What's New Archive

November 2016

U.S. DOL Issues Administrator's Interpretation on the Effect of State Laws Prohibiting Subminimum Wages to Workers with Disabilities 

On November 17, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division released an Administrator’s Interpretation of the effect of state laws prohibiting the payment of subminimum wages to workers with disabilities on the enforcement of section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It states that employers paying subminimum wages to workers with disabilities under a section 14(c) certificate must pay these employees in accordance with both Federal and state laws. The issuance of a certificate under the provisions of section 14(c) of the FLSA does not excuse noncompliance with any state law establishing higher minimum wage requirements.

CMS Requests Information to Ensure Quality Home and Community Based Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a request for information (RFI) that seeks information and data on additional reforms and policy options that the agency can consider to accelerate the provision of home and community-based services (HCBS) to Medicaid beneficiaries “taking into account issues affecting beneficiary choice and control, program integrity, ratesetting, quality infrastructure, and the homecare workforce.” The RFI specifically seeks input from the public on ways that CMS can use its statutory authority to accelerate this progress, as well as input into how best to ensure high quality HCBS that promote the health and well-being of beneficiaries, enhance policies that ensure the integrity of such services and protect beneficiaries from harm, and address workforce challenges particular to this set of services, such as wages, training, and retention. Comments must be received no later than 5pm on January 9, 2017.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Releases New Info Brief Series on Connecting Activities for Community Colleges

Community college leaders are increasingly concerned with finding ways to better support and engage students in an effort to improve college completion rates. In order to increase their persistence and completion, many students need assistance connecting to services, activities, programs, and supports relevant to their individual needs and goals. Postsecondary institutions can play a significant role in helping students access these services, supports, and opportunities. This series of Info Briefs is designed for community colleges to raise awareness about the significance of connecting students to services and supports such as health insurance, financial assistance, housing, and transportation, and assisting them in navigating these and other services and supports relevant to their individual needs and goals. In addition, these briefs provide practical examples of how some colleges are supporting students and relevant resources for implementing connecting activities at community colleges. 

AnchorHHS Releases Independent Living Programs Final Rule

The final rule for Independent Living (IL) programs went on display in the Federal Register. The rule was developed in close coordination with the independent living network and addresses the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Specifically, the final rule specifies requirements surrounding WIOA’s addition of new core services, clarifies several key definitions, and addresses the roles and responsibilities of the State Independent Living Council, as defined by WIOA. The rule will become effective November 25, 2016.

July 2016

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Guide on Competencies for Postsecondary Education and Career Success

Many students, including students with disabilities, enter postsecondary education lacking the personal skills, knowledge, and attributes they need to achieve their education and career goals. To increase student retention, completion, and career readiness, postsecondary institutions need to include youth development and leadership opportunities that help students build personal competencies. The new guide by NCWD/Youth, Personal Competencies for College and Career Success, provides suggestions about various strategies postsecondary professionals can use to assist all students, including those with disabilities, in developing personal competencies that will increase their chances of success.

AnchorNew NCWD content. NCWD/Youth and DCAYA Graduate New Class of Youth Workforce Leaders

On July 28, 2016, District of Columbia youth workforce professionals graduated from the second cadre of the D.C. Youth Workforce Leaders Academy (YWLA). Funded by the Greater Washington Workforc e Development Collaborative, YWLA is a year-long learning community that supports professionals at DC youth workforce development providers, including nonprofit and government agency staff, in building their own skills as well as bringing innovative and proven practices back to their organizations. The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development, which houses NCWD/Youth, collaboratively lead the Academy. YWLA’s content is based on a variety of foundational materials developed by NCWD/Youth including Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Initiative (YSP/KSA).

Andy Shallal, restauranteur, activist, and Chair of the District’s Workforce Investment Council served as the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony where YWLA participants presented on their completed capstone projects. Learn more about the graduates and their capstone projects.

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth and ODEP Issue YouthACT Online Dialogue Outcome Report

In May, NCWD/Youth's Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) hosted a national online dialogue in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). This dialog gathered ideas from youth and young adults with disabilities about what would help them become successful adults. Participants shared ideas, comments, and votes about strengthening supports and services in education, employment, healthcare, self-advocacy, community engagement, and everyday life. This event attracted many participants eager to share their perspectives. Its findings can help inform how policymakers and youth service professionals respond to the needs of young people with disabilities today. Recently, ODEP released the final report on the online dialog, which provides a summary of top ideas, comments, votes, and participant data. 

AnchorWIOA Final Regulations Released

The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education have released five rules for implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA). WIOA is a landmark law that is designed to strengthen and improve our nation's public workforce system. It supports opportunities for all Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, to secure high-quality jobs and careers and helps employers hire and retain skilled workers. The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education announced the advanced posting of the following

 

AnchorGW Launches Online Master's Program for Teachers Based on NCWD/Youth Resources

George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development is launching a new online master's program to train teachers working with students with disabilities. The new program in secondary transition launched with help from a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Starting in spring 2017, the new program will provide partial financial aid over the next five years for 45 master's candidates. The program will be open to current teachers and non-teachers. It draws from principles outlined in NCWD/Youth's Guideposts for Success and the Council for Exceptional Children's transition standards.

AnchorED Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD

On July 26, the U.S. Department of Education issued a guidance letter clarifying schools' obligation to ensure students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The guidance letter provides a broad overview of Section 504 and school districts' obligations to provide accommodations and educational services to students with disabilities, including for students with ADHD. The guidance

  • Explains that schools must evaluate a student when a student needs or is believed to need special education or related services
  • Discusses the obligation to provide services based on students' specific needs and not based on generalizations about disabilities, or ADHD, in particular
  • Clarifies that students who experience behavioral challenges or present as unfocused or distractible could have ADHD and may need an evaluation to determine their educational needs
  • Reminds schools that they must provide parents and guardians with due process and allow them to appeal decisions regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of students with disabilities, including students with ADHD

In addition to the guidance, the Department also released a Know Your Rights document that provides a brief overview of schools' obligations to students with ADHD.

AnchorHouse Committee Approves Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Career and Technical Education

On July 7, 2016, The House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously approved H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Introduced by Reps. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), the legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to improve access for Americans entering the workforce with the skills needed to compete for high-skilled, in-demand jobs. Since 1984, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education (CTE) programs. These programs offer students the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to compete for jobs in a broad range of fields, such as health care and technology.

AnchorJobs for the Future Releases New Publication on Youth Workforce Development for ED

Youth Workforce Development, a publication prepared by Jobs for the Future for the U.S. Department of Education, describes the consequences of youth unemployment, especially among youth of color. It also provides an overview of "what works" for youth workforce development, and highlights critical strategies, best practices, and resources to support local practitioners' efforts to develop and implement workforce development programs for young people in their communities.

AnchorNDEAM 2016 Theme and Posters Announced

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is coming up in October, and there's no better time than now to start planning NDEAM festivities centered around the 2016 theme: #InclusionWorks. This year's free NDEAM poster-available for mail order and download right now-captures the multi-faceted nature of the #InclusionWorks message, illustrating that inclusion works for businesses, for opportunity, and for innovation. Order copies of the free NDEAM poster.
 

May 2016

AnchorNew NCWD content. Register for June 9th Webinar on Inclusive Service and Volunteerism

On June 9, 2016, 2:00-3:00 EDT, U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service and NCWD/Youth will host the webinar, Connecting to Inclusive Service and Volunteerism: Why Youth with Disabilities Should Engage in AmeriCorps. Inclusive service learning and volunteer opportunities are valuable work-based learning experiences. These experiences can play a critical role in helping young people with disabilities transition to employment. Unfortunately, youth with disabilities may face challenges in accessing service learning opportunities and moving on to full-time employment. For youth service professionals and other adults who work with youth with disabilities, this webinar will provide an overview of the benefits of volunteering, detail national service programs for youth with disabilities to choose from, and feature the experiences of a service alum with a disability. To attend the webinar, register at https://iel.adobeconnect.com/inclusive-service/event/event_info.html

AnchorNew NCWD content. Calling All Youth with Disabilities and Allies: Share Your Ideas on Transition!

YouthACT Transition Truths National Online Dialogue

May 19 - May 22, 2016

Are you a young person with a disability or a youth ally of the disability community? There is an important conversation going on about what youth with disabilities (ages 13-25) need to become successful adults, and we need to hear from you! The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth invite you to participate in our YouthACT Transition Truths National Online Dialogue. We hope youth will join this online conversation and share your ideas on the strategies and supports that can help youth and young adults with disabilities and their peers become successful adults.

The YouthACT Transition Truths National Online Dialogue will take place from Thursday, May 19 until Sunday, May 22, 2016. Please join this important conversation and spread the word to others who may be interested. Register for the dialogue today! Youth will receive a reminder and further information before the dialogue. 
 

April 2016

AnchorED Announces New Process to Assist Federal Student Loan Borrowers with Disabilities

On April 12, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new process to proactively identify and assist federal student loan borrowers with disabilities who may be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge. This effort was called for by President Obama in his Student Aid Bill of Rights, which details measures to make paying for higher education an easier and fairer experience for millions of Americans. Beginning on April 18, 2016, borrowers who were positively identified in the match will receive a customized letter explaining that the borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness and the simple steps needed to receive a discharge. Borrowers are encouraged to visit https://disabilitydischarge.com for more information.  

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Hosts Webinar On Supporting Youth with Learning Disabilities 

On April 7, the Institute for Educational Leadership hosted a webinar for the DC Youth Workforce Leaders Academy on Supporting Youth with Learning Disabilities. Presented by IEL’s Patricia D. Gill, the webinar provided an overview of learning disabilities, including their impact in the workplace, programmatic approaches such as universal design for learning, and individual approaches such as strategic learning, self-advocacy, and compensatory techniques. This webinar highlighted tools and strategies from the guide, Charting the Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities. The DC Youth Workforce Leaders Academy is a learning community designed to support the growth and success of staff from Washington, DC based organizations that provide workforce development services to youth ages 16-24. YWLA is supported through funding from the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, an initiative of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development jointly lead the Academy.

March 2016

AnchorU.S. Department of Education Releases Resources on Improving School Climate

On March 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released new school climate surveys and a quick guide on making school climate improvements to help foster and sustain safe and supportive environments that are conducive to learning for all students. The ED School Climate Surveys and the Quick Guide on Making School Climate Improvements will enable states, local school districts, and individual schools to collectand act on school climate data in real-time. The school climate surveys, which are on a web-based platform, are designed for middle and high school students, instructional staff, non-instructional staff,and parents and guardians. In addition to the Quick Guide, a series of tools will be released later this this spring and summer as part of the School Climate Improvement Resource Package, a web-based suite of action-oriented, research and evidence-based resources to help create and support positive school climates.

February 2016

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Hosts Webinar with CAST on Improving Post-secondary Outcomes with Universal Design for Learning

On February 17, 2016, NCWD/Youth and CAST hosted a webinar for post-secondary institutions on how to use Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to improve retention and graduation rates. The webinar provided an orientation to UDL and explained how post-secondary education professionals use evidence-based UDL practices to facilitate engaged learning for all students. This webinar is part of a series for post-secondary education faculty and staff hosted by NCWD/Youth. The full recording and transcript are available online.

AnchorNew NCWD content. Join NCWD/Youth, Boston University for a congressional briefing: Using Individualized Plans to Guide Students Toward College & Careers: Learn from the Practitioners

When: February 23rd, 10:30 – Noon
Where: Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216

Nearly 40 states currently use some sort of individualized planning tool to assist middle and high school students to prepare for college and careers.

In 2013, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in collaboration with the American Youth Policy Forum held a Congressional Briefing to share the results of a policy guide for designing and implementing individualized learning plans (ILPs). As a college and career readiness strategy, most states are using ILPs to help youth understand the relevance of high academic performance and develop the social emotional learning skills that will enable them to enter and complete post-secondary programs and degrees. ILPs achieve this by helping youth develop self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management skills.

IEL and Boston University are hosting a Congressional Briefing to share how states, districts, and schools are using ILPs to assist students in their transition from school to college and careers. Many strategies to be discussed are highlighted in the recently released State Career Development Guide.

State and district leaders as well as school counselors from Colorado and Wisconsin will discuss their respective ILP strategies and activities as well as challenges they experience in implementing ILPs. School counselors will highlight the impact ILPs are having on their youth and families as well as the experiences and challenges of engaging in whole-school ILP implementation. State leaders will share the types of resources they have developed and innovations they are implementing to support district efforts.

IEL and Boston University are part of the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (www.ncwd-youth.info), a national technical assistance center supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.    

Please RSVP to Jason Farr at farrj@iel.org, by COB Feb 19th including if you require any reasonable accommodations to participate in this briefing

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Webinar: Improving Student Outcomes in Post-secondary Education through Universal Design for Learning

Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 2:00 to 3:30 pm EST

Post-secondary education institutions can improve retention and graduation rates by implementing an inclusive learning strategy, known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Every student learns differently, so post-secondary education faculty and staff need to appeal to a variety of ways students think, learn, and problem solve independently and effectively. UDL promotes a framework to make course instruction, materials, and content accessible and engaging for students of all learning styles. The UDL model promotes:

  • Multiple Means of Representation, which provide learners various ways to acquire information and knowledge;
  • Multiple Means of Expression, which provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know; and,
  • Multiple Means of Engaging, which taps into learners’ different kinds of interests and motivations.

These instructional strategies provide both physical and cognitive access to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all students.
This webinar provides an orientation to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for post-secondary education professionals as a strategy for increasing student success. Presenter Sam Johnston with CAST will explain how post-secondary education professionals can use UDL to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all students based on scientific insights into how humans learn.

REGISTER HERE: https://iel.adobeconnect.com/udl2016/event/event_info.html

This webinar is part of a series of webinars for post-secondary education faculty and staff being hosted by NCWD/Youth. Recordings of other webinars in this series are available online at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/webinars#Postsec. 

