the policy brief, Using Individualized Learning Plans to Produce College and Career Ready High School Graduates, which summarizes findings and recommendations from a multi-year individualized learning plans (ILP) research and demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’'s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Individualized learning plans (ILPs) are increasingly used by states and school districts to support youth in becoming college and career ready. An ILP is both a document and a process that students use – with support from school counselors, teachers, and parents – to define their career goals and postsecondary plans in order to inform the student’s decisions about their courses and activities throughout high school. Thirty-five states currently engage middle and/or high school students in ILPs.

The policy brief highlights key findings from the ILP studies, which examined: whether and how ILPs may be considered a promising strategy for developing college and career readiness; and whether and how students with disabilities are participating in ILPs. The policy brief also recommends actions for a diversity of stakeholders including state officials, district/school officials, educators, organizations interested in supporting family engagement in schools, special education administrators and support organizations, national organizations, disability organizations, and Federal officials. Read or download the policy brief online.

More information about the ILP Research & Demonstration Project including the ILP Fact Sheet, the ILP How-to Guide, journal articles, and details about the project partners is available at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ilp/.

FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination Hiring for Reservist Program

FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination is looking to hire several postions within FEMA’s Reservist Program. As a part of FEMA’s disaster workforce, Reservists serve the nation by assisting all citizens and first responders during disasters or emergency situations.  The vacancies are being advertised on USAJOBS.gov March 25 – March 29, 2013. These are FEMA Qualification System (FQS) incident management positions. The Disability Integration positions are listed below:
Lead Disability Integration Advisor AD-0301-00
Disability Integration Advisor AD-0301-00
Disability Integration Advisor (ASL Specialty (American Sign Language Interpreter) AD-0301-00
 

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Publishes Brief on Universal Design for Learning Featuring NCWD/Youth

NASSP released a research brief co-written by NCWD/Youth and featuring NCWD/Youth research. The brief, entitled Universal Design for Learning: Strategies Principals Can Employ in Their Schools, recommends implementing the inclusive learning strategy known as universal design for learning (UDL) to reach a broader diversity of students. UDL promotes a framework that makes course instruction, materials, and content accessible and engaging for students of all learning styles by offering multiple, flexible ways for students to receive information and demonstrate their skills. The brief details the UDL model, recommendations to assist all students, and additional strategies that can benefit students with disabilities.
 

Southeast TACE (Technical Assistance and Continuing Education) Presents Webinar on NCWD/Youth Guideposts for Success

Southeast TACE hosted a webinar entitled Guideposts for Success: Innovative Strategies for Serving Youth. Presenters included Curtis Richards, Director of the Center for Workforce Development at The Institute for Educational Leadership and Laura Spears, Transition Specialist with the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department. Richards discussed The Guideposts for Success and how they can be used while Spears explained how South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation has adopted them for statewide Vocational Rehabilitation youth transition services. The archived PowerPoint slides, transcript and session recording are available for download.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Disability Employment Tabulation Data 

The U.S. Census Bureau has released statistics on the employment of individuals with disabilities, based on the new Disability Employment Tabulation 2008-2010. The Disability Employment Tabulation, which has similar content to that found in the recently released Equal Employment Opportunity Tabulation, presents in-depth labor force characteristics of individuals with disabilities, with more details on employment status, occupation, education, and earnings. The Disability Employment Tabulation is sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy 

Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration's Youth Team to Host Live Chat

The Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) Youth Team is hosting a live chat entitled Providing a Menu of Activities for Youth in WIA Programs: Challenges and Triumphs. WIA Youth programs offer participants a range of services based on individual needs. Doing this work involves partnering with participants and collaborating with community organizations to ensure that the 10 WIA program elements are available. ETA's live chat will allow participants to share strategies, ask questions, and learn about the menu of services and activities including, but not limited to, recruiting and engaging youth, soft skills development, leadership training, and transportation issues. The chat will take place on Wednesday, April 10, 2:00-3:00pm Eastern Time (ET). To join, log onto Workforce3One and enter the Youth Community of Practice.
 

SSA Article Highlights Findings from Youth Transition Demonstration Projects in California & Mississippi

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released the article, “Linking Youth Transition Support Services: Results from Two Demonstration Projects” highlighting two projects in SSA’s Youth Transition Demonstration: California's Bridges to Youth Self-Sufficiency and Mississippi's Model Youth Transition Innovation.  SSA Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) projects were designed to link the fragmented support system currently in place and to address low expectations about the potential for employment and self-sufficiency among youth with disabilities. The article describes key project outcomes and the experience of one youth in each project who successfully completed the program. The article is available online.

February 2013

Office of Personnel Management Issues Final Rule to Simplify Schedule A Hiring Authority for Persons with Disabilities

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued new regulations on the special hiring authority for the appointment of persons with certain disabilities. The final rule for the Schedule A Hiring Authority simplifies the hiring process for many job applicants with disabilities. For applicants who have work, educational, or other relevant experience, the rule removes the requirement for a certification of job readiness. Now an applicant will only need to establish that he or she has a qualifying disability. Learn more.  

National Governors Association Winter 2013 Meeting Hosts Panel on Employment for People with Disabilities

Governors, disability employment experts, and business leaders came together at the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter 2013 Meeting for a panel on the successes and challenges of employing people with disabilities. Led by Governor Markell (D-DE), participants included: Joan McGovern, Vice-President at JPMorgan Chase; Neil Christopher, Vice-President at Acadia Windors and Doors; Judy Heumann, Special Advisor at the Department of State on International Disability Rights; Carl Van Horn, a professor at Rutgers Unviersity; and several state governors. The panel was moderated by Judy Woodruff.  

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Updated Individualized Learning Plans How-to Guide

NCWD/Youth has released an updated version of the online how-to guide, “Promoting Quality Individualized Learning Plans: A “How to Guide” Focused on the High School Years.” This guide is designed for schools, educators, and other professionals who assist youth with college and career readiness and transition planning. This guide was developed in response to feedback from schools indicating a need for activities and lesson plans and school-wide ILP implementation strategies. A key goal of the guide is to help schools develop a bridge between college and career readiness efforts through the use of individualized learning plans (ILPs). The career development activities and resources in this guide are also useful for youth service professionals in the workforce development system. NCWD/Youth will also release a new policy brief on individualized learning plans in the coming weeks. Learn more about ILPs at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ilp.

CAST Launches Website Community Based on Universal Design Principles

CAST has launched UDL Exchange, a free website community that enables educators to create, mix, and share lesson plans and other teaching resources based on universal design for learning (UDL) principles and aligned to the Common Core State Standards. UDL Exchange also includes resources that teach about the UDL principles and a UDL Lesson Builder tool to support educators at all grade levels and in all subject areas in planning lessons and making their own UDL-based instructional materials.

U.S. Department of Education Seeks Input on PROMISE Competitive Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Education seeks input on a new competitive grant program, Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE). The purpose of this program is to fund model demonstration projects in states to promote improved outcomes for children who receive SSI and their families. Under this program, projects must form strong and effective partnerships among state agencies responsible for programs that play a key role in providing services to child SSI recipients and their families and provide coordinated services and supports designed to improve the education and employment outcomes of child SSI recipients and their families. Comments may be posted on the  PIN Blog and will be accepted until 5:00 PM EDT on March 17, 2013. The public is also invited to participate in the PROMISE Public Webinars scheduled for February 21, 27, and 28 and March 5. More details are available online.

National Association of Workforce Boards to Hold 2013 Forum

The National Association of Workforce Boards will hold its Annual Forum on March 9-12, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The NAWB Forum brings together leaders in business, government, labor, workforce, and education in an opportunity to connect with peers, learn from industry experts, and collectively work to shape national policy affecting the future of human capital development. The Forum includes pre-conference strategic planning, business and industry sessions, expanded workshops, issue forums, partners’ exchange, and more. Online registration ends February 23. Click here to learn more and to register

Transitions Research and Training Center's Voices4Hope Launches New Webpages on Eating Disorders, Young Adult Parenting, and Bullying

Voices4Hope is a place for teenagers and young adults with mental health conditions to find resources and stigma busting information that can help them lead happy and independent lives. This website was created and is maintained by four young adults with mental health conditions at the Transitions Research and Training Center (RTC). Voices4Hope has launched three new webpages on eating disorders, young adult parenting, and bullying. In these new pages, young adults will be able to learn about conditions or circumstances that can affect them, read recovery stories, and gain resources to help them make the best of their lives in recovery.