 

January 2016

AnchorIEL Applauds Landmark Oregon Civil Rights Settlement Agreement

On December 29, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon approved a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the state of Oregon, and private plaintiffs to resolve violations by the state of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). DOJ announced that this landmark settlement will impact approximately 8,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are seeking to work in integrated community-based settings, instead of in sheltered workshops. At least 4,900 of these individuals are youth ages 14 to 24 who are exiting school. This settlement addresses a class-action lawsuit filed by individuals with I/DD who are currently in or have been referred to work in sheltered workshops. The DOJ stated that Oregon violated the ADA by unnecessarily segregating youth and adults with I/DD.

Research shows that supported employment services, rather than sheltered workshops, allow people with disabilities to prepare for, attain, and be successful in integrated employment settings earning competitive wages. Under the settlement agreement, over the next seven years, adults with I/DD who are currently being served in Oregon sheltered workshops will have opportunities to access competitive, integrated employment and transition age youth will receive supported employment services to assist in their career preparation. Half of the youth who receive employment services will receive, at a minimum, an individual plan for employment through the state’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

IEL, which operates several national technical assistance centers focused on moving young people to work, provided expert witness support to DOJ related to the transition-age youth portion of the case. “IEL applauds DOJ for pursuing this case and the settlement agreement which will allow people with disabilities to make increased meaningful contributions to their communities,” commented Curtis Richards, Director of IEL’s Center for Workforce Development. “This settlement agreement is huge! It has important implications for schools and programs that are systematically funneling youth with disabilities directly into these sheltered workshop environments. This decision means that every young person with a disability must be exposed to substantive self-exploration and career exploration that leads to meaningful career development rather than simply being pushed into menial subminimum-wage work settings.”
  

December 2015

IEL Announces New Sites for Right Turn Juvenile Justice Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC, December 4, 2015 – The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) today announced the selection of four sites across the country to be included in the second cohort for its Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative (Right Turn) for juvenile justice-involved youth. Read the full press release.

November

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Career Development Guide for States

Statewide implementation of quality comprehensive career development programs and activities is a promising strategy that states can use to achieve the dual goals of college and career readiness for all high school students. Designing Statewide Career Development Strategies and Programs can assist states in their efforts to increase college and career readiness among all youth, including youth with disabilities, by providing functional and pragmatic guidance on implementing quality comprehensive systems of career development. The Guide consists of two parts. Part one serves as a primer to quality youth career development systems. Part two serves as an implementation guide, including resources, promising practices, and challenges encountered by states that have implemented career development programming in their schools.

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Celebrates National Career Development Month with Partners

Every November, the National Career Development Association Encourages career development professionals to celebrate with career related activities. In celebration, NCWD/Youth, in partnership with Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute for College and Career Readiness, published the first issue of Career Development E-News highlighting relevant resources.

 

U.S. DOL Announces $100 Million in Grant Funds for TechHire Partnership Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration will award at least $100 million in H-1B funds, at least $50 million of which will be dedicated to supporting young Americans, ages 17-29, with employment and training barriers including youth with disabilities. Grants will be awarded to approximately 30-40 grantees to pilot and scale innovative partnerships with the goal of equipping individuals with the skills they need through innovative approaches. These approaches rapidly train workers for and connect them to well-paying, middle- and high-skilled, and high-growth jobs in diverse H-1B industries, such as IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services, and broadband.   

 

U.S. DOL Releases New Title 1 WIOA Youth Program Transition Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) continues to provide guidance on the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) prior to the release of final rules. ETA is issuing a series of WIOA Training and Employment Guidance Letters (TEGLs). TEGL No. 08-15 provides guidance and planning information to states, local workforce areas, and other recipients of WIOA Title I youth formula funds on activities associated with implementing WIOA. Opportunities for coordination and collaboration between the workforce development system and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies to better address the needs of students and youth with disabilities are described.

 

U.S. DOL Announce First Round of P3 Pilot Sites

In Training and Employment Notice (TEN) NO. 16-15, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration announced that the United States Department of Education, acting on behalf of the other participating Federal agencies (Labor, and Health and Human Services, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and related agencies), elected nine sites to receive grants under the Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) for Disconnected Youth authority. The P3 sites will have additional flexibility in blending discretionary funds across Federal program to test innovative and outcome-focused strategies for improving results for disconnected youth in educational and employment settings. DOL, on behalf of the Federal agencies, will conduct a national cross-site evaluation of how pilots implement the P3 model, including their strategies, challenges, and outcomes. Findings will help strengthen how agencies and the field address disconnected youth needs in the future.

 

U.S. DOL Proposes Rule to Update Regulations for Registered Apprenticeships

On November 5, 2015, theU.S. Department of Labor published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update the federal regulations for Equal Employment Opportunity in Apprenticeship (Title 29 CFR part 30), which have not been updated since 1978. The proposed rule would add disability, age (40 or older), sexual orientation, and genetic information to protected groups for nondiscrimination purposes, and clarify that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the bases of pregnancy and gender identity. It would also clarify and streamline what sponsors must do to comply with their affirmative action obligations. As with the existing regulation, the proposed rule would generally apply to registered apprenticeship sponsors with five or more apprentices. However, the rule would not apply if the sponsor can show that it is already in compliance with an equal employment opportunity program providing for affirmative action for minorities and women, and with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ affirmative action program requirements for persons with disabilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. The public has until January 5, 2016 to comment on the proposed rule electronically.

 

Every Student Succeeds Act Passes out of Conference Committee in Congress

On Thursday, November 19, House and Senate leaders, participating in a joint conference committee, approved a bipartisan framework to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The bipartisan bill, which will be known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, reconciles elements from H.R. 5 and S. 1177, which the House and Senate respectively passed in July. This was the first time House and Senate leaders held a conference committee on ESEA since the passage of NCLB in 2001. The final bill may be brought to a vote in both chambers during the first week of December.

 

ED Launches New Resource to Support Families and Teachers of Students with Disabilities

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education launched IDEAs that Work. As school systems work to implement rigorous academic standards and prepare diverse learners for success beyond graduation, this website provides additional support for teachers and families of students with disabilities and struggling learners. The IDEAs that Work website connects teachers and families with resources to assist them in supporting the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students as they become college and career ready.

 

ED Releases New Resource on Supporting Undocumented Students in High School and College

In an effort to help undocumented students access an education that prepares them for college and careers, the U.S. Department of Education released a resource guide to help educators, school leaders, and community organizations better support these youth, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The guide is intended to help educators and school staff support the academic success of undocumented youth, and debunk misconceptions by clarifying the legal rights of undocumented students. It also shares helpful information about financial aid options open to undocumented students, and supports youth applying for DACA consideration or renewal.

 

White House Releases Report on Supporting Native Youth

The White House released Generation Indigenous: Increasing Support and Opportunity for Native Youth, an updated report on an initiative launched last year to improve opportunities for Native youth in America. The report shows progress on the three Generation Indigenous goals: 1) Policy: Shining a Spotlight on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth, 2) Budget: Effective, Targeted Federal Investments, and 3) Outreach: Increasing Opportunity for Native Youth.

October

AnchorIEL & DCAYA Launch Youth Workforce Leaders Academy Year Two

On October 22, 2015, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), in collaboration with the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaboration and the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates launched the second year of the DC Youth Workforce Leaders Academy (YWLA). Building on the 2014-2015 inaugural program year, YWLA offers a 10-month long professional development opportunity to support services professionals that provide workforce development services to youth ages 16-24. Through monthly live learning sessions, expert led webinars, web-based topical discussions, individual professional development activities, and facilitated peer-to-peer learning; the Academy aims to expand and grow participants’ expertise in providing high quality youth workforce development services to all youth including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth.

Professionals in this year’s cadre represent organizations and agencies such as Urban Alliance, the Latin American Youth Center, DC Child and Family Services Agency, and Smithsonian Museums. This month’s topic focuses on an orientation to the national and local landscape of youth workforce development. Future topics will include communicating with youth, program design and delivery, and engaging family members. Program topics are supplemented by NCWD/Youth's professional development materials

Program graduates have an opportunity to continue their professional development and deepen their knowledge by serving as peer mentors for the current class. 

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.Making My Way Through College Guide Available Online

NCWD/Youth has released a new guide, Making My Way through College, aimed at helping students with disabilities navigate post-secondary education. The guide provides information and resources on preparing for and succeeding in college and transitioning from college into the world of work that will be relevant to any student pursuing a degree or other type of credential (e.g., certification, license) at a two-year or four-year community college, college, or university. The content includes information on getting oriented to college life and one’s school, exploring career interests and making an individualized plan aligned to personal goals, and taking advantage of various opportunities and support to ensure college and career success. Families and professionals who work with students entering or in post-secondary education are encouraged to share the guide with students and youth. The guide is available online at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/PostsecondaryGuide

Anchor New NCWD content. IEL Awarded $7.5M to Support Vocational Rehabilitation on Youth Issues

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) has been awarded a new five year, $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to provide technical assistance to our nation’s Vocational Rehabilitation system to improve transition programs and services for youth. Known as the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Youth (VR TAC-Youth), this new technical assistance center is one of five awarded by RSA last week to assist the vocational rehabilitation system to implement the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The vocational rehabilitation system provides job training services, among other things, to youth and adults with disabilities so they can enter, stay in, and advance in employment. Some of the more important changes to the vocational rehabilitation program contained in WIOA include greater emphasis on serving transition age students and youth, including that states spend at least 15% of their funding on this population.

Over the last two decades, IEL’s Center for Workforce Development has conducted research, provided training and technical assistance, and produced high quality publications around the needs of all youth, including those with disabilities and other disconnected youth. It’s seminal framework is the Guideposts for Success, which outlines what youth need to make a successful transition from school to further education and work, from home to community and independent living. The VR TAC Youth rounds out IEL’s work in the transition field by joining NCWD/Youth and two programs built on IEL’s work, the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Right Turn Career Focused Transition Initiative (Right Turn) funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“We are thrilled to receive this new grant,” said IEL’s President Marty Blank. ”On one level, this award validates our work over the last two decades in the youth transitions field. On another, it allows us to continue to grow our cross-boundary work as we help the vocational rehabilitation system work with other systems like juvenile justice, child welfare and other social service agencies at the state and local level to improve transition youth outcomes.”

 

September

AnchorNew NCWD content.Join IEL in Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

On November 29, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed into law the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, what later became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). With the passage of this landmark legislation, the United States opened public school doors to millions of children and youth with disabilities. The Institute for Educational Leadership believes that access to quality inclusive education is a right for all young people. Additionally, IEL has a long and proud history of supporting youth as they transition into adulthood. For youth with disabilities, a core competency in the youth development process is gaining an understanding of disability history, culture, and disability public policy issues as well as their rights and responsibilities.

In recognition of the opportunities provided by IDEA, IEL is collecting stories from students, out-of-school youth, teachers, school administrators, and others who have been personally impacted by IDEA. These stories will be published on the IEL website and shared through social media. IEL encourages creativity in format, media, and content. Stories can be in written, graphic, or video form. Videos should be no longer than three (3) minutes and written submissions should be no longer than 500 words. All pictures should include captions. Submissions are due by November 6, 2015. With every submission, please be sure to include your full name, current city and state, a clear photo, and a signed copy of this publicity release. Submissions and questions can be sent to finkd@iel.org.

 

Looking Ahead: National Youth Justice Awareness Month

October is National Youth Justice Awareness Month (YJAM), an opportunity for communities, families, youth, and allies to host actions and events that expose the consequences of children being prosecuted and incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system. The Campaign for Youth Justice, which promotes the campaign, has many materials available on its website to assist individuals in planning and hosting an event. If your organization supports youth involved in the juvenile justice system, take a look at some of NCWD/Youth’s helpful resources including the Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System and Making the Right Turn: A Guide About Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System.

 

New NCWD content.Anchor Free Webinar: Using Individualized Planning & Career Development Strategies to Guide Students to Success

Thursday, September 24; 2:00-3:30 pm EDT

The journey to college and career success starts with understanding yourself, exploring various career options, setting meaningful career goals, and choosing the right education and training path to achieve them. Ideally, students start this process early in secondary school; however, far too many enter college lacking a clear sense of direction. It’s also common for college students to discover that their initial goal or chosen path isn’t the right fit. In the quest to increase student retention and completion rates, some post-secondary education institutions are employing individualized planning and career development strategies to help students make informed decisions.

This webinar aims to inform the design of student success strategies by exploring research on career development and individualized planning as well as some emerging practices at post-secondary institutions. Presenters include Dr. V. Scott Solberg, Associate Dean for Research at Boston University’s School of Education, and Mindy Larson, Senior Program Associate at the Institute for Educational Development’s Center for Workforce Development.

Register Here: https://iel.adobeconnect.com/ind-plng-career-dev/event/event_info.html

This webinar is part of a series of webinars for post-secondary education faculty and staff being hosted by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth). NCWD/Youth is a national technical assistance center supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership. Visit NCWD/Youth online at www.ncwd-youth.info or contact us at contact@ncwd-youth.info.

 

AnchorYouth Transitions Collaborative Releases Work Early, Work Often Video Campaign

The Youth Transitions Collaborative’s career preparation and management working group recently released Work Early, Work Often, a new video campaign. This three-part series highlights the importance of work and work-based experiences in an individual’s transition to adulthood, particularly for young adults with disabilities. Each storyline focuses on a different subject and narrative, and shares the perspective of key audiences in the transition journey. All videos include open captioning and audio descriptions.

New NCWD content.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 (YWLA). YWLA is a free 10-month long professional learning opportunity for staff from Washington, D.C.-based organizations that provide workforce development services to youth 16-24. This opportunity is generously supported through funding from the Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, an initiative of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Applications are due by close of business on September 30, 2015.

YWLA’s content is based on a variety of foundational materials and YSP/KSA Training Modules developed by NCWD/Youth. As a part of the application, professionals complete an adaptation of the NCWD/Youth self-assessment of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and set professional development goals related to these core competencies for youth service professionals. YWLA includes monthly in-person learning sessions, expert led webinars, web-based topical discussions, individual professional development activities and facilitated peer-to-peer learning. Mid-level professionals who play a decision-making role in nonprofit organizations, schools, public agencies, or related entities that provide youth workforce development services are encouraged to apply. This year’s Academy starts October 2015 and concludes in July 2016. Up to 15 professionals will be competitively selected to participate. To learn more and apply, download the application here.