January 2013

U.S. Department of Education Clarifies Schools' Obligation to Provide Equal Opportunity to Students with Disabilities to Participate in Extracurricular Athletics

The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights issued guidance clarifying school districts' existing legal obligations to provide equal access to extracurricular athletic activities for students with disabilities. In addition to explaining those legal obligations, the guidance urges school districts to work with community organizations to increase athletic opportunities for students with disabilities, such as opportunities outside of the existing extracurricular athletic program. Students with disabilities have the right, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, to an equal opportunity to participate in their schools' extracurricular activities. A 2010 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that many students with disabilities are not afforded an equal opportunity to participate in athletics, and therefore may not have equitable access to the health and social benefits of athletic participation. Read the full press release here.

Dept of Education Provides Overview Materials of ESEA Flexibility Process, Waivers 

The U.S. Department of Education introduced a set of materials that provides a substantive overview of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility process—also known as ESEA waivers—by which 34 states and the District of Columbia have applied for and received flexibility regarding certain provisions of ESEA.  The intent of these materials—a brochure and five companion fact sheets—is to explain the rationale and intent of ESEA flexibility, as well as address its key components and highlight plan elements for a number of states approved for flexibility.  All of the documents can be easily printed and produced as front-to-back copies; the fact sheets are two-pagers, and the brochure is a tri-fold.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth & AYPF to Host Feb. 15 Capitol Hill Forum on Individualized Learning Plans

NCWD/Youth is partnering with the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) to host a Capitol Hill Forum on February 15, 2013 at 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. on “The Use of Individualized Learning Plans to Help Students to be College and Career Ready.” Those interested in attending are invited to register for this free event online. Preparing for college and careers requires far more than rigorous academic content. College and career exploration and planning activities can play a beneficial role in personalizing learning, engaging students, and preparing them for life beyond school. This event will highlight findings from NCWD/Youth’s research on the use of Individualized Learning Plans (ILP), which provide middle school and high school students with a tool to define their personal interests, goals, and course choices through postsecondary education and into careers. Many states have adopted policies that require the use of ILPs and research is starting to show the benefits. With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, NCWD/Youth has been conducting longitudinal research to assess the effectiveness of ILPs and has implemented a demonstration project to better understand the impact of ILPs on post-school outcomes.

Presenters will summarize the research findings and discuss practitioners’ and policymakers’ experiences implementing and scaling up the use of ILPs. Presenters will include Dr. Terry Holliday, Kentucky Commissioner of Education, Joan Wills, Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Workforce Development, Institute for Educational Leadership, and Dr. Scott Solberg, Associate Dean of Research, Boston University. To learn more about the Capitol Hill Forum and register, visit the AYPF website. If you need an accommodation to participate in this briefing, please let Shamika Stevens (sstevens@aypf.org) know at least 4 days in advance, including what type of accommodation. To learn more about NCWD/Youth’s work on Individualized Learning Plans, visit the ILP project webpage.

USDOL Issues Notice on Upcoming 2014 GED Test Series

The U.S. Department of Labor issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) No. 19-12 with information Related to the 2014 General Education Development (GED®) Test Series. A major overhaul of the GED® Test is underway. The American Council on Education (ACE), a non-profit education leadership organization, and Pearson, a for-profit education and testing company, announced a joint venture in March 2011. A newly created for-profit organization will maintain the GED® Testing Service name (formerly a program of ACE), and establish the GED® 21st Century Initiative. This joint effort focuses on the development of a computer-based GED® Test series. With release of the new GED® Test series on January 2, 2014, administration of the GED® paper version will only occur in limited circumstances (i.e. for disability accommodations and in correctional facilities for a period of time after 2014). Read questions and answers to questions about the 2014 GED® Test on the GED Testing Service's website.

Youth to Work Coalition Launches New Website, 2013 Webinar Series

The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC), in partnership with the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN), and other organizations focused on employment of youth and young adults with disabilities, launched a newly reorganized Youth to Work Coalition (YTWC) website. The purpose of this website is to house resources that help link employers and schools to resources for work-based learning experiences for youth with disabilities. The resources are organized across 8 work-based learning experience (WBLE) categories: (1) career exploration, (2) job shadowing, (3) job sampling, (4) service learning, (5) internships, (6) apprenticeships, (7) paid employment, and (8) mentoring. Within each WBLE category, resources are organized for the following audiences (1) schools, (2) businesses, (3) youth service professionals, (4) families, and (5) youth with disabilities.

The YTWC Webinar Series Kicks off 2013 with a webinar on work-based learning experiences and resources for school systems. This webinar will be held Tuesday January 15, 2013 from 3:00-4:00. Login to the webinar online and dial 1-800-201-2375 (code 611914) for audio.

ODEP Launches Media Campaign Encouraging Youth with Disabilities to Pursue Career Goals

To help millions of people recognize what they can do to make a difference in the lives — and future careers — of young people with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor's (USDOL) Campaign for Disability Employment has released a new video public service announcement titled "Because." The PSA features real people with disabilities — not actors — who are pursuing and realizing their goals and passions as a result of the support they received from everyday people in their lives. Because nearly 1 out of 5 Americans has a disability, the PSA is intended to replace myths and misperceptions about disability employment with new views of what people with disabilities can do. Read USDOL news release.

Secretary of Labor Resigns

On January 9, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis submitted her letter of resignation to President Obama. Solis served as Secretary of Labor since February 2009, early in the president's first term. She was the first Hispanic women to serve in the cabinet. Prior to her Senate confirmation as secretary, Solis had been a U.S. representative for California's 32nd district since January 2003. In a statement, Solis said, "We have much to be proud of. In the past four years, more than 1.7 million people have completed federally-funded job training programs; of those, more than one million have earned industry-recognized credentials. In addition, Labor Department investments in our community colleges have expanded their capacity to provide local, flexible, employer-specific job training to millions of Americans, and transformed these institutions into engines of economic growth." Read the full statement by the U.S. Department of Labor.    

December 2012

AAPD and USBLN to Create New Corporate Index for People with Disabilities

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the U.S. Business Leadership Network(USBLN)® have formed a partnership to establish a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices for disability employment inclusion and accessibility. The project will be launched in 2013. The new index — currently referred to as the "Disability Equality IndexSM" — will provide employers with a transparent, objective road-map for improving opportunities for people with disabilities. AAPD and USBLN® will work with each business to ensure continual progress on the index. Read the AAPD press release.

USDOL Issues Guidance on Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Programming

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) Update 10-13: Defining a Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Program and Related Tools and Resources. The purpse of the TEN is to inform the public workforce system about the pre-apprenticeship program definition and quality framework, as well as promote tools and materials to improve the consistency and quality of pre-apprenticeship programs. The pre-apprenticeship definition and quality framework inlcude approved training and curriculum; strategies for long-term success; access to appropriate aupport services; use of registered apprenticeship to Increase future opporunities; meaningful hands-on training that does not displace paid employees, and facilitied entry and/or articulation.

November 2012

New Web Portal on Assistive Technology Solutions for the Workplace Launched

The RESNA Catalyst Project has launched the new Assistive Technology (AT) for Employer/Business Web Portal, http://atconnects.com/employers, which features information on AT solutions in the workplace and help for accessing AT through the AT Act Entities. The Portal includes a consultant database directory of RESNA Professionals and the services and expertise each offers to employers, publications on AT and Employment, and various resources for employers to explore. Partners who worked with the RESNA Catalyst Project to create the Portal include the United States Business Leadership Network, Job Accommodation Network, the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, Southeast TACE, and the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration. Visit the AT for Employer/Business Web Portal online.  

Disability.gov Launches "What's Your Connection?" Initiative

Disability.gov has created the "What’s Your Connection?" initiative, a grassroots movement emphasizing the connections among all people to celebrate its 10th anniversary.  From October 30, 2012 to July 31, 2013, the initiative aims to use social media and grassroots tactics to spark conversations and build support for inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and in their communities. Any individual is invited to share a story about how having a disability or knowing someone with a disability has touched his or her life. Send a photograph in JPG format, along with a 250-word maximum caption, to disability@dol.gov or upload a captioned, one-minute video to a personal YouTube page and include the hashtag, #myconnection2, in the title. Visit Disability.gov for further information or to access the What’s Your Connection?Toolkit.