 

AnchorCommunity Schools National Forum Accepting Workshop Proposals

The Coalition for Community Schools, at the Institute for Educational Leadership, and the Albuquerque/Bernalillo Community Schools Partnership, will convene diverse stakeholders for the  Community Schools National Forum in April 2016. This year's theme, Rising Together – Learning across Family, School, and Community, emphasizes that all children thrive only when stakeholders work together and focus on learning for all children. It recognizes the rapid growth of community schools, which develop deep, results-focused relationships with community partners. The Coalition for Community Schools is currently accepting workshop applications from educators, families, and community partners. Workshop applications should highlight the focus of learning in community schools, connect participants with a network of supportive peers, and strengthen emerging state networks. Workshop applications are due October 9, 2015.

 

August

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Host Organization 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). Participating sites will utilize the Right Turn Career-Focused model to provide education and training, occupational training in demand industries, industry-recognized credentials, and workforce development activities to 100 juvenile offenders, ages 14 to 24, per year. 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 $350,000 per year to implement the Right Turn model.

 

The Institute for Educational Leadership's Center for Workforce Development (IEL/CWD) was awarded a "Face Forward 3 Intermediary" Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (FOA-ETA-15-04; CFDA: 17.270) 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 Individualized Career Development Plan, implementation strategies of the five existing Right Turn sites, 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 Face Forward communities. IEL/CWD will work with four local sub-grantees in at least two states. IEL/CWD is currently seeking applications from interested sites.


Applications are due September 14, 2015 and can be downloaded at rightturn.iel.org.

 

July

AnchorNew NCWD content.IEL and NCWD/Youth Publish We Are the ADA Generation

We Are the ADA Generation Perspectives on Coming of Age under the Americans with Disabilities Act is the latest online publication from NCWD/Youth’s host organization, the Institute for Educational Leadership. Over the last 25 years, the ADA has positively impacted the lives of millions of Americans and created a new generation as part of its legacy, the ADA Generation. This generation comprises youth and young adults with disabilities who came of age under the protection and opportunity of the ADA. The oldest of the ADA Generation are now in their early and mid-20s. Many are going to college or graduate school. Many are working in a wide variety of professional fields. And many are continuing the important work of advocacy—ensuring the continued promise of the ADA, fighting ongoing discrimination, and guaranteeing opportunity for generations of Americans to come. 

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA and the contribution and impact of the ADA Generation, IEL has collected stories from youth and young adults with disabilities who grew up under the ADA. These stories are personal narratives, reflections, and demonstrations of the importance of the ADA in people’s lives. We received stories from youth, young adults, allies, and even entire organizations that are focused on promoting the rights and independence of people with disabilities. The 14 stories showcase the achievements of youth and young adults with visible and invisible disabilities and serve as a reminder of the tremendous impact and importance of the ADA.

Eight of stories come from individuals and organizations that are supported by NCWD/Youth and IEL. Specifically, two stories came from members of NCWD/Youth's Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT), who share about their advocacy work on independent living and learning disabilities through the support of YouthACT. Another story comes from an alumna of the Florida High School High Tech (HSHT) program, who writes about her paid internship which she acquired with the assistance of HSHT and turned out to shape her post-secondary education and career paths. Five of the stories are written by youth or entire Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) sites, who recognize the ADA for making programs like RAMP and assistive technology possible. RAMP is a program of IEL, based on many of NCWD/Youth's foundation materials including Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities.

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning Guide

On July 27th, NCWD/Youth released Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning, a guide for youth service professionals and others interested in facilitating youth engagement in volunteer activities. It describes how youth benefit from volunteering, different types of volunteer opportunities, and ways to assist youth to prepare for, access, and learn from their experiences. For all individuals to access and benefit from volunteering, the widespread practice of inclusion is key. An inclusive service environment actively fosters the engagement of all youth, including youth with disabilities, those involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, and other disconnected youth. The guide also provides relevant resources and tools that can enhance and foster successful outcomes.

New NCWD content.Join NCWD/Youth for Most Recent Free Webinar for Post-secondary Education Professionals

In NCWD/Youth's latest webinar Employer Engagement Strategies for Post-secondary Education Professionals, presenter Patricia D. Gill shares practices drawn from a research-based training curriculum and lessons from national transition programs to help individuals find, get connected to, and create meaningful relationships with employers. This webinar teaches practical strategies to help develop the employer relationships needed to increase learning and employment opportunities for students. It is applicable to individuals working in career services, student services, disability services, and instructors. The full webinar archive is available online.

Also, register now for the next webinar in this series, Work-based Learning Strategies for Post-Secondary Education Professionals which will be held on Thursday, August 13, 2:00-3:30 pm EDT. This webinar will highlight work-based learning strategies and tools that can be used to design and manage work-based learning opportunities for all post-secondary students, including those with disabilities. Topics to be covered include types and associated benefits of work-based learning, essential and successful practices, and guidelines for complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Various free resources for planning and implementing work-based learning will also be shared.

 

AnchorHealthcare Alliance Publishes New Transition Guide

The Healthcare Alliance comprised of a collaborative relationship with ODEP, the Youth Transitions Collaborative (the Collaborative), and Got Transition/Center for Health Care aims to strengthen linkages between health care transition planning and career transition planning for youth and young adults, including young veterans, with chronic health conditions and disabilities. Recently, the Alliance published Transition Quickguide: Take Charge of Planning and Managing Your Own Health and Career Goals. The resource provides information and resources for youth about health insurance coverage, self-care, health care transition, decision-making, and career planning and managment.  

New NCWD content.IEL Co-hosts Webinar with DOL and RSA on Collaborative Partnerships Serving Youth with Disabilities

On July 29, 2015 the Institute for Educational Leadership co-hosted a webinar with the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration and the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration entitled Enough is Known for Action: Collaborative Partnerships Serving Youth with Disabilities. To ensure all youth, including those with disabilities, have access to career planning services, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) encourages seamless coordination between state and local agencies, workforce providers, and other providers to help youth with disabilities realize their career goals despite the individual challenges they may experience. During this webinar, the presenters highlighted program designs, service delivery strategies, and lessons learned on leveraging collaborative partnerships to develop comprehensive programs and to coordinate supportive services during program participation and after job placement.

Anchor NCD Releases New Report on School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities

A new report released by the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency, examines the policies and practices that push the nation's children out of classrooms and into the juvenile justice system at an alarming rate. The report, Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline, recommends that existing special education delivery and enforcement systems be improved to better meet the needs of at-risk students, particularly those with disabilities and students of color.

 

AnchorWorkforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Provisions Go into Effect

On July 1, 2015, many provisions of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) took effect. The law aims to transform the publicly-funded workforce system to better serve the needs of American employees and employers, including those with disabilities. The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has issued operating guidance to support this implementation.

 

AnchorWhite House Releases Fact Sheet in Honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The White House has released a fact sheet showcasing the work that the Obama Administration and various agencies have done to improve the lives and expand the opportunities available for people with disabilities. This fact sheet also serves as an announcement listing new actions and initiatives across the federal government serving people with disabilities. One of the upcoming actions is that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend its regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires the federal government to engage in affirmative action for people with disabilities. Additionally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will release technical assistance to provide guidance on testing accommodations for individuals with disabilities who take standardized exams and other high-stakes tests. The document will describe the responsibilities of testing entities that offer exams or courses related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary, post-secondary, professional, or trade purposes. The document will address who is entitled to testing accommodations, what types of testing accommodations are generally provided, and what documentation may be required of the person requesting testing accommodations.

June

AnchorNew NCWD content.Call for Applications: Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT)!

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

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

If so, apply for the Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT)!  

The Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) is a national initiative to get more youth with disabilities and their allies involved as leaders who partner 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, at least one of which has to have a disability or chronic health condition), one adult partner, and a supporting organization to participate in this multi-year project. Each team will:

  • Attend the annual national training in Washington, D.C. on October 29-31, 2015. Teams will be expected to attend this training in 2015 and 2016;
  • Receive training in youth leadership, 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 YouthACT teams;
  • Partner with NCWD/Youth to create youth-driven materials and tools on youth leadership and transition topics; and,
  • Work in collaboration with the existing cohort of YouthACT teams.

There's no cost to participate and each YouthACT team will receive a small stipend of $3,000 to use for team expenses. Youth and adult partners will also receive an honorarium of $500 for the year. YouthACT 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 July 31, 2015. Learn more about this opportunity and download the application online at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/youth-act.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to Present at 2015 Family and Community Engagement Conference

On June 22-24, 2015 NCWD/Youth staff and partners will be presenting at the Family and Community Engagement Conference. The theme of the conference is Shaping our Future by Leading Together: Families, Schools, and Communities.

NCWD/Youth presentations include:

New NCWD content.AnchorNCWD/Youth to Present at Disability and Employment Symposium

On June 24, 2015, NCWD/Youth partners will be presenting at the Disability & Employment Symposium: Research Informing Practice and Policy hosted by the Interagency Committee on Disability Research and the Administration on Community Living at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Staff from the Institute for Educational Leadership, NCWD/Youth's host organization, and the Boston University School of Education, a partner in NCWD/Youth, will be on a panel entitled Employment Outcomes for Youth and Young Adults with DisabilitiesRegistration for the symposium is open online until June 16, 2015. 

 

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Helps Support Youth with Disabilities to Attend NCIL Conference

NCWD/Youth is committed to helping young people with disabilities attend the 2015 National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Conference through support to the NCIL Youth Scholarship. The scholarship application is currently available for those who identify as a Deaf person and/or a person with a disability or disabilities who are 26 years old or younger. NCIL encourages low-income youth, youth of color, LGBTQIA youth, English Language Learners, returning citizens, and other multiply marginalized youth to apply. 

May

National Council on Disability Publishes Paper on Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

On May 19, 2015, the National Council on Disability (NCD) published a briefing paper entitled Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA): The Implications for Increasing the Employment of People with Disabilities. The paper includes background on the legislation and focuses on specific disability issues in the context of the act. NCD also provides several recommendations to Congress regarding reauthorization of HEA.

Building a Grad Nation Report Released

The Building a Grad Nation Report: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, released annually, by the Alliance for Excellent EducationAmerica's Promise AllianceCivic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, shows detailed progress toward the GradNation goal of a national average on-time high school graduation rate of 90 percent by 2020. The report shows state and district level data as well as specific focuses on low-income students, students of color, and students with disabilities. The full report and executive summary are both available online.

Kessler Foundation to Release New Employment and Disability Survey

Results of the National Employment and Disability Survey, conducted by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and published by the Kessler Foundation, will be released on June 3, 2015. This survey was administered to 3,000 people with disabilities who answered questions about their experiences in the workplace−the challenges they faced, as well as their successes. There will be a live event with live webcast and Twitter chat during the launch. RSVP for the event to JMorelli@KesslerFoundation.org and follow along for updates on Twitter using #KFSurvey15.

NPRMs on Proposed Rules to Implement WIOA Available for Public Comment

The five Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) have been released for public comment on the Federal Register website. The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education encourage public comments on all proposed regulations. The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has constructed a blog page that provides information for understanding what to comment on and links to the federal register. It also provides links to the rules in their entirety. The public comment period will close on June 15, 2015.

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.Register Now for NCWD/Youth and CAST Webinar on Accessible Instructional Materials in Posts-econdary Education

On May 19, 2015, 1:30-3:00pm EST, NCWD/Youth and CAST are hosting a webinar entitled 
Accessible Instructional Practices: Reaching All Learners on using Universal Design for Learning to create accessible instructional materials for students in post-secondary education. This webinar will provide an orientation to accessible instructional practices for post-secondary education professionals as a strategy for increasing student retention, persistence and success. Presenter Skip Stahl from CAST will briefly review the legal requirements that support equal opportunity for all students, review specific strategies for creating and acquiring accessible learning content, and offer approaches for addressing the variability inherent in all learners. This webinar is the second in a series of webinars for post-secondary education faculty and staff being hosted by NCWD/Youth. 

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Webinar Archive Available Online

On April 28, NCWD/Youth hosted a webinar that provided an orientation to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for post-secondary education professionals as strategies for increasing student success. Presenter Sam Johnston with CAST explained how postecondary education professionals can use UDL to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all students based on scientific insights into how people learn. The webinar, Improving Post-secondary Outcomes through UDLis archived and available online. 

U.S. DOL Launches Peer Learning Community on WIOA

To aid state and local workforce leaders in implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has created a virtual peer learning community called the Innovation and Opportunity Network (ION). ION will launch with a webinar on June 3 from 2-3:30pm ET, which will feature a panel of workforce leaders discussing the steps they are taking to advance WIOA's vision in their states and localities. By creating a forum to discuss challenges and successes in WIOA implementation, ION is designed to support ongoing training and technical assistance activities that individuals can access as needed.

April

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities to Meet May 11-12, 2015

The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) will hold its third meeting on May 11-12, 2015 via webinar. The meeting will be open to the public and will take place each day from 1:00-5:00 PM EDT. During the meeting, the Committee will hear expert testimony, and the Committee's four subcommittees will report on their efforts to date and discuss next steps in their work. There will be a public comment period on May 11, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT. Instructions on submitting comments can be found in the Federal Register Notice. Members of the public wishing to participate in the webinar must register by May 4, 2015.

 

AnchorLEAD Center Publishes Two Policy Briefs on WIOA Notices of Proposed Rulemaking

The LEAD Center has published two new Policy Briefs outlining and summarizing the April 16 Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Title I and Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The brief, Summary Description from a Disability Perspective — Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Workforce Development Activities) Notices of Proposed Rulemaking, outlines those provisions in Title I of WIOA pertaining to workforce development activities of particular applicability to individuals with disabilities and individuals with a barrier to employment. The brief, Summary Description of Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (State Vocational Rehabilitation Program) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, discusses the implementation of new guidelines as proposed for State Vocational Rehabilitation Services programs and State Supported Employment Services programs under Title IV of WIOA, including guidance on limiting the use of subminimum wages for individuals with disabilities.

 

U.S. Department of Education to Hold Public Meetings on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services within the Department of Education has announced plans to hold two public meetings to seek comments about the proposed regulatory changes contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that was published in the Federal Register on April 16, 2015, which would implement statutory changes to the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the State Supported Employment Services programs, as well as provisions governing Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wages that fall under the Secretary of Education's purview. The statutory changes made by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), form the basis for this NPRM. The meetings will take place on April 30, 2015 in Washington, DC, and May 20, 2015 in Sacramento, CA. The meetings will provide the public with the opportunity to present public comments on only the separate NPRM amending 34 CFR parts 361, 363, and 397, which is the NPRM associated with Docket ID ED-2015-OSERS-0001. Speakers may also submit written comments at the public meetings. In addition, the Department will accept written comments through www.regulations.gov, as explained in the separate NPRM.

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.Join the Institute for Educational Leadership in Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)!

The Institute for Educational Leadership has a long and proud history of supporting youth as they transition into adulthood. For youth with disabilities, a core competency in the youth development process is gaining an understanding of disability history, culture, and disability public policy issues as well as their rights and responsibilities. In recognition of the work you do to support the ADA Generation (people with disabilities who have come of age since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act), we invite you to celebrate a significant milestone in disability history, the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act!

How to celebrate:

  1. Help a young person you work with to share his/her story! IEL is collecting stories from youth of the ADA Generation and their allies about what the ADA means to them. These stories will be published on the IEL website and shared through social media. Stories can be in written, graphic, or video form. Submissions are due by July 1, 2015.
  2. Join us and invite youth you work with to participate in our free webinars (save the date)
  3. Connect your program to the ADA Legacy Tour, a traveling exhibit designed to raise awareness around the 25th anniversary! Check out the list of tour dates and locations to see when it's coming to your town!

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to present at 2015 Capacity Building Institute

NCWD/Youth has several upcoming presentations at the 2015 Capacity Building Instituteco-sponsored by the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities, the National Post-School Outcomes Center, the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, and the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition. NCWD/Youth has presentations on the following topics:

 

AnchorNew NCWD content.Save the Date: NCWD/Youth and CAST to Present on Accessible Instructional Materials in Post-secondary Education

On May 19, 2015, 1:30-3:00pm EST, NCWD/Youth and CAST will hold a webinar on using Universal Design for Learning to create accessible instructional materials for students in post-secondary education. The webinar will be valuable to post-secondary staff and faculty. This webinar is the second in a series of webinars for post-secondary education faculty and staff being hosted by NCWD/Youth. The first, Improving Post-secondary Outcomes through UDL is archived and available online.

 

Anchor$15M Available in Disability Employment Initiative Grants to Better Serve the Needs of Youth and Adults with Disabilities Seeking Employment

On April 13, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of approximately $15 million in grants through the Disability Employment Initiative to state workforce agencies to develop flexible and innovative strategies to increase the participation of people with disabilities in federally funded education and training programs. The department anticipates awarding eight grants — ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 million — to be spent in a 42-month period. Funding will be provided to at least one project for each of the following three target populations: adults with disabilities (ages 18 and older); youth with disabilities (ages 14-24); and individuals with significant disabilities (ages 14 and older). Workforce agencies interested in applying for this funding should visit http://www.grants.gov. The deadline to apply is June 11, 2015.

 

AnchorCNCS Seeks Grantees with Priority Consideration to Those with Disability Inclusion Plans

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has available funding for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The funding will mobilize more Americans to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a day of service in communities, to encourage those who serve on this holiday to make a long-term commitment to community service, and to bring people together to focus on service to others. This Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Notice prioritizes grant-making in programs addressing one or more of the six CNCS Focus Areas: Disaster Services, Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Futures, and Veterans and Military Families.  CNCS will give priority consideration to organizations that have disability inclusion plans to ensure people with disabilities are among those serving at their Martin Luther King Day of Service event. Applications for funding are due on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. 

 

Workforce3One Hosts WIOA Quick Start Action Planners and Youth Programs Podcast

New resources available through Workforce3One can help public workforce agencies prepare their operations for success under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The WIOA Quick Start Action Planners are a series of interactive, self-paced assessment tools designed to help leaders at all levels of the public workforce system prepare for the implementation of WIOA by guiding them through some of their successes and opportunities for improvement under the new law. These modules focus on topics like Youth Services Strategies, State Leadership and Governance, and more. In addition, Workforce3One has also released a podcast on Youth Operating Guidance delivered through WIOA Training and Employment Guidance Letter 23-14. This podcast provides information on the operating guidance for the WIOA Youth program to assist states and local areas in transitioning their formula-funded youth program from WIA to WIOA.

 

ACF Releases Three Issue Briefs on Programs for Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care

Youth transitioning out of foster care and into adulthood need many supports to navigate the challenges they face. In 1999, the Foster Care Independence Act amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act to create the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (the Chafee Program). This amendment doubled the maximum amount of funds potentially available to states for independent living services and gave states greater discretion over how they use those funds. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) contracted with the Urban Institute and its partner Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago to plan for the next generation of evaluation activities funded by the Chafee Program. This planning resulted in the publication of three new Issue Briefs, focused on Education Programs,Financial Literacy and Asset Building Programs, and Employment Programs.

 

ICI Publishes Interactive Report on Graduation Policies for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

The Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota, a partner in NCWD/Youth, recently published Graduation Policies for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities Who Participate in States' AA-AAS. Graduation rates and requirements for earning a regular diploma are topics of increasing interest as states focus on ensuring that their students are college- and career-ready when they leave school with a diploma. Little was known about states' graduation policies for their students with significant cognitive disabilities who participate in the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS), so ICI's National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) conducted an analysis of state policies. The publication presents the results of that study.

 

AnchorSenate Holds Hearing on Oversight and Accountability of Juvenile Justice Programs

On April 22, 2015, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led a hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the oversight and accountability of juvenile justice programs authorized by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The Act, first passed forty years ago and last reauthorized in 2002, provides guidance and funding to states around building effective juvenile and criminal justice systems that protect kids and promote public safety. At the hearing, Senators Grassley and Whitehouse both reaffirmed their commitment to reintroducing and passing a strengthened Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The Senators co-sponsored S. 2999 to reauthorize JJDPA in December, 2014. The bill strengthened the core protections and accountability since the last reauthorization more than 13 years ago.

 

AnchorNew NCWD content. Register Today for NCWD/Youth's Webinar on Improving Post-secondary Outcomes through Universal Design for Learning

On Tuesday, April 28th, 1:30 to 3:00 pm EST, NCWD/Youth will host a webinar that provides an orientation to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for post-secondary education professionals as a strategy for increasing student success.  Presenter Sam Johnston with CAST will explain how post-secondary education professionals can use UDL to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all students based on scientific insights into how humans learn. These instructional strategies provide both physical and cognitive access to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all students. This webinar is the first in a series of webinars for post-secondary education faculty and staff being hosted by NCWD/Youth. Register today!

March

AnchorUSDOL Issues Guidance on WIOA Youth Transition

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration just released official guidance for states, local areas, and youth service professionals for implementing the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth activities. Last summer, Congress passed WIOA by a vast bipartisan majority in both houses, and President Obama signed the bill into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA replaces the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 and forms the backbone of our country’s workforce system. Throughout 2015, the Department will issue a series of operational guidance letters on WIOA implementation and the transition to the new statutory requirements. The Department plans to issue final WIOA rules in 2016. Just like with WIA, the Department will distribute WIOA funds, including those for youth activities, to state workforce organizations based on need as calculated by formulas in the legislation. States will then distribute these funds to local workforce areas. In most cases, local areas contract with community-based youth-serving organizations to deliver youth workforce services. The Department will begin funding WIOA operational programming on July 1, but plans to issue transitional planning funds to states by April 1 or soon thereafter.

One of the most significant changes WIOA brings is a shift in focus from in-school youth to out-of-school youth. The new legislation requires a minimum of 75% of WIOA youth funds to be spent on out-of-school youth, a large increase from WIA’s 30% out-of-school minimum. For states, the 75% minimum is calculated after subtracting funds not spent on direct services to youth. For local areas, the minimum is based on funds remaining after administrative costs. This shift will mean a national refocusing of resources on the estimated six million 16- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. who are unemployed and not in school. This change will have significant impact on disconnected youth including youth with disabilities. 

AnchorNCWD/Youth Presents at Association of Iowa Workforce Partners Conference

On March 26, 2015, NCWD/Youth presented at the Association of Iowa Workforce Partners Conference on the topic Everybody Learns, Everybody Works: Workforce Development Strategies for Youth with Learning Disabilities. This interactive presentation provided a detailed look at several NCWD/Youth resources, including Charting the Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities, which is intended to help practitioners, administrators, and policymakers to improve services and outcomes for youth, ages 14 to 25, with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities. NCWD/Youth also shared several InfoBriefs:Learning How to Learn: Successful Transition Models for Educators Working with Youth with Learning DisabilitiesHelping Youth with Learning Disabilities Chart the Course: A Guide for Youth Service Professionals, and Using Universal Design for Learning: Successful Transition Models for Educators Working with Youth with Learning Disabilities.

AnchorHelp DOL Shape Regulations via Online Input 

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP) is hosting a crowdsourcing event as part of a greater effort to ensure that existing regulations stay up-to-date and protect the ever changing workplace and workforce. OASP launched Shaping Smarter Regulations to gather input and ideas from the public about which rules should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or even repealed. Ideas can be submitted now until April 1, 2015. 

AnchorVideo-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming Now Accessible for Thousands of Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilities

On March 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education announced the availability of free, video-on-demand children’s television programming for thousands of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. Dozens of children’s and family TV episodes may now be viewed online featuring closed captioning and audio descriptions through the Department of Education's Accessible Television Portal project. Some of the shows included are Ocean MysteriesMagic School BusBill Nye the Science GuyDaniel Tiger’s NeighborhoodExpedition Wild, and Peg + Cat. The portal is part of the Department-funded Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP). It includes video-on-demand content provided at no cost by the major television networks, as well as producers and distributors like PBS Kids, Sesame Workshop, Cartoon Network, Sprout (NBC), the Fred Rogers Company, Scholastic Media, Litton Entertainment, Out of the Blue, and Fremantle Television. Once approved, accessible content can be used with, and by, students in the classroom and at home via the Web, mobile phones and tablets, mobile apps, and set-top boxes. The portal itself is fully accessible to those with sensory impairments. Children with disabilities can locate any featured program without difficulty.

AnchorFLEC and FinCEN Release Guidance on Youth Savings Programs 

On February 24, 2015, members of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC), together with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued guidance regarding youth savings programs. The guidance is intended to encourage financial institutions to develop and implement programs to expand the financial capability of youth and build opportunities for financial inclusion for more families. It also addresses frequently asked questions that may arise as financial institutions collaborate with schools, local and state governments, nonprofits, or corporate entities to facilitate youth savings and financial education programs. Many federally insured financial institutions collaborate with schools or other partners to establish youth savings programs that help students open and manage savings accounts. These programs are intended to help young people learn savings habits early and are generally linked to a financial education program. Some research also suggests that experiential learning approaches such as these can positively influence youth long term. This effort, which is consistent with the FLEC's National Strategy for Financial Literacy, was not intended to create new industry expectations but rather to clarify how existing guidelines apply in a way that would remove perceived regulatory barriers.

AnchorU.S. DOL Releases Employer Engagement Strategy

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment (ODEP) recently contracted with Diversity Marketing and Communications to develop an Employer Engagement Strategy (EES) that provides an employer-focused marketing framework for addressing the dearth of employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the private sector. This report provides an overview of ODEP's EES framework, created in collaboration with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, detailing strategies and potential tactics employers can implement to improve corporate culture and facilitate the growth and expansion of their disability and inclusion activities, including the recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of people with disabilities.

AnchorFederal Partners in Transition Releases 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan

The Federal Partners in Transition (FPT) recently released the 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal Interagency Strategy. This report outlines how FPT will enhance interagency coordination through the identification of compatible outcome goals and policy priorities, ultimately leading to improved outcomes for youth with disabilities by 2020. The Federal Partners in Transition is a workgroup with representatives of several federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Social Security Administration, which are involved in promoting inclusive service delivery for transitioning youth with disabilities from school into post-secondary education, the workforce, and independent living.

The vision for this work is that youth with disabilities and all youth will have an equal opportunity to

  • access health care services and integrated work-based experiences in high school to better understand how to manage their physical, mental, and emotional well-being, to enhance their job-readiness skills and career planning, and to make a successful transition from school to work and greater independence;
  • develop self-determination and engage in self-directed individualized planningto prepare them for post-secondary education, health care management, vocational training, and/or employment;
  • be connected to programs, services, activities, information, and supportsfor which they are eligible that prepare them to self-manage their health and wellness, pursue meaningful careers, become financially literate and capable, and make informed choices about their lives;
  • develop leadership and advocacy skillsneeded to exercise informed decision-making and personal and community leadership; and
  • have involvement from families and other caring adults with high expectations to support them in achieving their goals.

February

OJJDP and Mentor Launch National Mentoring Resource Center

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention partnered with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to launch the National Mentoring Resource Center, which provides mentoring tools and information, program and training materials, and technical assistance, particularly relating to delinquency prevention, victimization, and juvenile justice system involvement, to help local programs and practitioners improve the quality and effectiveness of their mentoring efforts.

America's Promise Alliance Publishes Re-engagement Paper

Stemming from the Don't Call Them Dropouts report, based on careful listening to young people who did not graduate in four years, America's Promise Alliance's Center for Promise released Back to School: Exploring Promising Practices for Re-Engaging Young People in Secondary Education. The paper explores ways to strengthen and expand re-engagement options for young people who need more time or different pathways to finish school. The paper is designed as a resource for educators, practitioners, community stakeholders, communications professionals and policymakers interested in supporting out-of-school youth who wish to obtain a high school credential.

AnchorNew SWEAP Tools Help State Policymakers Align Workforce and Education Programs

The National Skills Coalition's State Workforce and Education Alignment Project (SWEAP) is demonstrating how state policymakers can use information from three types of data tools to develop policies that align workforce and education programs with each other and with employer skill needs. These three tools, dashboardspathway evaluators, and supply and demand reports, are discussed in a set of SWEAP papers. The papers discuss the steps states can take to create these data tools and provide real-world examples of states that have used these tools to inform workforce policy decisions.