October 2012

US DOL to Hold Nov. 15 WIA Youth Chat on Occupational Credentials

The U.S Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration will hold a WIA Youth Chat on Thursday, November 15th at 12:00 pm EST on helping youth attain occupational credentials. The chat will include a discussion of the recently launched Credentials for Youth Tool, on the Workforce3One Youth Community of Practice, which helps workforce professionals identify promising occupations for youth and the credentials to help youth attain them.  To participate in this online live discussion, log into Workforce3One and click on the Chat button. If you are not already a member, you may register for a free account at http://www.workforce3one.org/register.aspx. Participants are invited to submit questions in advance to youth.services@dol.gov.

 

ODEP Unveils Skills to Pay the Bills Videos

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy unveiled a series of videos to complement its Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success training curriculum—a creative program of interactive, hands-on activities that educators and youth service professionals can use to help young people prepare for employment. The videos portray workplace scenarios related to enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, networking, and professionalism. Read the USDOL news release.

Foster Youth Interns Deliver Report to Capitol Hill: Hear Me Now!

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) released its 2012 Foster Youth Internship Report entitled Hear Me Now. CCAI’s Foster Youth Internship Program places young adults who spent time in the United State’s foster care system in internships on Capitol Hill. As part of the program, CCAI organizes retreats, advocacy trainings, and networking opportunities. Interns spent time researching policy issues affecting foster children and created a policy report that they presented at a congressional briefing. The report focuses on preventing the crossover from foster care to criminal justice, postsecondary education for foster youth, tribal communities, group homes, health care, and more.

US DOL Launches Virtual Workplace Flexibility Toolkit

Workplace flexibility policies and practices typically focus on when and where work is done. The online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit adds a new dimension — an emphasis on flexibility around job tasks and what work is done. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy in partnership with the USDOL’s Women's Bureau, the toolkit makes more than 170 resources easily accessible. Read the USDOL news release.
 

National Center on Learning Disabilities Spotlights Dyslexia During National LD Awareness Month

October is National Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, and the National Center on Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is spotlighting dyslexia. Dyslexia impacts an estimated 15% of people. NCLD has a dyslexia toolkit with tools and resources to understand dyslexia, recognize signs of dyslexia in individuals, and learn accommodation strategies.

Special Education/Transition Blogger Highlights Job Shadowing, NCWD/Youth Resources

Mary Mazzoni with the website Life After IEPs wrote a blog entry entitled “Career exploration – Job Shadowing," which highlighted NCWD/Youth’s “Career Exploration in Act: An Innovative Strategies Practice Brief.” The website provides a variety of resources for parents and mentors of young people with disabilities.

Advertising Council and StopBullying.gov Launch “Be More Than a Bystander” Campaign

StopBullying.gov, operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, debuted resources for the Advertising Council’s new anti-bulling “Be More Than a Bystander” campaign. It targets the issue with a series of television, print and online ads, and a website promoting the idea that if witnesses know what to do, they can take steps to stop bullying. The Ad Council is working with groups including Facebook, AOL, the federal education and health departments, the Free to Be Foundation, and PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center

New NCWD content.Personal Assistance Services Toolkit Now Available in E-Reader Format

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s popular publication Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS) is now available for e-readers in both ePub and mobi formats. This toolkit is designed for youth with disabilities who are planning to live independently in the community but need help with daily tasks. It offers concrete steps to hiring, managing and paying for personal assistance services. Access the PDF version on NCWD/Youth's website.

OVAE Promotes Employability Skills Framework

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education is promoting its Support for States Employability Standards in CTE and Adult Education initiative. Its purpose is to consolidate and disseminate information on employability skills to form a centralized clearinghouse that helps inform the instruction and assessment of these skills. Information on their website, compiled from a variety of sources, represents a common understanding of employability skills supported throughout the U.S. government. To support the instruction and assessment of employability skills, the website includes an interactive framework that organizes employability skills; an online tool to inform the selection of an employability skills assessment; profiles of state, local, and employer-led employability skills initiatives; and links to related initiatives.

Study Highlights Factors that Influence College Completion for Students with Disabilities

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Kessler Foundation recently released a the study entitled College Students with Disabilities: What Factors Influence Successful Degree Completion? A Case Study. The study involved five community colleges and universities in New Jersey and twenty individuals with disabilities who had successfully completed their college education. The report offers findings from the student interviews, including the fact that access to accommodations was not a major issue for students although learning about such accommodations was not always the smoothest process, and that students reported mainly using campus resources as opposed to a combination of college and community services. The report also examines some of the challenges faced by college disability/special services offices, including recordkeeping and student/faculty outreach. Finally, the report concludes with recommendations for further study, including conducting research on a variety of issues related to students with disabilities, college faculty and staff, and promising practices that assist students with disabilities and their transition to employment.

For additional information on students with disabilities at community college, read NCWD/Youth's publication Career-Focused Services for Students with Disabilities at Community Colleges.

SSA Hosts "From Community Service to Employment" Twitter Chat on October 26

On October 26 at 12 p.m. ET., the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program will host, “From Community Service to Employment: Developing Career Skills and Networks through Community Service,”  a disability employment chat on Twitter (#DEChat). Join the discussion on Twitter about how volunteering can build up your resume and make you more appealing to potential employers. Sheila Fesko, director of National Service to Employment Program (NextSTEP), is scheduled to participate. To participate, sign in to Twitter and follow @chooseworkssa. Use hashtag #DEChat in your posts to ask and respond to questions throughout the chat. Learn more by visiting the SSA Ticket to Work Blog.

September 2012

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Universal Design for Learning in Workforce Development Programs

NCWD/Youth has released the InfoBrief, Everybody Learns, Everybody Works: Using Universal Design for Learning in Workforce Development Programs.  This brief for professionals who work directly with youth in workforce development programs explains the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational model that makes any general curriculum accessible to all learners, regardless of learning style. The brief describes how UDL principles can be used in work experiences and training settings to more effectively and efficiently engage all youth, including youth with disabilities. The brief is available online.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Policy Brief on Health Care Transition

NCWD/Youth has released the Policy Brief, Transition's Missing Link: Health Care Transition. Drawing on a number of recent health care-related reports, this Policy Brief identifies strategies for improving health care transition for youth with chronic conditions and disabilities. The brief is available online

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Family Guideposts

NCWD/Youth has released the InfoBrief, The Guideposts for Success: A Framework for Families Preparing Youth for Adulthood, which examines how the Guideposts for Success can be used as a framework from which families of youth with disabilities can consider the support needs of their youth during the transition planning process. This information will also be helpful to professionals seeking strategies to effectively partner with families, and to advocates looking to empower families in the transition process.The brief is available online.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Videos By and For Youth Discuss Disclosure and Personal Assistance Services

NCWD/Youth has posted eight videos for and by youth with disabilities. The 411 on Disability Disclosure video features youth with disabilities discussing how their decisions to disclose their disabilities have affected them at school, at work, and in social situations.  This video is a companion to the publication, The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities. Three shorter video clips from the full video are also available online. In the video, Making Your Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS), youth share how they use personal assistance services (PAS) and what’s involved in finding and managing their own services. This video is a companion to the publication, Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood. Three shorter video clips from the full video are also available. 

Annie E. Casey Foundation Releases 2012 Kids Count  Data Book

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 2012 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in child well-being. The report highlights major disparities among U.S. children along racial and ethnic lines. In its 23rd release of the data book, the foundation broadened its index of 16 indicators of child well-being, organized into four categories: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. Each year the foundation publishes the data book, which tracks the well-being of the nation’s children, state by state.

EARN to Host Webinar for Employers on Interplay of FMLA and ADA

On September 27, the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is hosting a free webinar for employers that will highlight the important responsibilities of human resource departments, managers, and employees in engaging in the complexities of intermittent leave; requests for medical information in view of Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) obligations; and the interactive accommodation process. The webinar will include case studies and best practices for managing these multifaceted challenges. 

Cornell to Host Webinar on Section 508 and Producing Accessible Electronic Documents

On October 10, Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute will host a webinar on producing accessible electronic documents and will provide resources for agencies to use. The webinar is sponsored by the Accessibility Committee of the CIO Council and presented by members of the newly-formed, interagency Accessible Electronic Document Community of Practice (AED COP). The recommended audience is agency policymakers, 508 practitioners, communications professionals, office administrators and all employees involved in authoring or disseminating electronic documents.

Job Accommodation Network Releases Online Training Module

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) released the third in a series of fully accessible "Just-in-Time" training modules. Titled "All About JAN," this 12-minute training module and accompanying transcript and handout provide an overview of JAN, a free, confidential service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The module and supporting documents can be found in JAN's Multimedia Training Library.

ODEP Hosts Live Webcast on Open Government Collaboration Strategies

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is hosting a live webcast on open government collaboration strategies on Thursday, September 13 at 2 p.m. EDT. This webcast titled, “Policy Development Think Tank: New Strategies for Successful Collaboration,” is a part of the ePolicyWorks initiative. During this free event, panelists will share information and discuss their perspectives on the use of new and innovative open government strategies.  Focusing on the use of leading-edge collaboration tools by Federal agencies and their stakeholders, the event will explore new approaches to policy development in such key areas as disability employment. Learn more and access the webcast online at http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/Technology.htm. This event will be live audio-captioned and will feature a real-time Twitter feed with the hashtag #ePolicyWorks. No registration is required.

USDOL Awards Grant to Institute for Educational Leadership for National Center for Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Employment

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has awarded a grant to the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) to operate ODEP’s National Technical Assistance and Demonstration Center on Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Employment. IEL is excited to receive this award to continue to build upon the last 11 years of work by the ODEP-funded National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth). This is the third iteration of this technical assistance center.

NCWD/Youth will continue to build capacity within and across youth service-delivery systems to improve employment and postsecondary education outcomes for all youth, including youth with disabilities.

NCWD/Youth will focus on three areas: career exploration, management and planning; youth development and leadership; and professional development for youth service professionals. It will provide technical assistance, training, and information to organizations running youth programs funded by the Workforce Investment Act, as well as current and former USDOL grantees. In order to improve transition outcomes for all youth, including youth with disabilities, NCWD/Youth looks forward to working in collaboration with federal, state, and local agencies across multiple youth-serving systems in the public and private sectors.

Read the USDOL news release here.

USDOL Announces New Online Technical Assistance Site for Workforce System Professionals

The U.S. Department of Labor annouced Workforce Systems Strategies, a new website designed to make it easier for workforce system professionals to quickly find information that supports positive customer outcomes. Workforce System Strategies is a searchable tool populated with a growing number of experimental studies, implementation evaluations, and peer-informed how-to guides. Professionals can use the site to help job seekers and employer customers achieve better outcomes; identify preliminary evidence that may be useful in program design; and be at the forefront of the workforce system. 

Report Compares U.S. vs. Global Investment in Education

The Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation released The Competition that Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce. The report profiles the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. education system, citing a relatively high rate of secondary attainment, a lower postsecondary attainment rate, a lag in STEM education and questionable teacher quality. In contrast, there are two countries that are working to develop their huge populations into a highly qualified workforce: China and India.

Report Examines Supported Employment Practices, Partnerships, and Funding

The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachussetts Boston published Description of Supported Employment Practices, Cross-System Partnerships, and Funding Models of Four Types of State Agencies and Community Rehabilitation Providers. This report presents research on supported employment (SE) funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to focus on vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency partnerships with other state entities, and sources and models for long-term funding. To conduct the research, ICI included a supported employment module into ongoing surveys of state VR agencies, state intellectual and developmental disability agencies, state mental health agencies, and state welfare agencies. The research also included additional analysis of data obtained from an ongoing survey of community rehabilitation programs relevant to supported employment. Additionally, ICI conducted case studies of SE partnerships in five states (Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, and Washington). These case studies were designed to build understanding of the range of practices that VR systems might use to ensure more successful transitions to long-term support through other resources.

USDOL Announces Disability Tech App Challenge Winners

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the winners of its disability employment app challenge. The contest, launched in May, encouraged third-party developers to build tools to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. The winning entries included “Access Jobs,” which delivers an accessible job search experience from multiple online sources; “VoisPal-Speak as You Think!,” which helps people with speech difficulties express themselves with over 5,000 common phrases; and “AccDC: Accelerated Dynamic Content,” a scalable, cross-browser, cross-platform system that improves accessibility for screen reader and keyboard-only users. Read the full USDOL press release.

August 2012

USDOL Issues Guidance on WIA Youth Programming

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration issued Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) number 5-12 to provide guidance for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Program activities in program year 2012. The TEGL notes that WIA shifted the focus of youth activities from short-term training and job placement to longer-term services that support education, skill development, work experience, and transition to careers and adulthood. The ten program elements that comprise WIA youth activities reflect four themes: improving educational achievement, preparing for and succeeding in employment, providing adequate support in completing learning and employment goals, and developing the potential of youth as citizens and leaders. While prior guidance has addressed the first two themes, this TEGL focuses on the third and four themes. The guidance letter consolidates some existing guidance and provides additional clarification on the program elements related to themes three and four. The guidance addresses, for example, assessment, individual service strategies, youth engagement and retention, leadership development, and mentoring. It also includes a number of local program examples.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Professional Development for Youth Service Professionals

NCWD/Youth has released a new Info Brief, Developing a Professional Development System for Youth Service Professionals. Although youth service professionals are responsible for preparing millions of youth across the country each day for the transition to adulthood, there is no career pathway or cohesive professional development system through which they can receive training and education in core competencies that culminates in a nationally recognized professional certification or a degree. This brief describes the current status of and opportunities for a comprehensive cross-disciplinary professional development system for youth service professionals. It also discusses next steps for systems, professionals, and policy makers. Read the brief online.

National Council on Disability Calls for Phase-Out of Subminimum Wages for People with Disabilities

The National Council on Disability (NCD) –- an independent federal agency -- released a report calling for the phase-out of a provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act, known as the 14(c) program, that allows employers who receive a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor, to pay less than federal minimum wage to workers with disabilities for work performed. The central theme of the recommendations in the report is the gradual phase-out of the 14(c) program, and accompanying systems change to enhance existing resources and create new mechanisms for supporting individuals in securing integrated employment. The net outcome of implementing these recommendations to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities in line with the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act for equality of opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and full participation in all aspects of society. 

Georgetown Study Finds College Grads Lead National Job Growth Recovery

A study released by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that almost half of the jobs lost in the recession that began in December, 2007 have been recovered and virtually all of those jobs required some form of postsecondary education. Experts say this data demonstrates the ongoing importance of education beyond high school for individual workers and our national economy. The wage advantage for workers with a bachelor’s degree or better over high school has remained high and has held mostly stable at 97 percent. The wage premium for bachelor’s degrees or better relative to high school degrees skyrocketed from 44 percent in 1981 to a 100 percent in 2005 and has only fallen to 97 percent since the beginning of the recession. The Georgetown study shows that in 2012, seven percent of graduates with a bachelor degree or better are still unemployed and another 14 percent are underemployed in jobs beneath their skill levels. By comparison, the unemployment rate for new high school graduates is 24 percent and 42 percent for those individuals are underemployed.  Read the whole report: The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm.

GAO Report on Students with Disabilities Highlights NCWD/Youth’s Guideposts for Success

The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently released a report entitled “Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School.” The report highlights the challenges youth with disabilities face in transitioning from high school to postsecondary education and the workforce. The report identifies a variety of ways in which federal agencies can better coordinate to serve youth with disabilities, including implementing NCWD/Youth’s Guideposts for Success across multiple youth-serving federal agencies as a framework to support transition to adulthood for all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth. According to the report, “Such a framework could also be used at the local level to identify gaps in communities and individual plans.”

Updated Census Statistics: 1 in 5 Americans Has a Disability

The U.S. Census Bureau has released updated statistics on the population of people with disabilities in the U.S. According to the new figures, 56.7 Americans (18.7% of the population) have some type of disability. Of this number, an estimated 38.3 million (12.6%) have a disability characterized as "severe." These numbers reflect incidence of disability across all age groups. One in ten transition-age youth (15 to 24 years old) has a disability.

The findings, which are contained in a study based on the Bureau's 2010 Survey of Income and Program Participation, also provide estimates on the prevalence of different types of disability: vision impairment: 8.1 million (3.3%); hearing impairment: 7.6% (3.1%); difficulty walking or climbing stairs: 30.6 million (12.6%), including people who use wheelchairs (3.6 million) and canes, crutches, or walkers (11.6 million); difficulty lifting or grasping: 19.9 million (8.2%); and cognitive, mental, or emotional impairments: 15.2 million (6.3%).