NAD Sues Harvard and MIT for Discrimination in Public Online Content

On February 12, 2015, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and four deaf and hard of hearing individuals filed two federal class actions against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for not captioning online public information and educational materials, including online courses. The cases, filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, assert that these universities violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by denying deaf and hard of hearing people access to thousands of videos and audio tracks that each university makes publicly available, for free, on broad-ranging topics of general interest.

Call for Submissions: VSA's Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am...The Future

Students with disabilities are invited to share images of their artwork addressing the future. Students should reflect on what their hopes and dreams are for their individual futures when developing their submissions. Submitted artwork will be exhibited online. Selected works will be exhibited at the United States Department of Education in Washington, DC. Youth with disabilities, ages 3 to 22, are encouraged to submit artwork. All submissions are due by May 11, 2015.

AnchorUSDOL Rolls Out Vision for Transforming Workforce System

In a recent guidance letter, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) laid out its vision for revitalizing and transforming the nation's workforce system as part of the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Congress passed this bill with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, and President Obama signed the bill into law in July of last year. USDOL's vision lays out "three critical hallmarks of excellence" for WIOA implementation, which include the need for both business and workers to drive workforce solutions, for American Job Centers to provide excellent customer services to jobseekers and employers alike, and for the workforce system to support strong regional economies where businesses thrive and people want to live and work.

AnchorWhite House Provides Resource Guide for Hiring People with Disabilities

The White House recently released a resource guide available for employers to assist with Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, & Promoting People w/ Disabilities. This guide is a product of the Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative, which includes participation by agencies across the federal government. The guide is divided into four sections. The first section highlights best practices for recruiting people with disabilities, as well as a description of the ADA regulations during the interview process. The second section focuses on respecting, promoting, and retaining employees with disabilities. The third section offers guidance to providing reasonable accommodations. The final section is an overview of key information employers should know regarding the legal frameworks of the ADA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

White House Publishes Fact Sheet on Opportunities for People with Disabilities in 2016 Budget

On February 2, 2015, the White House released a fact sheet entitled, Middle Class Economics: Expanding Opportunities for People with Disabilities. The fact sheet discusses the ways in which the 2016 budget can ensure that Americans with disabilities have opportunities for economic prosperity. The fact sheet focuses on encouraging innovation, strengthening job training, increasing support for the education of children with disabilities, and providing improved housing, healthcare, and independent living services.

AnchorCLASP Reviews President's 2016 Budget with Regard to Disconnected Youth

CLASP released The President's Budget: Select Investments in Education and Employment Pathways for Vulnerable Youth, which reflects on President Obama's FY 2016 budget. The publication explores areas of the budget that focus on improving education and workforce outcomes for disconnected youth and young adults, especially those from low-income households. The resource emphasizes new developments in several areas, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Apprenticeship Training Fund, investments in National Service, and the Performance Partnership Pilots.

AnchorSAMHSA Accepting Applications for Cooperative Agreements to Support Transition Aged Youth

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2015 Cooperative Agreements for State Adolescent and Transitional Aged Youth Treatment Enhancement and Dissemination Implementation. The purpose of this program is to provide funding to states/territories/tribes to improve treatment for adolescents and/or transitional aged youth with substance use disorders and/or co-occurring substance use and mental disorders by assuring youth state-wide access to evidence-based assessments, treatment models, and recovery services supported by the strengthening of the existing infrastructure system.

January 2015

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

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

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to Present at 2015 National Mentoring Summit

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

President Obama Announces Free Community College Plan

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

CMS Seeking Comments on Draft Summary of Benefits and Coverage

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

Senate Committee Holds First Full Hearing on ESEA Reauthorization

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

TIME Act Introduced in Congress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anchor National Online Dialogue on Families, Disability and Postsecondary Success Starts January 26

Are you a family member of a young adult with a disability who's currently or recently enrolled in a postsecondary education program (e.g., certificate, apprenticeship, community college, college or university)?  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) wants your input, and requests your participation in an upcoming online dialogue, Connecting Families: Supporting Postsecondary Success of Young Adults with Disabilities. Through this "virtual town hall," you'll be able to share your ideas and insights on ways that postsecondary institutions and other providers can better assist you in supporting your student’s educational and employment success.

The Connecting Families online dialogue started on January 26 and ends on February 6, 2015.  The following topical discussions will take place in the late afternoon and evening (6-10 EST, 5-9 CST, 4-8 MST, 3-7 PST):

Wednesday, January 28th -  Building Self-Determination

Moderators Maria Town, Office of Disability Employment Policy and Josie Badger, National RAISE Technical Assistance Center

Thursday, January 29th - Preparing for Employment

Moderator Curtis Richards, National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth

Monday, February 2nd -  Access, Equity & Academic Accommodations

Moderators Nathan Cunningham, Office of Disability Employment Policy and Peg Kinsell, National Center for Parent Information@SPAN

Tuesday, February 3rd - Using Technology

Moderator Day al-Mohamed, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Wednesday February 4th -  Post-secondary Academics

Moderators Sean Roy, PACER Center, Amy Pleet Odle, Inclusion Coach and Josie Badger, National RAISE Technical Assistance Center

Thursday, February 5th - Physical and Emotional Well Being

Moderators Rhonda Basha, Office of Disability Employment Policy and Deborah Leuchovius, PACER Center

Please join this important conversation and spread the word to other potential participants. The website is: http://ConnectingFamiliesPost2ndSuccess.ePolicyWorks.org

December 2014

AnchorU.S. DOE and DOJ Release New Guidance on Educational Needs of Youth in Correctional Facilities

On December 8, 2014, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released new guidance and technical assistance materials to inform the efforts of states, school districts, and juvenile justice facilities serving youth, including youth with disabilities. The package includes recommendations and federal requirements for ensuring that youth in confinement receive an education comparable to those provided in traditional public school settings. 

The package includes the following components:

AnchorU.S. Congress Passes ABLE Act to Permit Qualified Individuals with Disabilities to Save

On December 16, 2014, the U.S. Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. President Obama signed the bill into law on December 22, 2014. Currently, individuals with disabilities who depend on federal health or income benefits, such as Medicaid or SSI, are not allowed to save more than $2,000 in assets. The ABLE Act would allow individuals who acquire a significant disability before age 26 to save money for many disability-related expenses such as education, transportation, or employment without jeopardizing important health or income supports. Individuals who meet this criteria and already receive benefits under SSI and/or SSDI will be automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. Individuals who are not currently receiving SSI or SSDI, but meet the age of disability onset requirement, could still be eligible to open an ABLE account.

AnchorBipartisan JJDPA Reauthorization Introduced in Senate

On December 11, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2014 (S.2999) to reauthorize and improve the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA). The law, which was most recently reauthorized in 2002, is the only federal statute that sets out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system and provides direction and support for state juvenile justice system improvements. The JJDPA also supports programs and practices that have significantly contributed to the reduction of delinquency. The JJDPA also established the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), which supports our host organization's Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP). RAMP is based on NCWD/Youth foundational materials including the Guideposts for Success
Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities
High School/High Tech Program Guide: A Comprehensive Transition Program Promoting Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math for Youth with Disabilities, and Making the Right Turn: A Guide About Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System.

AnchorForum for Youth Investment to Host Webinar on P3 Program

On January 9, 2015, the Forum for Youth Investment will host an introductory webinar designed to help individuals learn more about the Performance Partnership Pilot program (P3). P3 offers an opportunity for state, county, city, and tribal governments to propose new ways to use their existing discretionary federal funding to better serve disconnected youth. Instead of having to comply with current federal requirements about the use of each related funding stream, entities have the opportunity to propose their own locally developed, evidence-informed plans for blending and/or braiding these streams. The federal government will then allow the awarded sites increased flexibility from many of the federal rules and regulations necessary for the site to implement their plan.

Call for Applications: 2015 Paul G. Hearne AAPD Leadership Awards

AAPD will once again recognize outstanding individuals personifying leadership, advocacy, and dedication to and for the disability community at large. Two individuals emerging as leaders in the cross-disability civil rights movement will each receive a cash award in order to help them continue their progress as leaders and further connect their work with the national grassroots of AAPD. The recipients of the 2015 Hearne Leadership Awards will also have an opportunity to meet and network with national disability leaders at the AAPD Leadership Gala in Washington, DC in March 2015. U.S. residents with any type of disability are eligible to apply. Self-nominations are preferred. Submissions are due January 2, 2015.

Call for Applications: USICD Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs Internship Program

The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) is seeking applicants for the Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program. The program will bring together rising juniors and seniors, recent graduates, and graduate students to Washington, DC for a one-week orientation training followed by an eight-week internship at an international organization. USICD will cover the cost of fully-accessible housing during the program, reimburse travel expenses to and from DC, and provide a limited stipend. The deadline to apply is January 28, 2015.

AnchorInstitute for Educational Leadership to Hold 2015 National Family and Community Engagement Conference

The Institute for Educational Leadership will be holding the 2015 National Family and Community Engagement Conference at The Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois on June 22- 24. This year's conference theme is Shaping Our Future by Leading Together: Families, Schools, and Communities. Super Early Registration ends December 31, 2014 and Early Registration ends March 15, 2015.Sessions will highlight high quality family and community engagement on the following topics: Early Learning & Literacy, Student Achievement and Schooling, Community Partnerships, Teacher Leadership & Professional Development, Systemic Practice and Policy, Inclusive Education, Parent Leadership & Advocacy, and High School, College & Career Transition.

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth and IEL Host Community Learning Exchange: Lead On! Igniting Youth Voice, Promoting Youth Choice

 

In December, NCWD/Youth and our host organization, the Institute for Educational Leadership, hosted a Community Learning Exchange (CLE), bringing together community leaders, youth-serving organizations, and youth with and without disabilities. The CLE, which took place at Gallaudet University, engaged teams in reflection around the role of youth voice in their organizations and communities, while empowering young people to drive their own decision-making processes. Organizers documented the CLE experience in a video.

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Individualized Learning Plans Report

NCWD/Youth’s report, Use of Individualized Learning Plans: A Promising Practice for Driving College and Career Readiness Efforts – Findings and Recommendations from a Multi-Method, Multi-Study Effort, summarizes the findings and recommendations of ILP research and technical assistance activities that were completed between 2007 and 2013. 

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Gives Keynote Address on Individualized Learning Plans

On December 3, Dr. V. Scott Solberg, Boston University, gave a keynote address, “Individualized Career and Academic Plans: Inspiring All Youth to Reach Higher in Pursuit of Their Career and Life Goals” at the Individualized Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) Summit in Colorado. The Summit was hosted by the Colorado Department of Education in partnership with the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Colorado Community College System, the High School Graduation Initiative, and Colorado Council on High School and College Relations. Dr. Solberg is the Principal Investigator for NCWD/Youth’s initiative on individualized learning plans (ILPs). NCWD/Youth offers technical assistance to states seeking to develop or strengthen policies and practices involving individualized learning plans. Learn more about ILPs at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ilp

October

AnchorU.S. Department of Education Issues Anti-Bullying Guidance

As part of National Bullying Prevention Month, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance to schools, reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated.

The Department issued guidance in the form of a letter to educators detailing public schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding the bullying of students with disabilities. If a student with a disability is being bullied, federal law requires schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue and, as necessary, take steps to stop the bullying and prevent it from recurring.

This guidance builds upon anti-bullying guidance the Department of Education has issued in recent years concerning schools’ legal obligations to fix the problem, including

  • 2013 Dear Colleague Letter and enclosure by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) clarifying that when bullying of a student with a disability results in the student not receiving meaningful educational benefit under IDEA, the school must remedy the problem, regardless of whether the bullying was based on the student’s disability;
  • 2010 Dear Colleague Letter by OCR which elaborated on potential violations when bullying and harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability; and
  • 2000 Dear Colleague Letter by the OCR and OSERS, which explained that bullying based on disability may violate civil rights laws enforced by OCR as well as interfere with a student’s receipt of special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The latest letter makes clear that the protections for students with disabilities who are bullied on any basis extend to the roughly three quarters of a million students who are not eligible for IDEA services but are entitled to services under the broader Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. That law bars discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

NCWD/Youth and its host organization, the Institute for Educational Leadership, are national partners for National Bullying Prevention Month, which is organized by PACER Center, a member of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

New NCWD content.AnchorCelebrate NDEAM with NCWD/Youth!

NCWD/Youth is celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) all October! NDEAM is a campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the contributions of America's employees with disabilities. This year's theme, Expect. Employ. Empower., reminds all of us of the positive contributions that young people with disabilities can make to the workforce when we hold high expectations for them and those that work with them.

In celebration of NDEAM, on October 14, NCWD/Youth staff attended the White House Disability Employment Champions of Change event which honored 10 individuals who are working to improve inclusive workplace outcomes for people with disabilities. The event focused on recruitment and hiring practices as well as what employees can do to retain and promote employees with disabilities. Additionally, at the event, Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez of the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) unveiled a new public service announcement (PSA) entitled Who I AmThe PSA shows people with disabilities sharing the many characteristics that make them who they are, including their jobs. Secretary Martinez also wrote a related blog entitled Building Inclusion.

Organizations around the country can take the time during NDEAM to reflect on their own disability employment practices or to organize an event promoting disability hiring such as Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). DMD, the country's largest job-shadowing initiative for students and job-seekers with disabilities, takes place in numerous locations on the third Wednesday of October in accordance with NDEAM.

Please join us by celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month in your community! NCWD/Youth's employment resources can assist jobseekers with disabilities as well as employers looking to improve the diversity of their workplaces. As President Obama declared in his Presidential Proclamation, "During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we celebrate the Americans living with disabilities, including significant disabilities, who enrich our country, and we reaffirm the simple truth that each of us has something to give to the American story."

ODEP Announces Launch of PEATworks website

On October 15, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announced the launch of PEATworks.org, a comprehensive web portal spearheaded by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). PEAT is an initiative promoting the employment, retention, and career advancement of people with disabilities through the development, adoption, and promotion of accessible technology. PEATworks.org provides resources and tools for employers, technology providers, and technology users with disabilities. 