The Bureau's report, "Americans with Disabilities: 2010," also covers distribution by age and gender and provides estimates on various economic factors, including employment rate, income levels, program participation, and health insurance coverage. The report and related information are available on the Census Bureau's website.

National Youth Leadership Network Seeks Young Leaders to Serve on Governing Board

The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) is accepting applications for itsGoverning Board (GB). NYLN is a youth-led organization that works to build power among people with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 28 years old. The NYLN promotes youth leadership development; values inclusion, interdependent support systems, and disability pride; works to create access to the resources youth need to be leaders; supports work being done by youth activists with disabilities on the local level; trains youth with disabilities; and connects youth leaders with opportunities to serve and be active members of their communities.

GB members are NYLN’s organizational leaders. They make decisions for NYLN and are often the leaders in NYLN projects. Examples of GB responsibilities include serving on at least one committee; representing NYLN in coalitions and at conferences; building collaboration with other organizations; recruiting new members; and finding ways for NYLN to be active in your local community. Serving on the GB involves an average of two meetings a month. Meetings happen by phone or in an online chatroom. GB members spend about 15 hours a month on NYLN. GB members must be between 14 and 28 years old; have a disability; live in the United States or its territories; have a passion for social justice; and believe in and practice full-inclusion.

Click here to learn more and apply!

GAO Recommends Interagency Transition Strategy to Improve Post-High School Transition Among Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued the report, "Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School" (GAO-12-594). In the report, GAO recommends improving the provision of transition services for students with disabilities by developing an interagency transition strategy shared by the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and the Social Security Administration that addresses (1) operating toward common outcome goals for transitioning youth; (2) increasing awareness of available transition services; and (3) assessing the effectiveness of their coordination efforts. All four agencies agreed with the recommendation. The full report is available online.

Family Information Guide to Assistive Technology and Transition Planning Available in English & Spanish

The Family Center on Technology and Disability has published the Family Information Guide to Assistive Technology and Transition Planning in both English and Spanish.  The guide includes an overview of transition planning and assistive technology, guidance on how to make a successful transition with assistive technology, information on laws governing accommodations and transition in birth-12th grade and postsecondary settings, a glossary, and additional resources. Access the guide online in English and in Spanish.

Campaign Pushes for Creation of Presidential Youth Council

More than a year ago a group of remarkable young people came together to advocate for a new addition to government: youth leadership. Their proposal was to create a Presidential Youth Council that would advise the President and every federal department in the Cabinet. Now, the Campaign for the Presidential Youth Council has officially launched and is gaining traction with the support of more than 100 leading youth-focused organizations. Read on to learn more about this exciting initiative and the latest developments in the Campaign. The Presidential Youth Council, comprised of young Americans ages 16-24, will advise the President on the perspectives of youth, offer suggestions on how to make federally funded youth programs more efficient and effective, and will create shared recommendations on issues that will affect the long-term future of our country.

July 2012

ODEP Hosts August 2nd Live Webinar on Accessible Technology & Employment

US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) will host a live webinar on Thursday, August 2nd at 2:00 pm EST on “Accessible Technology’s Impact on the Employment of People with Cognitive and Developmental Disabilities.” Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, will moderate the webinar, which will address the current state of accessible technology for those with cognitive and developmental disabilities, as well as provide examples of the current and future use of these technologies in the workplace.  This event is a part of ODEP’s AT Works series, a sequence of free webcasts and webinars that explore the connection between emerging technologies and the employment of people with disabilities. Access the webinar and accompanying presentation slides at http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/Technology.htm. This event will be live audio-captioned and will feature a real-time Twitter feed with the hashtag #ATworks. No registration is required.

Senate HELP Committee Releases Report, Recommendations on Disability Employment

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions released a report entitled "Unfinished Business: Making Employment of People with Disabilities a National Priority." The report details the current state of employment for adults with disabilities and describes policy recommendations that could help to increase labor force participation. Following a series of bipartisan HELP Committee hearings to explore the persistently low employment rate of people with disabilities, this report outlines the next steps to achieve Chairman Tom Harkin’s goal of raising the number of Americans with disabilities in the labor force to six million by 2015.

NGA Announces New Initiative to Increase Employment Among Individuals with Disabilities

On July 15, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell officially became chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), and he announced his chair’s initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, which aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the initiative will focus on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other significant disabilities and the role that both state government and business can play in facilitating and advancing opportunities for these individuals to be gainfully employed in the competitive labor market.

Mobility International Promotes Webinars for Fullbright Applicants with Disabilities

Mobility International USA is promoting several webinars for U.S. students with disabilities interested in applying for Fullbright grants. The Fulbright Student Program awards approximately 1,500 grants annually to graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to pursue post-baccalaureate academic study, English Teaching Assistantships or supervised research abroad. Grants are awarded for activities in more than 125 countries worldwide, in a wide range of subject fields, or for instruction and supervised practice in selected professional fields such as art, music, law, business, and others. Webinars for students are July 18 and August 29. 

HHS, HUD Collaborate on Community Integration Resources for Persons with Disabilities

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have collaborated to release two documents describing available housing resources and policies in support of Olmstead implementation efforts. In the Olmstead v. L.C. case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states were required to eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. These two resources include:

June 2012

Interdepartmental Federal Initiative Aims to Improve Outcomes for Youth Receiving SSI

Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor and the Social Security Administration. PROMISE was created to foster improved health, education, and postsecondary outcomes for children ages 14-18 who receive Supplemental Security Income, as well as their families. The primary focus of the initiative is to support improved coordination of services, such as those available through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants program, Medicaid Health and Home and Community-Based Waiver services, Job Corps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Workforce Investment Act programs. PROMISE also seeks to facilitate the increased use of such services, ensuring that families are tied into programs for which they might be eligible, but are not yet participating.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth, ODEP Host Webinar on New Soft Skills Curriculum (Recording Available)

NCWD/Youth and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) hosted a webinar on ODEP's new curriculum entitled "Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success." The curriculum 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 comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

Campaign for Disability Employment Policy Announces Video Contest Winners

The Campaign for Disability Employment’s 2012 “What can YOU do?” Video Contest challenged the general public, youth, and employers to produce disability employment awareness videos that reflect the diversity of skills people with disabilities offer, challenge common misconceptions about disability and employment, and reinforce the “What can YOU do?” initiative’s core message that at work, it’s what people CAN do that matters. The CDE’s national “What can YOU do?” initiative reinforces that people with disabilities want to work and that their talents and abilities positively impact businesses both financially and organizationally.Contest winners were selected in three categories; General Public, Youth, and Employer. Judging was based on originality, content, reflection of campaign themes and categories, production value, impact, and accessibility. Three first place winners—one in each of the General Public, Youth, and Employer categories—will receive an *Apple® iPad®, while two runners-up each will receive $250.00, courtesy of the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN®). Winning videos will now be used in support of the CDE’s national effort to increase the employment of people with disabilities. Learn more and watch all three winning videos.

IEL Seeks Applicants for Global Education Policy Fellowship

The Institute for Educational Leadership, in partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), is accepting applications through July 6th for a professional development program focused on education policy in the Age of Globalization called the Global Education Policy Fellowship Program (GEPFP), a unique experience open to senior-level leaders with interest in global education policy. GEPFP combines online learning with international travel to China. View the program description and tentative schedule of GEPFP meetings for 2012-2013. To apply,  complete the GEPFP online application. The application—along with a $950 deposit—is due by July 6, 2012. For more information about Global EPFP, please email epfp@iel.org.

Portland RTC Publication Focuses on Interplay Between Physical and Mental Health

The Pathways to Positive Futures Research and Training Center (RTC) in Portland, OR recently released its annual Focal Point publication. This year's issue is entitled "Healthy Body - Healthy Mind." It focuses on the recognition that mental and physical health should not be considered separately. It addresses how the mind and body impact each other, and how we can strive to achieve balance within ourselves. 

USDOL Issues Notice on Curriculum for Teaching Soft Skills

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration has issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 48-11 announcing the availability of “Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success Curriculum.” The notice informs youth service professionals in the workforce development system that they can use the Skills to Pay the Bills curriculum to train youth preparing for work. Training youth in soft skills, also referred to as work readiness, employability, or job readiness skills, ensures that they are prepared to meet employers’ expectations when they enter the world of work. TEN 48-11 is available online.