U.S. Department of Labor to Delay Enforcement of Companionship Regulations

On October 7, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a delay in the new ruling regarding wage and hour protections for in-home workers who were previously excluded from such protections granted to many other workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Several disability advocacy groups urged DOL to delay enforcement of the new regulation for six months in order to allow service providers and people with disabilities time to ensure the continuity of services utlized. The new ruling will take effect January 1, 2015, but will not be not be enforced until July 1, 2015.

SHRM and FWI in Collaboration with ODEP Release 2014 National Study of Employers: Including the Talents of Employees with Disabilities 

A new report published by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides recommendations for employers seeking to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The report is the result of an FWI-ODEP collaboration that included new National Study of Employers key questions asked of small and large employers related to using workplace flexibility for their employees with and without disabilities, establishing formal staffing plans that include workplace flexibility, and offering employee resource groups for employees with similar backgrounds or interests.

U.S. Department of Labor Awards $2,007,322 in Grants to Improve Post-Secondary Education and Employment of Youth with Disabilities

On September 29, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $2,007,322 in funding to Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York and Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee as part of the Pathways to Careers: Community Colleges for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Demonstration Project.  The award recipients will conduct pilot projects to research, develop, test, and evaluate innovative strategies for providing inclusive education and career development services to youth with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 24. Vice President Joe Biden announced the award as part of the larger Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program (TAACCCT) grant initiative, co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education, which promotes job-driven training efforts at nearly 270 community colleges across the country.

U.S. Department of Labor Awards $14.8M in Grants to Expand Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

On September 25, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the award of $14.8 million to six states—California, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and South Dakota—to support employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This announcement marks Round V of the Disability Employment Initiative, which aims to improve employment outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities by increasing their utilization of existing career pathways through expanding the function of local American Job Centers. 

September

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth releases Families and College and Career Readiness: What Schools Can Do to Engage Families in the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) Process

This Information Brief is designed to assist educators in working with parents and family members to facilitate students' career development through the use of individualized college and career planning tools. This brief discusses families' perceptions of whether and how they were engaged in schools' implementation of Individualized Learning Plans, and describes suggestions from families of youth with and without disabilities about actions schools can take to improve family engagement in the ILP process. Read more...

August

AnchorU.S. Department of Labor Announces Webinars for Collecting Input on WIOA Implementation

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the U.S. Department of Labor invites state and local workforce leaders and practitioners, workforce system partners, customers, and other stakeholders to provide input on the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. ETA will gather input through a series of webinars via a “chat feature” in order to most efficiently gather thoughts and ideas from webinar participants. More information about the Act and specific discussion questions can be found at http://www.doleta.gov/WIOA.

Two upcoming input sessions regarding individuals with disabilities include:

  • Tuesday, August 26 - Consultation with Consumers, Advocacy Groups, and Direct Service Providers on Services for Individuals with Disabilities – Register Now
  • Tuesday, September 2 - Services to Individuals with Disabilities – Register Now

Other DOL-sponsored input sessions include:

  • Monday, August 25 - Integrated Performance Reporting and the ETPL – Register Now
  • Thursday, August 28 - The Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Program – Register Now
  • Friday, September 5 - Services to Disconnected Youth – Register Now
  • Thursday, September 11- Strategic Program Alignment and Unified Planning – Register Now
  • Friday, September 12- WIOA and Registered Apprenticeship – Register Now
  • Monday, September 15 -The Indian and Native American Program – Register Now

AnchorInvitation to Comment on Implementation of Title II and Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) seek comments and recommendations to help implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Obama on July 22. The new law seeks to maximize opportunities for youth and adults, with and without disabilities, to succeed in post-secondary education and in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs in the 21st century economy. Specifically, comments are being requested to assist in the process of implementing the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that were made by Title IV of WIOA and of the new version of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), in Title II of WIOA. Visit the blog containing the request for more details and to submit your comments.

July

AnchorLEAD 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

AnchorVermont 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 Work career-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.

AnchorICI 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.

AnchorYouth 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.    

AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorDOL 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

AnchorDC 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.  

AnchorCall 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. 

AnchorDOL 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

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorDepartment 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.

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorHouse 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

AnchorNCWD/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. 

AnchorNew 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. 

 

AnchorODEP 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

AnchorSAMHSA 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 YearThis 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 Post-secondary Attainment

On April 23, 2014 the Lumina Foundation released its Stronger Nation through Higher Educationreport, which shows that post-secondary 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 post-secondary 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 post-secondary 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.

 

AnchorU.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. 

 

AnchorU.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.

 

AnchorAUCD 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.

AnchorSouthern 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 post-secondary 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.AnchorNCWD/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.AnchorNCWD/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.AnchorIllinois 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.  

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorJoin 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).

AnchorInstitute 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.

AnchorNew 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 CampaignAdvancement ProjectAmerican Federation of Teachers and National Education Association with the help of a working group of educators and school personnel.

AnchorAttendance 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 AllianceAttendance Worksthe Campaign for Grade-Level ReadingPoints 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.

AnchorNew 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. 

AnchorNew 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/

AnchorRAMP 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.

AnchorRAMP 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.

AnchorExecutive 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.  

AnchorEmployment 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

AnchorThe 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.

AnchorCall 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.

Anchor 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

AnchorJob 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. 

AnchorMENTOR 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.

AnchorCenters 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.  

AnchorDOL 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

AnchorMicrosoft 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 

AnchorOPM 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.

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorSubmit 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.AnchorNCWD/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.AnchorInstitute 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. 

AnchorCall 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. 

AnchorObama 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

AnchorAchieve 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.   

AnchorNew 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.AnchorIEL, 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 #PTchatLearn more about PTchat and check out NCWD/Youth's Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring.

AnchorU.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.

AnchorIEL 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. 

AnchorNew NCWD content.NCWD/Youth to Present at Webinar on Pathways to Post-secondary Education for Youth in Juvenile Justice

On November 6, NCWD/Youth’s Patricia D. Gill will present on a webinar entitled "Building Pathways to Post-secondary 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. 

AnchorNew 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)

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorLEAD 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

AnchorDC 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. AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorPACER 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.

AnchorIEL'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.

AnchorIEL'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

AnchorSenator 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. AnchorSecretary 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 activitiesSchools 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.

AnchorNew 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. AnchorNCWD/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. AnchorDeadline 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. AnchorCall 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

AnchorSave 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.

AnchorInstitute 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.

AnchorNew 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

AnchorNew 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!

AnchorPresident 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.

AnchorClaudia 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.

AnchorNew Materials Available to Help Students Understand Health Care Reform 

Young InvinciblesEnroll 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.

AnchorYouth 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.

Anchor 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

AnchorNew 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. 

AnchorWebinar 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:

·         July 17, 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET. Click here to RSVP

·         July 17, 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET. Click here to RSVP 

New NCWD content.AnchorIndividualized 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.

AnchorHHS 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.

AnchorLEAD 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.

AnchorPACER 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.

AnchorU.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.

AnchorNBC'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. 

AnchorUSDOL 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. 

Anchor 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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.

AnchorYouth 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.  

AnchorSurvey 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

AnchorJoin 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

AnchorCollege 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.

AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorAYPF, 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

AnchorFederal 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. 

Anchor 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.

AnchorNew 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.AnchorUpcoming 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

AnchorUSDOL 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.AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorFEMA 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.AnchorNCWD/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 VolunteeringServing 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.AnchorNCWD/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/.

AnchorFEMA’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

AnchorNational 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.

AnchorSoutheast 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.

AnchorU.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 

AnchorDepartment 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.

AnchorSSA 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

AnchorOffice 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.  

AnchorNational 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.AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorCAST 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.

AnchorU.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.

AnchorNational 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

AnchorTransitions 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 disordersyoung 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

AnchorU.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.

AnchorDept 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.

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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.

AnchorYouth 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.

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorSecretary 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

AnchorAAPD 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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

AnchorNew 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 Portalhttp://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.  

AnchorDisability.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

AnchorUS 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.

 

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorFoster 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.

AnchorUS 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.

AnchorNational 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.

AnchorSpecial 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.

AnchorAdvertising 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

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorOVAE 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.

AnchorStudy 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.

AnchorSSA 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.AnchorNCWD/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.AnchorNCWD/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.AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorNew 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. 

AnchorAnnie 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.

AnchorEARN 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. 

AnchorCornell 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.

AnchorJob 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.

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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. 

AnchorReport 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.

AnchorReport 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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

AnchorUSDOL 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.Anchor 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.

AnchorNational 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. 

AnchorGeorgetown 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.

AnchorGAO 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.”

AnchorUpdated 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.

AnchorNational 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!

AnchorGAO 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.

AnchorFamily 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.

AnchorCampaign 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

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorSenate 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.

AnchorNGA 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.

AnchorMobility 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. 

AnchorHHS, 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

AnchorInterdepartmental 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.

AnchorNew 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.

·         Access the webinar recording here.

·         Access the PowerPoint Presentation here.

·         Download, order, or learn more about the curriculum here.

AnchorCampaign 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.

AnchorIEL 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.

AnchorPortland 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. 

AnchorUSDOL 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

AnchorFCC 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.

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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.

AnchorWhite 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.

AnchorCMS 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.

AnchorNational 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

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorNCD 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/.

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorRegistration 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.

AnchorNew 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

AnchorTip 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

AnchorWhite 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

AnchorDepartment 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.AnchorNCWD/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.

AnchorWhite 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.

AnchorFEMA, 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.

AnchorAAPD 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.

AnchorNIB 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.

AnchorHHS 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.

AnchorTech 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

AnchorNCWD/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!

AnchorUSDOL 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:  

AnchorNational 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.

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorNew 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.

AnchorWhite 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.

AnchorAccess 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). 

AnchorODEP 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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.AnchorNCWD/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

AnchorLetter 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.

AnchorJan.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.

AnchorUSDOL 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.

AnchorUSDOL 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.

AnchorAccess 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.

 

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 andFAQ 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.

December 2011

USDOL Releases New Career Pathway Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s Career Pathways Initiative, released the Career Pathways Toolkit: Six Key Elements for Success to help guide state and local leaders in building and sustaining career pathway systems. This toolkit offers a clear and user-friendly road map for administrators, service providers, workforce professionals, and policymakers seeking to develop career pathway systems at local, regional, or state levels. The toolkit details the Six Key Ele­ments Framework, highlights promising practices, and provides tools designed to support visioning and strategic planning.

Report Forecasts High School & College Employment Opportunities in a Variety of Career Clusters

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce released a report in collaboration with the National Research Center for Career and the Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium. The report, Career Clusters: Forecasting Demand for High School Through College Jobs, 2008-2018identifies 16 career clusters that represent the full array of related occupational opportunities and education requirements. The report explores opportunities for individuals entering the workforce directly from high school and examines labor market sectors that can afford these individuals the best route to a middle class income. Using forecasts, the report identifies the most promising clusters for job seekers with a high school diploma or less, middle skills such as a certificate or Associate's degree, and those with Bachelor's degrees or higher.

USDOL Proposes New Rule to Provide Minimum Wage, Overtime Protection to In-Home and Companion Care Providers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would provide minimum wage and overtime protections for nearly two million workers who provide in-home care services for the elderly, infirm, and persons with disabilities. The proposal will revise the companionship and live-in worker regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act to more clearly define the tasks that may be performed by an exempt companion, and to limit the companionship exemption to companions employed only by the family or household using the services. In addition, the Department proposes that third party employers, such as in-home care staffing agencies, could not claim the companionship exemption or the overtime exemption for live-in domestic workers, even if the employee is jointly employed by the third party and the family or household. Interested parties may submit written comments online at www.regulations.gov.

Social Security Invites Input on Ticket to Work EN Report Card during Upcoming Listening Sessions

Social Security’s Office of Employment Support Programs (OESP) is hosting two listening sessions, a webinar on Friday, December 16 and a teleconference on Monday, December 19, to gain input about a proposed revision of the Ticket to Work EN Report Card. An EN is a private or public entity participating in the Ticket to Workprogram that provides employment, vocational rehabilitation, or other support services to persons who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of a disability. The EN Report Card helps beneficiaries make informed choices regarding their selection of an EN under the Ticket to Work program. To participate in these free listening sessions, use the call-in instructions below:

  • Dec. 16th Webinar, 1 – 2:30 pm EST: Call 1-800- 480-6924 and enter participant code: EN Report Card
  • Dec. 19 Teleconference, 3 – 4:30 pm EST: Call 1-877-407-0183 and enter participant code: 930584

Visit http://socialsecurity.gov/work/ on or after December 14 to access the agenda and presentation slides for either session. To learn more about the Ticket to Workprogram, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work, e-mail support@chooseworkttw.net, or call 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY/TDD).

USDOL Proposes New Rule to Increase Hiring of Individuals with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be individuals with disabilities, among other requirements. This new requirement would strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 obligating federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal employment opportunities for qualified workers with disabilities. The Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has invited public comment on this proposal. Comments must be submitted no later than February 7, 2012. More details on the proposal and how to submit comments can be found in the DOL news release athttp://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20111614.htm and the Federal Register at http://goo.gl/yZXQh. The proposed rule can also be found on the Federal Register at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for Document ID: OFCCP-2010-0001-0130.

November 2011

USDOL Releases Integrated Employment Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy released its new Integrated Employment Toolkit. The Toolkit offers a collection of resources, reports, papers, policies, fact sheets, case studies, and discussion guides from a variety of sources to accommodate the full range of users and increase capacity and understanding about the value and potential of integrated employment. It is organized by different audiences or perspectives. Within each audience, there are key, commonly asked questions to guide the user to the appropriate materials. The Toolkit is free and available online.

November is National Career Development Month

November is National Career Development Month (NCDM). The National Career Development Association (NCDA) promotes career development through its annual celebration of National Career Development Month. Every November, career development professionals are encouraged to celebrate with career-related activities. The theme for this year is “My Career Dreams.” Visit NCDA’s NCDM website to learn more.
 

Federal Agencies to Hold Webinar on Youth Work Experiences on Public Land

On December 6, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Agriculture, and the Interior will convene a webinar entitled “Youth Work Experiences on Public Land.” These departments encourages workforce and public lands management agencies to explore areas of collaboration that will expand meaningful work and learning opportunities for low-income youth and young adults on federally managed public lands. The webinar will be hosted by representatives from the three Departments and will outline what available resources and activities that can be provided to support this effort. The webinar will also highlight four state or local workforce, land management agency, and corps partnerships that were developed in order to put youth to work on public lands. Registration is free and open to the public. The webinar will be recorded and available to the public for those who were unable to participate and participants who want to revisit the webinar content.
 

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Publishes Two Papers on Individualized Learning Plans

NCWD/Youth is conducting a research and demonstration project in four states and 14 schools to learn how Individualized Learning Plans (ILP) are guiding high school students toward college and careers. As a part of this work, two NCWD/Youth papers were recently published in scholarly journals.  One, entitled "Education Alignment & Accountability in an Era of Convergence: Policy Insights from States with Individual Learning Plans & Policies," appears in Education Policy Analysis Archives and can be found online at: http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/921.  The second manuscript, entitled "The Nature & Use of Individualized Learning Plans as a Career Intervention Strategy," has been published in the Journal for Career Developmentavailable online, and will appear in the Journal's forthcoming print issue to be published early 2012.

October 2011

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth & Partners to Present on Career Development Research & Policy in November 5th Webcast

On November 5th, Joan Wills, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD), and Scott Solberg, of Boston University, will co-present the live webcast plenary session, “Challenges of Translating Vocational Psychology and Career Counseling Research into Career Policy,” at the Society for Vocational Psychology (SVP) conference. Solberg, Wills, and other partners have been conducting research on career development as a part of the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) Research & Demonstration Project, which is supported through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth).  Register in advance to watch free live webcast at http://www.bu.edu/sed/svp-conference-webcast-registration/. To learn more about the SVP conference on “Forging Career Policy for the Greater Good” being held on November 5-6, 2011 at Boston University, visit http://www.bu.edu/sed/2011-svp-biennial-conference/. To learn more about Individualized Learning Plans (ILP), see NCWD/Youth’s resources online

Peer Written Handbook Helps Autistic Students Navigate College

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has published, “Navigating College: A Handbook on Self Advocacy,” a guide for Autistic students written by Autistic adults, and also launched the companion website, http://www.navigatingcollege.org/. The Navigating College handbook is a first-of-its-kind resource for and by autistic individuals that explores the various aspects of the higher education experience. From traditional topics like classroom accommodations and dorm life to hot-button issues such as disclosure and sexuality, the handbook provides first-person insights from current and past college students on the autism spectrum. Visit the website anddownload the handbook.

ICI Examines Employment Among Youth with Intellectual Disabilities

The Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston has released the Data Note, "Setting Higher Employment Expectations for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities." Using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2), ICI finds that a significant number of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities who did not have integrated employment as a primary goal in their transition plans went on to be employed, while many who did have integrated employment as a transition plan goal did not progress to work. ICI concludes that setting higher expectations in high school and providing adequate support services are critical steps to improving employment and social inclusion goals for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Read the ICI Data Note online.

HHS Reports Increase in Young Adult Health Insurance Coverage

The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released an issue brief on recent findings from the National Center for Health Statistics which indicate the rate of young adults, ages 19 to 25, with health insurance has increased in the past year.  Dependent coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act, which allow children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26, took effect in September 2010. Data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) show that in the first quarter of 2011, the percentage of adults between the ages of 19 and 25 with health insurance increased to 69.6%, from 66.1% in 2010. Read the issue brief online.

USDOL, Facebook & Workforce Organizations Launch Social Jobs Partnership

On October 20, 2011, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Hilda L. Solis announced a new partnership between DOL and Facebook, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, Direct Employers Association, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers that aims to provide employment resources to job seekers through the use of social networks. As a part of the partnership, Facebook has created a “Social Jobs Partnership” Facebook page that highlights available training programs, educational opportunities, and job search resources. Partner organizations will conduct in-depth survey research about how job seekers, college career centers, and workforce recruiters are using social networks effectively; explore how job postings can be shared on Facebook and through other social websites; and distribute educational materials to recruiters, government agencies, and job seekers about the utility of social networks. To learn more, view a video of Secretary Solis’ announcement (with captioning) and visit the Social Jobs Partnership Facebook page online.

USDOL Releases Podcast Series on Allied Health Occupations for Young Adults

To support youth providers and the youth they serve, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has released its new “Allied Health Occupations for Young Adults” podcast series. Together, youth and providers can learn about what it takes to become pharmacy technicians, emergency medical technicians, or certified nursing assistants. Each podcast highlights young adults who have been trained and are currently working in different allied health occupations. Hear young adults served by the workforce system talk about what they like most about their jobs and why they’re excited about their future in health care.

Universal Design for Learning Guidelines – Version 2.0 Now Available in Eight Languages

The National Center on Universal Design for Learning has released Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines – Version 2.0 in eight languages: English, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, and Romanian. UDL is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences that guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences. UDL calls for creating curricula from the outset that provides multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge, multiple means of expression to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know, and multiple means of engagement to tap into learners' interests, challenge them appropriately, and motivate them to learn.

National Council on Disability Releases Report on Impact of Technology on Employment for People with Disabilities

The National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency, released a report entitled “The Power of Digital Inclusion: Technology’s Impact on Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities.” The report examines the importance of social media and other information technologies in connecting people to job opportunities. Digital barriers to our nation’s networked economy can reinforce rather than break down disproportionately low employment among people with disabilities. The recommendations contained in this report are designed to open the doors to digital technologies that can lead to better jobs for more people with disabilities.

Job Accommodation Network’s E-Newsletter Available Online

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN)’s E-News online newsletter for the 4th quarter is now available. JAN’s e-newsletter includes information about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and Webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities. View JAN E-News online. To subscribe, e-mailsubscribe@AskJAN.org.

New Medicaid Reference Desk Website Provides Health Care Services Planning Information & Tools

The Medicaid Reference Desk is a new website designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to find out what Medicaid can offer them. The site has information on different Medicaid plans in each state and territory, including plans designed specifically to serve people with I/DD and other disabilities. It also has a Person-Centered Planning tool to help individuals think about what they want their lives to be like—at home, at work, in the community—and figure out what health care services they need to make this happen. This website was developed by The Arc with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The website address is http://www.thedesk.info/.

DOL Civil Rights Center Issues New Guidance on Nondiscrimination & Equal Opportunity

The U. S. Department of Labor Civil Rights Center (CRC) has issued several new guidance documents on nondiscrimination and equal opportunity (EO) issues. Issues covered in the new guidance documents include an overview of regulations prohibiting discrimination in employment based on genetic information under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) and reasonable accommodations guidance. To see all the guidance documents, visit the CRC’s Hot Topics webpage.

 OSEP Answers Questions on Secondary Transition in Updated Guidance

The U. S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has issued a new Questions & Answers Document on Secondary Transition, which includes updated guidance on identifying postsecondary goals in training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living. The Q & A document may be viewed or downloaded online.

EARN Hosts Weekly Webinars for National Disability Employment Awareness Month

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is hosting weekly webinars in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month on Thursdays throughout October from 2:00-2:30 p.m. EDT. Upcoming webinars include:

  • EEOC Charge Data: What We can Learn About the Employment of Persons with Disabilities on October 20, 2011
  • The Workforce Recruitment Program: Tapping the Talent of Students and Graduates with Disabilities on October 27, 2011

Register online to participate in these webinars. Archives of EARN’s webinars can also be found online.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases  Policy Brief on Improving High School Outcomes for All Youth

NCWD/Youth's Policy Brief, "Improving High School Outcomes for All Youth: Recommendations for Policy & Practice," is now available online. This brief calls attention to the need to implement policies and practices that will improve high school and post-school outcomes for all students, including those with diverse learning and support needs. Recommendations for federal, state, and local policy makers discussed in the brief include: use common graduation requirements and limit diploma options; further adoption of universal design for learning; improve educator professional development and support infrastructure; and ensure appropriate accommodations and accessibility of assessments. The recommendation are informed by over a decade of work by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) including the white paper, "Preparing All Youth for Academic and Career Readiness: Implications for High School Policy and Practice." Read the brief online or download a copy.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Bullying in the Workplace

NCWD/Youth's InfoBrief, "Bullying and Disability Harassment in the Workplace: What Youth Should Know," is now available online. This InfoBrief aims to help youth, including youth with disabilities, recognize signs of bullying in the workplace, and to recognize how bullying differs from disability harassment. The brief offers examples of bullying situations at work and offers strategies to help address the issue. Much is understood about the negative consequences of bullying at school, but youth should also be made aware that bullying does not end at school. It is often encountered at work as well. Read the brief online or download a copy.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Practice Brief on "Engaging Youth in Work Experiences" Now Online

NCWD/Youth’s Practice Brief, Engaging Youth in Work Experiences, is now available online. This brief is part of a new 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 several successful youth programs to engage youth in work experiences, including youth with disabilities. Work experiences are both paid and unpaid opportunities to work and practice career readiness skills. The work experiences described in this brief include internships, summer jobs, youth-run businesses/entrepreneurship, service projects and volunteer work, and part-time jobs. Read the brief online or download a copy.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Practice Brief on "Using Career Interest Inventories to Inform Career Planning" Now Online

NCWD/Youth’s Practice Brief, Using Career Interest Inventories to Inform Career Planning, is now available online. This brief is part of a new 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 several successful youth programs to conduct career interest inventories with youth. Career interest inventories are a commonly used tool for self-exploration. Engaging youth in self-exploration – the process of learning to identify their skills, interests, and values and how they could be used in various careers – is a critical step in the career development process for all young people, including youth with disabilities. Read the brief online or download a copy.

September 2011

USDOL Awards Another Year of Funding for NCWD/Youth

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy awarded an additional year of funding ($950,000) for the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) to the Institute for Educational Leadership. Now entering its eleventh year, NCWD/Youth is a national technical assistance center focused on improving employment, education, and transition outcomes for youth, including youth with disabilities. Read ODEP’s press release online.

With support from ODEP, NCWD/Youth is a collaboration between the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Center for Workforce Development, the PACER Center, the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP), the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Community Integration, and Boston University’s School of Education.

Cornell University to Host Webcast with Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy

On October 12, Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) will host a free webcast entitled "ILR on Policy: A Conversation with Kathy Martinez." Kathy Martinez is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy. Conversation topics will include:

  • The current state of employment for people with disabilities, and the importance of providing opportunities for people with disabilities to U.S. business and the economy;
  • President Obama’s initiative to increase employment of people with disabilities in the federal sector and its broader impact; and
  • insight and advice on what your organization can do to advance efforts to support and employ people with disabilities.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Convenes Webinar on Engaging Employers

ON September 27, NCWD/Youth convened a webinar entitled “Beyond the Handshake: Employer Relations that Work!” This webinar gave youth service professionals the opportunity to learn about and apply strategies for communicating and building relationships with employers who may be interested in hiring young people. Participants explored how to find out what they need to know about employers and their needs; how to share information about the goals and needs of youth with potential employers; and how to do effective follow-up with employers and preparation with youth. A free recording is available online

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Apprenticeship Workshop Training Materials

With the support of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, NCWD/Youth developed newApprenticeship Workshop Training Materials, which include two sets of apprenticeship training modules and a strategic planning exercise that can be used after either module. The modules can be used by individuals to learn independently about apprenticeship, or a facilitator can use the modules to train groups. These materials will be useful for youth service professionals, workforce board administrators, state and local apprenticeship coordinators, community college representatives and other training providers, and potential and current apprenticeship employers. These new resources include:

JAN Releases Report on Low Cost, High Impact of Workplace Accommodations

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) released a report as part of its Accommodation and Compliance Series entitled “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact.” JAN interviewed nearly 1800 employers from different industry sectors and of a variety of sizes about workplace accommodations. The study results consistently showed that the benefits employers receive from making workplace accommodations far outweigh the low cost. Employers reported that providing accommodations resulted in such benefits as retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale, reducing workers’ compensation and training costs, and improving company diversity. These benefits were obtained with little investment. The employers in the study reported that a high percentage (56%) of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500.

Workforce3One Releases Podcast on Promoting STEM for Students with Disabilities

Workforce3One, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, released a podcast entitled "Promoting Access to STEM Learning Opportunities and Jobs for Students with Disabilities." Knowledge workers who have specialized skills, especially in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), will fill many of the fastest-growing jobs in America. In the population of youth ages 15 to 24, 11 percent of individuals have disabilities. However, in the STEM workforce, only 5 percent of individuals have disabilities. Listen to this podcast to learn more about programs that promote STEM learning opportunities for students with disabilities, including AccessSTEM, a very extensive E-mentoring community that helps students develop job-search and interview strategies, and ENTRY POINT, a 10-to-12 week summer internship experience for college students with disabilities. 

New Report Available on Reentry Programs for Out-of-School Youth with Disabilities

The National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD) has issued new reports on Reentry Programs for Out-of-School Youth with Disabilities. Compared to their peers who graduate, high school students with disabilities who drop out are more likely to be unemployed, dependent on public services, and involved in the criminal justice system. Education providers nationwide are seeking to re-engage high school students with disabilities who have dropped out by offering reentry programs. Reentry programs are specifically designed to address students' barriers to school completion and prepare them for college and career readiness. NDPC-SD’s reports explore the issue and provide guidance to assist education programs in planning new reentry programs or redesigning existing programs. See each of the reports below:

New NCWD content.NWCD/Youth Convenes Webinar on Assessment and Individualized Planning for Youth

On September 13, NCWD/Youth convened a webinar entitled "Assessment and Individualized Planning for Youth: Charting the Course for Effective Transition." To be successful in work and careers, youth must have experiences and opportunities that allow them to discover their strengths, skills, aptitudes, and interests in supportive, structured environments. A large part of this includes ongoing informal and formal assessment activities that give shape to self-discovery and an understanding of the world of work. This section will give participants an appreciation of the role of assessment and tools with which to provide direction for individuals being served through the workforce development system.

August 2011

USDOL Issues Guidance on Workforce System Participation in Ticket to Work Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Agency and Office of Disability Employment Policy releasedTraining and Employment Notice (TEN) No. 06-11, “Increasing the Public Workforce Development System’s Participation In The Ticket to Work Program for Disability Beneficiaries.” The TEN’s purpose is to provide updated information to the state workforce agencies, local workforce investment boards, and One-Stop Career Centers on the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program, including changes to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) policies for Employment Networks.