May 2012

FCC Online Accessibility Clearinghouse Provides Communication and Technology Resources for Individuals with Disabilities

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Accessibility Clearinghouse is an online resource and information hub about phones and innovative ways to communicate, especially for individuals with disabilities. The FCC has organized the Clearinghouse resources by disability, including blind or visually impaired; cognitive disabilites; deaf-blind disability; hearing, language, and speech disabilities; and mobility and physical disabilities.

New NCWD content.Article Highlights NCWD/Youth’s Work on Individualized Learning Plans

In the May 14, 2012 edition of Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, the Hammill Institute on Disabilities published an article entitled “Quality Learning Experiences, Self-Determination, and Academic Success: A Path Analytic Study Among Youth with Disabilities.” The article features findings from the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) research and demonstration project conducted by NCWD/Youth and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The article’s co-author, Boston University’s V. Scott Solberg, is the lead researcher on the ILP project.

USDOL Seeks Submissions for Disability Employment App Challenge

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced the launch of its first disability-related application challenge, which is designed to generate innovative tools that will improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. The goal of the app challenge is to promote recruitment resources for employers, develop job training and skill-building tools for job seekers, facilitate employment-related transportation options, and expand information communication technology accessibility. Awards with cash prizes — totaling $10,000 — will be given to the top three submissions. Contestants must register for the contest on the Challenge.gov website and submit their apps by August 23, 2012. Read the full news release.

White House/USDOL Announce Summer Jobs for Youth Through Summer Jobs+ Initiative

The White House and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Summer Jobs+ initiative has announced nearly 300,000 summer jobs and other employment opportunities for youth and a new online tool to help youth access opportunities. The initiative has secured additional commitments from 95 companies and nonprofits, three cities, two federal agencies, and the White House to provide 110,000 new summer jobs and other employment opportunities for low-income and disconnected youth this year. Employment opportunities include 90,000 paid jobs and thousands of mentorships, internships, and other training opportunities. The administration will also launch the Summer Jobs+ Bank, a new online search tool to help connect young people to jobs, internships, and other employment opportunities this summer and year-round. Read the news release from U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

CMS Issues New Guidance on Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new guidance for states on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility for implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Beginning in January 2014, individuals under 65 years of age with income below 133% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for Medicaid. For the first time, low-income adults without children will be guaranteed coverage through Medicaid in every state without need for a waiver, and parents of children will be eligible at a uniform income level across all states. Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility and enrollment will be much simpler and will be coordinated with the newly created Affordable Insurance Exchanges.

National Center Provides Guidance on Supporting Youth with Mental Health Needs

The Transitions Research & Training Center (RTC) at the University of Massachusetts aims to improve the supports for youth and young adults, ages 14-30, with serious mental health conditions who are trying to successfully complete their schooling and training and move into rewarding work lives. Transitions RTC offers various publications including research briefs and tip sheets that service providers and policy makers can use to inform policies and practices. Three of these publications include:

More publications from Transition RTC are available online at: http://labs.umassmed.edu/transitionsRTC/Resources/Publications.html.

April 2012

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Launches Web Page with Resources in Spanish

NCWD/Youth recently launched a single web page with links to all of its resources in Spanish. These documents include NCWD/Youth's Guideposts for Success (Guia/Estandar para el Exito) and Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families (Ayudando a los Jovenes a Desarollar Habilidades Sociales para Tener Exito en el Trabajo: Consejos para los Padres y las Familias). The page also houses Spanish versions of resources by NCWD/Youth partners.

NCD Releases Report on Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act

The National Council on Disability (NCD) released the publication, Exploring New Paradigms for the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, a supplement to the 2011 NCD publication Rising Expectations: The Developmental Disabilities Act Revisited. The supplement expands on the challenges identified in Rising Expectations and offers specific recommendations for aligning systems and statutes both within and beyond the scope of the DD Act. Access the publication online at http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/Apr222012/.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Offers Training for Youth Service Professionals

Organizations and systems that want to improve the skills and job performance of youth service professionals can request the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (YSP/KSA) Training from NCWD/Youth’s cadre of trainers. With support from USDOL/ODEP, NCWD/Youth has developed 8 YSP/KSA Training Modules designed to strengthen youth professionals’ competencies for working with all youth. These interactive, day-long training sessions address the knowledge, skills, and abilities that youth service professionals need to better connect all youth, including youth with disabilities, to workforce, educational, and independent living opportunities. The YSP/KSA Training helps enhance staff performance to improve youth outcomes. The training modules include:

  1. Knowledge of the Field: This Work That We Do
  2. Communication with Youth: The Helping Relationship
  3. Assessment and Individualized Planning: Charting a Course with Youth
  4. Relationship to Family: Working Together
  5. Career Exploration and Workforce Preparation: Youth Opening the Door to the World of Work
  6. Community Resources: Weaving a Web for Youth
  7. Employer Relations: Beyond the Handshake
  8. Program Design, Delivery, and Administration: It’s All in the Design

More information about the YSP/KSA Training modules, including what each module covers, is available online at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ksa/training-modules.  To inquire about training, contact NCWD/Youth at Ph. 202-822-8405 or email: ksa@ncwd-youth.info.

Registration Now Open for 2012 National Transition Conference

Registration is now open for the 2012 National Transition Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The conference will be from May 30 to June 1 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. This year's theme is "College and Careers for Youth with Disabilities." The conference will provide a forum for the development of an action agenda; bring together critical partners in the transition community to exchange innovative ideas and approaches; demonstrate knowledge gained from policy implementation; share transition practices and research findings; and promote and facilitate the development of networks and relationships. In particular, the conference will focus on familiy involvement, postsecondary education, high expectations, careers, self-determination, and interagency collaboration. The conference registration fee is $285 per person A limited number of scholarships are available for young adults with disabilities and/or family members who are not affiliated with an agency or organization and do not have access to financial support to attend the conference.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases How-to Guide for Implementing Individualized Learning Plans

NCWD/Youth has released “Promoting Quality Individualized Learning Plans: A ‘How to Guide’ Focused on the High School Years”, a new online guide for schools, educators, and other professionals who assist youth with college and career readiness and transition planning. This guide was developed in response to feedback from schools indicating a need for curriculum and implementation guidelines to support whole-school buy-in for implementing individualized learning plans (ILPs).  A key goal of the guide is to help schools develop a bridge between college and career readiness efforts through the use of ILPs and help youth achieve prosperous and productive lives. The career development activities and resources in this guide are also useful for youth service professionals in the workforce development system.

The guide contents include:

  • Section I – a range of curriculum resources organized according to three career development phases that are necessary in order to support students' development of high quality ILPs:  self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management. 
  • Section II – an overview of several strategies that can facilitate school-wide ILP implementation and addresses how to connect it to broader institutional goals. 
  • Section III – how to develop, implement, and monitor the ILP process. 
  • Section IV – links to a number of additional resources, including those commercially available that schools can consider in support of implementing ILPs.

The guide is available online and also in PDF version.

March 2012

Tip Sheet Guides Young People Applying for a Job

The tip sheet, Applying for a Job: The Young Adult’s Guide, a publication from the Northeast Massachusetts Community of Practice and Transitions Research & Training Center at the University of Massachusetts, offers practical guidance for young people who are seeking employment. This tip sheet covers things to keep in mind when looking for a job, where to search for jobs, how to fill out job applications, and what to do you apply including interviewing tips. More tip sheets for young adults are available online at: http://labs.umassmed.edu/transitionsRTC/Resources/Publications.html

White House Seeks Nominations for Champions of STEM and Disability

The White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE) and the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education are partnering to highlight individuals doing great work to increase science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities in education and employment and are looking your help in finding these champions. The Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country that represent the president’s vision of STEM innovation and education and engaging people with disabilities. The White House is accepting nominations online through April 7, 2012.

Examples of what a Champion’s work may entail include:

  • Hiring people with disabilities in STEM fields
  • Making STEM materials accessible for people with disabilities
  • Advancing educational opportunities for people with disabilities in STEM
  • Promoting STEM opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Developing programs or initiatives that change attitudes about STEM for people with disabilities
  • Inventing STEM products for people with disabilities

Department of Education Launches National Education Startup Challenge for Students

The U.S. Department of Education launched the National Education Startup Challenge, inviting students to develop an innovative solution to an education problem and design a blueprint for a new company or organization – a startup – to deliver that solution. The National Education Startup Challenge provides an opportunity to highlight the leadership abilities and entrepreneurial energies of today’s youth. Students from across the country have until May 1, 2012 to submit a business plan and a video pitch for a for-profit or nonprofit startup that includes an innovative strategy, product or service designed to address one of four topics:

  1. Middle Grades Matter – Helping middle school students transition to high school and stay on track to graduate.
  2. Skills, Skills, Skills – Providing students in rural, urban, and/or high-poverty communities with opportunities for internships or other work- and community-based learning experiences that help them develop skills for success in postsecondary education, 21st century careers, and civic life.
  3. Education Pays – Making it easier for students and families to find and select high-quality, affordable postsecondary programs – whether colleges, universities, or career training programs – that provide good value.
  4. Finishing Faster – Increasing the likelihood that postsecondary students complete their degrees, and decreasing the time it takes them to finish, such as by improving and speeding up remedial education.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Innovative Strategies Practice Brief on Career Exploration Activities

NCWD/Youth’s Practice Brief, Career Exploration in Action, is now available online. This brief is part of a series of publications called Innovative Strategies Practice Briefs. Each brief highlights strategies for implementing a specific practice that are used by promising and exemplary programs recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies (see the searchable database of all recognized programs). This brief describes the strategies and resources used by youth programs and school systems to engage all youth in exploring various career options. All youth need career exploration opportunities to help identify how their interests and skills relate to various careers, learn what education and training is needed to pursue careers of interest, and make informed decisions about their future. Some types of career exploration activities include career-related guest speakers, workplace visits and tours, job shadowing, career fairs and career days, and career-focused mentoring. Read the brief online or download a copy.

White House Seeks Public Comments on Section 508 Strategic Plan

In the past several years, the Obama Administration has focused on enhancing its commitment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, so that Americans outside the government can access information about their government and those working inside the government can be productive employees. Section 508 requires that federal agencies’ electronic and information technology be accessible to people with disabilities. In July 2011, the President announced an effort to develop a strategic plan for Section 508 and the intent to share the strategy with the public. To support development of this plan, senior officials and staff from across the Executive Office of the President have met with advocacy groups, Section 508 coordinators, the CIOC Accessibility Committee, the Access Board, the General Services Administration, and other key stakeholders inside and outside the government. The strategic plan includes high-level objectives, initiatives, focus areas, and potential measures. The administration is now seeking comment on what has been proposed and suggestions on broad management strategies, tactics, and actions that can ultimately help federal agencies better comply with Section 508. Read the full White House Press release for or visit www.Section508.gov for more information.

FEMA, CNCS Partner to Create Service Corps for Disaster Response and Recovery

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced a new partnership designed to strengthen the nation’s ability to respond to and recover from disasters. FEMA Corps will be a new unit of AmeriCorps’ existing National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). FEMA Corps members will be devoted solely to FEMA disaster response and recovery efforts. The five-year agreement provides for a full service corps of 1,600 members annually. FEMA Corps members will serve 10-month terms, with the option of extending for a second year. The program will prepare thousands of young people for careers in emergency management and related fields. During their service, corpsmembers will gain significant training and experience in disaster services and will provide important support to disaster survivors. The first FEMA Corps members will begin serving in September 2012, and the program will reach full capacity within 18 months.

AAPD Accepting Applications for Youth Transitions Fellowship Through End of April

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), in coordination with The HSC Foundation, is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Youth Transitions Fellow position. The Youth Transitions Fellow will gain exposure to youth programs serving people with disabilities and will have the opportunity to facilitate collaboration among internship, fellowship, and apprenticeship programs based in the Greater Washington, DC area.  This paid fellowship position at AAPD is ideal for a recent college graduate with a disability who is looking to jump start a career and help peers transition to the workplace. The application deadline is April 30th, 2012.

NIB Seeks Applicants for Fellowship for Leadership Development

The Fellowship for Leadership Development, sponsored by National Industries for the Blind, is a salaried program that combines business-focused, on-the-job experience with professional development activities. Legally blind individuals who have an undergraduate degree, work experience, and passion for business are invited to apply. The deadline for application is April 30, 2012.

National Transition Conference Seeks Proposals by March 27

The 2012 National Transition Conference, to be held May 30 – June 1 in Washington, DC, is seeking proposals for presentations and posters. All proposals are due by March 27th and must be related to the conference topic of transition for young people with disabilities with a focus on paths to careers including training and postsecondary education.  In addition to professionals who work in this arena, young people and family members with experience with the transition process are encouraged to submit proposals. All proposals must be submitted using the online submission process. For more information, go to www.transition2012.org. Questions may be directed to Cindy Thomas at cindy.thomas@umb.edu, ph. 617-287-4312 or Melanie Jordan at Melanie.jordan@umb.edu, ph. 617-287-4327.

HHS Releases Fact Sheet on Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability has released a fact sheet entitled “People with Disabilities and Serious Health Conditions: The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” The fact sheet is available in English and Spanish on the HealthCare.gov website. This resource highlights key aspects of the ACA which meet the needs of consumers with disabilities.

Tech Firms Answer President's Call to Provide Youth Summer Jobs

After a $1.5 billion summer and year-round youth jobs bill was not in Congress, President Obama called upon the nation's private sector to create a quarter million job opportunities for youth by this summer. The White House branded its youth summer jobs initiative as Summer Jobs+ 2012, which is housed at the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

Thirty-five companies, including some in the technology industry, have pledged support. leading the White House to create an opportunity called SummerQAmp, an opportunity for youth and young adults to gain entry-level experience in the technology industry with quality assurance positions, which are pivotal in the development of smart phone apps and other software. DuringSummerQAmp internships, youth will gain a  fundamental understanding of how software works and receive access to educational resources to assist them in preparing for a potential career in software development.

Learn more at...

February 2012

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to Participate in Partners Exchange at NAWB Forum 2012

NCWD/Youth will participate in “The Exchange” at the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) Forum 2012 from March 10 – 13 in Washington, DC. The Exchange will house NAWB’s nonprofit and government partners that support workforce. This year’s Forum theme is “Dialogue for National Excellence.” Stop by and see us in between sessions!

USDOL Releases Summer Employment Initiatives Reports

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration has released the following reports on findings from the Summer Youth Employment Initiatives funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:  

National Education Startup Challenge Invites Youth to Propose Education Solutions

The U. S. Department of Education has launched the National Education Startup Challenge, which invites students in middle school, high school, and college students and out-of-school youth to develop innovative, real world solutions to improve education. Youth from across the country are encouraged to submit a business plan and a video pitch for a for-profit or non-profit startup that includes an innovative strategy, product or service designed to address one of these four topics:  

  • Middle Grades Matter: Helping middle school students transition to high school and stay on track to graduate.
  • Skills, Skills, Skills: Providing students in rural, urban, and/or high-poverty communities with opportunities for internships or other work- and community-based learning experiences that help them develop skills for success in postsecondary education, 21st century careers, and civic life.
  • Education Pays: Making it easier for students and families to find and select high-quality, affordable postsecondary programs – whether colleges, universities, or career training programs – that provide good value.  
  • Finishing Faster: Increasing the likelihood that postsecondary students complete their degrees and decreasing the time it takes them to finish, such as by improving and speeding up remedial education.

All submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. EST on May 1, 2012. Submissions will be judged by a panel of prominent educators and entrepreneurs and awards will be made in four categories: 6th – 8th grade students; 9th – 12th grade students; Undergraduate students; and Out-of-school youth. Youth who win the challenge will be celebrated by senior White House and Department of Education officials, and may qualify for additional recognition opportunities.  To learn more, visit the website at http://nesc.challenge.gov.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Assisting Youth with Learning Disabilities with Transition to Work

NCWD/Youth's InfoBrief, Helping Youth with Learning Disabilities Chart the Course: A Guide for Youth Service Professionals, is now available online. This brief describes challenges faced by youth and young adults with learning disabilities as they reach adulthood and highlights strategies youth service professionals can implement to help youth to transition successfully into the workplace.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Strategic Learning Strategies for Youth with Learning Disabilities

NCWD/Youth's InfoBrief, Learning How to Learn: Successful Transition Models for Educators Working with Youth with Learning Disabilities, is now available online. This brief identifies and explains selected classroom-based strategies that incorporate strategic learning. General and special educators can implement the following strategies to engage students with disabilities (particularly those with learning disabilities) in order to prepare students to transition from secondary to postsecondary and workplace settings. The aim of this brief is to provide teachers with background knowledge and skills so that they can integrate evidence-based practices into the classroom to aid student learning.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Using Universal Design for Learning to Aid Students with Learning Disabilities

NCWD/Youth's InfoBrief, Using Universal Design for Learning: Successful Transition Models for Educators Working with Youth with Learning Disabilities, is now online. This brief identifies and explains selected classroom-based strategies within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model. The aim of this brief is to provide teachers with background knowledge and skills so that they can integrate evidence-based practices into the classroom to aid student learning.

White House Announces Blueprint for College Affordability

As part of the effort to address the rising costs of postsecondary education, the White House recently unveiled its blueprint for college affordability.The blueprint includes a variety of elements, including reforming student aid, Race to the Top for Higher Education, establishing a First in the World competition, better informing families, and increasing federal support for affordable education.

Access Board Releases Proposed Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

The U.S. Access Board has released for public comment accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment. Developed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the proposed standards address access for people with disabilities to examination tables and chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other equipment used for diagnostic purposes. The standards are not final and are available for public comment for 120 days.

The standards provide design criteria that will allow independent access to diagnostic equipment, including types that require transfer from wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Provisions address transfer surfaces, support rails, armrests, compatibility with lift devices, and other features to facilitate transfer. Equipment that does not require transfer from wheelchairs or that is used in a standing position is also addressed. The proposed rule includes a discussion of these requirements that highlights areas where additional information is sought. The Board seeks feedback on the substance of specific provisions, their impacts on equipment design and manufacture, and other topics.

The Board is developing these standards in consultation with other agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Although health care providers are not required to comply with the standards, DOJ or other federal agencies may adopt the standards as requirements for health care providers under the Americans with Disabilities Act or other laws. Any such action will occur separately from the Board’s rulemaking.

The Board plans to organize a panel of stakeholders to develop consensus recommendations on how the standards should be finalized based on the comments received. This advisory committee will include disability groups, equipment manufacturers, health care providers, standard-setting organizations, and other interested parties. The Board will issue a notice inviting applications for committee membership in coming weeks.

The deadline for comments on the standards is June 8. Comments can be submitted or viewed at the www.regulations.gov website. The Board will hold public hearings on the standards in Washington, D.C. on March 14 and Atlanta on May 8 that will provide additional venues for submitting comment.

For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Earlene Sesker at sesker@access-board.gov, 202-272-0022 (v), or 202-272-0091 (TTY). 
 

ODEP Releases New Soft Skills Curriculum in English & Spanish

“Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,” is a curriculum developed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) focused on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. The curriculum was created for youth development professionals to use with youth ages 14 to 21 in both in‐school and out‐of‐school environments as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills. It consists of modular, hands‐on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism. The curriculum is available in both English and Spanish on the ODEP website.

USDOL Extends Comment Period on Proposed Rule to Increase Hiring of Individuals with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor has extended the comment period to February 21st for its proposed rule to revise regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which obligates most federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal employment opportunity for qualified workers with disabilities. The comment period has been extended to provide additional time for interested parties to analyze the issues raised in the proposal and to provide their comments. Individuals and organizations who already have submitted comments may use the extension period to revise or add to their original comments. To learn more about the proposed rule and submit comments, visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503. Also see the press release about the comment period extension.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth launches new webpage on Individualized Learning Plans

NCWD/Youth’s new webpage on Individualized Learning Plans features various publications and resources for understanding and using Individualized Learning Plans. The web page includes information about the latest research, policies, and practices. An Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) is a tool that students in secondary school use – with support from school counselors and parents – to define their personal interests and goals related to their career and postsecondary education and to plan what courses to take and what activities to participate in during high school to further their interests and achieve their goals.  For more information and resources, visit the ILP webpage.

January 2012

Letter from U. S. Department of Education Addresses Disability Discrimination

The U. S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has released a Dear Colleague letter and FAQ concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (Amendments Act). The letter guidance reiterates the Department's commitment to ensure that educational opportunity is provided free from disability discrimination. The documents discuss the various obligations of school districts, such as the requirement to evaluate students for disability, and provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities, as well as the changes made by the Amendments Act.  Read or download the Dear Colleague letter and FAQ online.

Jan.17th Conference Call on Federal Internship and Employment Opportunities for Young People with Disabilities

The White House Office of Public Engagement is holding a nationwide conference call on federal internships and employment opportunities for young Americans with disabilities on Tuesday, January 17th  at 3 p.m. EST. Program representatives will explain how to apply for these unique opportunities, when application materials are due, and useful tips on putting together a competitive application package. The speakers will include the White House Internship Program, the Presidential Personnel Office, the Department of Labor’s Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities. Register online to receive an email with dial-in information for this call.

USDOL Webinar on Proposed Revisions to Section 503 Regulations to be held January 11

The U.S. Department of Labor will hold a webinar on the Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM)on January 11, 2012 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm EST. The Section 503 NPRM pertains to proposals to strengthen the affirmative action requirements of federal contractors to improve employment for individuals with disabilities.This webinar will include a review of highlights of the proposed rule and discussion about how individuals can weigh in on the process. Click here to register for the webinar. For more information about the Section 503 Notice of Proposed Rule Making, see the DOL press release.

USDOL Issues Notice on Strategies to Address Transportation Challenges

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration has issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 21-11 on “ Strategies to Meet One-Stop Career Centers' Business and Job-Seeker Customer Needs for Employment-Related Transportation Services.” The notice aims to provide successful strategies to the public workforce system for connecting individuals with transportation to jobs and training and to help businesses access a diverse workforce.  TEN 21-11 is available online.

Access Board Invites Comment on Proposed Changes to Accessibility Standards

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) has issued a second Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding the Section 508 Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards. The Access Board is in the process of updating its standards for electronic and information technology, which apply to federal agencies, and its guidelines for telecommunications accessibility, which apply to telecommunications manufacturers. Public comments are requested by March 7, 2012.  View the announcement online including information on how to submit comments.

Explore previous What's New items

Patricia D. Gill has been working for over 15 years to improve the competence and capacity of workforce development professionals as both a skilled trainer and as a national leader of various professional development initiatives. Her work as a trainer started with the Chicago Youth Agency Partnership. Patricia then joined the Academy for Educational Leadership, where she played an integral role in developing professional development curricula for youth workers and supervisors.

 

Patricia currently directs the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities initiative, a project of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development.

 

What sets Patricia apart is her talent for designing and delivering professional development opportunities that are truly engaging for adult learners and full of practical strategies and easy-to-use tools. She is adept at creating tools and activities that workforce development professionals can use with ease in their day-to-day work with youth.

 

While many people can offer information to professionals, Patricia brings the information to life in ways that enable the learner to understand, retain, and use what they learn to improve their work.

 

Patricia D. Gill has been working for over 15 years to improve the competence and capacity of workforce development professionals as both a skilled trainer and as a national leader of various professional development initiatives. Her work as a trainer started with the Chicago Youth Agency Partnership. Patricia then joined the Academy for Educational Leadership, where she played an integral role in developing professional development curricula for youth workers and supervisors.

 

Patricia currently directs the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities initiative, a project of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development.

 

What sets Patricia apart is her talent for designing and delivering professional development opportunities that are truly engaging for adult learners and full of practical strategies and easy-to-use tools. She is adept at creating tools and activities that workforce development professionals can use with ease in their day-to-day work with youth.

 

While many people can offer information to professionals, Patricia brings the information to life in ways that enable the learner to understand, retain, and use what they learn to improve their work.

 

Patricia D. Gill has been working for over 15 years to improve the competence and capacity of workforce development professionals as both a skilled trainer and as a national leader of various professional development initiatives. Her work as a trainer started with the Chicago Youth Agency Partnership. Patricia then joined the Academy for Educational Leadership, where she played an integral role in developing professional development curricula for youth workers and supervisors.

 

Patricia currently directs the Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities initiative, a project of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development.

 

What sets Patricia apart is her talent for designing and delivering professional development opportunities that are truly engaging for adult learners and full of practical strategies and easy-to-use tools. She is adept at creating tools and activities that workforce development professionals can use with ease in their day-to-day work with youth.

 

While many people can offer information to professionals, Patricia brings the information to life in ways that enable the learner to understand, retain, and use what they learn to improve their work.

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