NTAR to Host Webinar on Outcome-Driven Services in the Workforce Investment System

On September 14, the NTAR Leadership Center, a national technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, will host a webinar entitled “Outcome-Driven Services in the Workforce Investment System.” This webinar will highlight multiple examples from the field as we explore strategies designed to refine the One-Stop's capacity to effectively serve businesses. We will explore strategies that meet the needs of the diverse sectors of its community, including both large and small businesses representing a full cross-section of industry. These strategies include the variety of business-oriented services available in a community, coordinated around a single point of contact for ease of use by the business customer. They are strategies that allow the workforce development system to act as a foundation for economic growth in its community, while more readily fulfilling its purpose to connect career seekers with economic opportunity and self-sufficiency.

 

Register for the webinar at NTAR’s website.

OPM Invites Public Comments on “Pathways for Students & Recent Graduates to Federal Careers” Proposed Rules

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is requesting public input by October 4, 2011 on its proposed rules for the federal government’s new Pathways Programs. Established by Executive Order 13562 in December 2010, the Pathways Programs consists of three excepted-service programs tailored to recruit, hire, develop, and retain students and recent graduates. OPM has issued proposed Pathways program rules to improve recruiting efforts, offer clear paths to Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school and to careers for recent graduates, and provide meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service.  Read more about the proposed changes to each of the three programs:

To submit comments electronically, visit the Proposed Regulations website or see instructions for other submission methods.

National Center for Learning Disabilities Releases State of Learning Disabilities Report

The National Center for Learning Disabilities released "The State of Learning Disabilities: Facts, Trends, and Indicators".  This biennial publication includes key facts and current statistics, information on learning disabilities in secondary schools, postsecondary education, and the workforce. About 5% of public students (2.5 million) in the U.S. have a learning disability, of which, almost two-thirds are male. And only about a third of students with a learning disability are provided with assistive technology to support their instruction and learning. The report's conclusions underline the overlying challenges ahead and outlines some directions to move to improve outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities.

New NCWD content.Info Brief for Families on Soft Skills for Job Success Now Available in Spanish

NCWD/Youth's Info Brief, Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families, is now available in Spanish. This brief provides guidance for parents and family members on ways to help young people prepare for job success by working with them and encouraging them to develop soft skills. "Soft skills" are common sense skills that are important in all aspects of life and have been identified by employers as particularly important for success at work. Read the brief in Spanish, Ayudando a los jóvenes a Desarrollar Habilidades Sociales para tener Éxito en el Trabajo: Consejos para los Padres y las Familias.

New NCWD content.New Podcast Series - “Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success”

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) has just released a new podcast series for parents and families titled, “Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success.” The podcast series includes the following four episodes:

This podcast series provides ideas for parents and families on activities they can do at home and include in their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) to ensure he or she develops skills needed for job success by the time he or she completes high school. Learn more and listen to the podcasts.

July 2011 

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Posts a Blog Every Day for ADA Week

The week of July 25 is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Week. Twenty-one years ago this week, President H.W. Bush signed into law this groundbreaking civil rights legislation for persons with disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and allows equal access in the areas of employment, public entities and transportation, public accommodations and commercial facilities, telecommunications, and other areas. To celebrate the passage of this legislation, honor the progress made in the past 21 years, and to acknowledge the distance our country has yet to go, NCWD/Youth is posting a blog every day during ADA week. These blog entries include:

Employer Assistance Resource Network's Newsletter Available Online

The July newsletter of the Employer Assistance Resource Network (EARN) is now available online. EARN offers employers free consultation for successful workplace integration of people with disabilities. To sign up with EARN and to learn more about EARN services, go to www.askearn.org or call toll-free at: 1-855-275-3276, V/TTY. View or download the EARN newsletter.

OSEP Invites Public Comments on IDEA Part D

The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has requested suggestions from the public on the future of IDEA Part D investments in the areas of Transition to College and Careers, Deaf-Blind, and Early Childhood. OSEP wants to hear from you about challenges and emerging issues in supporting these three areas, recommendations for supports and systems needed to meet challenges and issues, and ways OSEP can meet the needs of students and their families with limited IDEA Part D resources.

OSEP announced this informal opportunity for public comment in an email to the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network, indicating OSEP will consider the suggestions as it develops its future investment strategy; however there will be no formal response from OSEP to suggestions provided either in person or by electronic submission.

Suggestions may be emailed to OSEPPartDsuggestions@ed.gov.

New NCWD content.Individualized Learning Plans Webinar on July 26th - Register Now

NCWD/Youth invites you to participate in the webinar, The Nature of Effective Individualized Learning Plans and Their Promise in Supporting College and Career Readiness on Tuesday, July 26 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm Eastern. NCWD/Youth partner Scott Solberg, Ph. D. at Boston University and Taryn Williams, from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor, will share information from an on-going national study sponsored by ODEP. This webinar will describe the nature of individualized learning plans (ILPs), share promising ILP implementation practices, identify how ILPs serve as a bridge in supporting both college and career readiness outcomes, and describe empirical research results related to these efforts.

To register for this free webinar, visit the TA&D Network iLinc website, select the Effective Individualized Learning Plans webinar, and click the “Register” button at the bottom of the page. Questions? Please contact Catherine Fowler, chfowler@uncc.edu.

Web Registration Now Open for Add Us In National Diversity Forum

The Department of Labor's Add Us In National Diversity Forum is a public event taking place on August 4, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. The meeting will initiate a national discussion around how efforts like Add Us In can look at the intersection of business, diversity and disability in order to bring benefit to individuals with disabilities, small businesses, targeted communities and the economy as a whole. Space is limited — early registration is encouraged.

To register, please visit http://webapps.dol.gov/ODEPregistration.

For more information on the National Diversity Forum or the Add Us In initiative, visit www.dol.gov/odep/addusin.

ETA Issues Guidance on Increasing Enrollment and Improving Services to Youth with Disabilities

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) released Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 31-10, to provide information and resources on promising practices and successful strategies that promote the enrollment, education, training and employment outcomes of youth with disabilities.  The TEGL discusses the following strategies, and provides related resources, for increasing effective services to youth with disabilities:

  • Enhance staff capacity to serve youth with disabilities.  
  • Implement a universal design approach and universal learning strategies.
  • Incorporate strength-based assessment and career development plan strategies.
  • Provide work experience opportunities.
  • Build connections to the One-Stop Career Centers and develop/strengthen their capacity to serve youth with disabilities.
  • Expand partnerships to increase services to youth with disabilities.

 Read the TEGL.

June 2011

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Publishes New Innovative Strategies Profiles

NCWD/Youth published two new profiles of youth organizations and programs implementing innovative strategies to serve all youth, including youth with disabilities. NCWD/Youth’s Innovative Strategies work aims to improve services to youth with disabilities throughout the workforce system by making available information on quality workforce development programs and practices.

The newest Innovative Strategies Profiles are:

  • First Jobs Academy (FJA), a program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. FJA is a youth staffing initiative that provides initial and transitional employment opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth with and without disabilities who are in the foster care system. FJA combines a highly integrated and comprehensive approach to business partner relationships through both on- and off-site job coaching to create initial and interim skill-building opportunities in a variety of business sectors.
  • Minnesota’s Pathways to Employment (PTE), an initiative of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). PTE brings together employers, businesses, government, and service providers to help increase competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities and to meet state workforce needs. PTE provides opportunities for youth to participate in early work experiences, career exploration, and leadership development, and gain access to a range of community services including an online benefits planning tool.

NCES Report on Students with Disabilities at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions Now Available

This month, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released “Students with Disabilities at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions,” a first look report on national estimates of students with disabilities at 2-year and 4-year Title IV eligible, degree-granting institutions for the 2008-09 academic year. The report describes findings from the Postsecondary Education Quick Information System (PEQIS) survey and includes national data on services and accommodations provided to students with disabilities, institutional policies regarding students with disabilities, and various aspects of institutional accessibility including Universal Design and website accessibility.

To learn more, download the report online.

Youth Transition Toolkit now available online from Talent Knows No Limits

The “Youth Transition Toolkit: A Guide for Young People with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood”is now available online from Talent Knows No Limits (TKNL), a public information campaign of the California Health Incentives Improvement Project (CHIIP).  Developed in partnership with young people, the toolkit is designed as a how-to guide on preparing for transition to adulthood and making choices about their own health care, education, employment, finances, independent living, and social and recreational activities. Some of the questions the toolkit helps youth address include:

  • What is Transition Planning? What is an IEP and how can I lead my IEP Meeting?
  • How can I manage my Social Security and medical benefits?  
  • How does college differ from high school? How can I obtain services for my disability during college?
  • What resources are available to help me choose the right career?
  • Is there assistive technology available that can help me secure a job?  
  • How can I find accessible housing to live on my own?  
  • What should I do to prepare for a job interview?

While some of the services and resources provided are California state-specific, much of the guidance is applicable to youth in any state. The toolkit was developed with funding from a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

To learn more, visit the Youth Transition Toolkit website.

DOJ releases Technical Assistance Guide on Enforcement of Olmstead Decision

The Department of Justice has released a new technical assistance document describing the obligations of public entities and individuals’ rights under the integration mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 1999 landmark Supreme Court decision, Olmstead v. L.C.  The Olmstead decision held that the ADA requires public entities to provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when such services are appropriate; the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and community-based services can be reasonably accommodated.  The document also provides questions and answers on a variety of ADA enforcement issues related toOlmstead

The department has also created a new section of its ADA website, www.ada.gov/olmstead, that provides information and resources about the Olmstead decision and its enforcement.

The technical assistance document is online at www.ada.gov/olmstead/q&a_olmstead.htm.

For more information about the ADA, including how to file complaints related to Olmstead enforcement, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY), or access the department’s ADA website at www.ada.gov/olmstead .

New Report Highlights Role of Social Enterprise Business in Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

The Kessler Foundation and the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development recently released a report entitled "Social Enterprise Business: A Strategy for Creating Good Jobs for People with Disabilities." The report discusses the merits of social enterprises and strategies for creating successful social enterprises that employ people with disabilities. Social enterprises are loosely defined as a business that is socially minded and revenue generating. The report posits that successful social enterprises must provide an environment where people with and without disabilities work together. Workers must also earn minimum wage or more. Workers should be able to advance within the company or be able to gain the skills and experience needed to find a higher level job with another company.

World Health Organization and World Bank Issue World Report on Disability

The World Health Organization and the World Bank issued the first ever World Report on Disability. The report suggests that more than a billion people in the world today experience disability. Further, people with disabilities have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. This is largely due to the lack of services available to them and the many obstacles they face in their everyday lives. The report provides the best available evidence about what works to overcome barriers to health care, rehabilitation, education, employment, and support services, and to create the environments which will enable people with disabilities to flourish. The report ends with a concrete set of recommended actions for governments and their partners.

EARN to Host 6/30 Webinar on Leading Corporate Disability Inclusion Practices

The Employer Assistance Resource Network (EARN) will hold a webinar on June 30, 2011, 2-3:30 pm Eastern, featuring business leaders who will share insights on the successes their companies have realized through the inclusion of people with disabilities, including wounded warriors, in all aspects of their corporate enterprise.  

This webinar is made possible with grant funds from the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U. S. Department of Labor. The presenters will include Michelle Maybaum, Director, Employee Relations, Qualcomm, Inc., Deborah Dagit, VP and Chief Diversity Officer, Merck, and Susan Mazrui, Director, Global Public Policy, AT&T Services, Inc. Jill Houghton, Acting Executive Director, US Business Leadership Network, will moderate the discussion.

Free registration is required for the webinar. Learn more and register online.

Institute for Higher Education Policy Highlights Role of Mentoring in Postsecondary Success

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) released a brief entitled "The Role of Mentoring in College Access and Success." The brief, authored by the Pathways to College Network (an IHEP program) and the National College Access Network, aims to serve as a tangible resource for individuals from college access programs, youth development organizations, and advocacy.

In identifying the role of mentoring in college, the brief provides a set of effective practices—grounded in research—for professionals at the K-12 or higher education level who are interested in starting mentoring programs or improving existing efforts. The brief addresses topics related to program planning; mentor recruitment, training, and matching; and monitoring program effectiveness.

New NCWD content.Individualized Learning Plan Webinar Recording & Transcript Now Available

The National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) has posted recording and transcript from the May 12, 2011 webinar, The Nature of Effective Individualized Learning Plans and Their Promise in Supporting College and Career Readiness.” In this webinar, Scott Solberg, Ph. D. with the Center on Education and Work (CEW) at University of Wisconsin – Madison, a NCWD/Youth partner, shared findings from an on-going national study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). This webinar describes the nature of individualized learning plans (ILPs), highlights promising ILP implementation practices, identifies how ILPs serve as a bridge in supporting both college and career readiness outcomes, and describes empirical research results related to these efforts. Access the webinar recording and transcript here.

To learn more about Individual Learning Plans, see NCWD/Youth’s Individual Learning Plan Fact sheet, the overview of the ODEP-funded Research and Demonstration Project, and the Info Brief, Understanding the Role of Individual Learning Plans in Transition Planning for Youth with Disabilities.

NTAR's Ready & Able Report Looks at Collaborative Approaches to Employment of People with Disabilities

A new report, Ready and Able:  Addressing Labor Market Needs and Building Productive Careers for People with Disabilities through Collaborative Approaches, is now available from the National Technical Assistance and Research Center to Promote Leadership for Increasing Employment and Economic Independence of Adults with Disabilities (NTAR Leadership Center).

The report explores market-driven practices that increase hiring, retention, promotion and accommodation of people with disabilities through partnerships with employers. Approaches profiled in the research include:

  • Collaborations between major national employers and public sector agencies;
  • Models that focus on an industry or occupational sector;
  • Private and “alternative” staffing services that place people with disabilities;
  • Partnerships that expand opportunities for college students and graduates with disabilities; and
  • Local and regional hubs that connect people with disabilities and employers.

Read the full report or the Executive Summary.

May 2011

New NCWD content.New Brief for Parents & Families on Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills

NCWD/Youth's latest Info Brief, Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families, is now available online. Parents and family members can help young people prepared for job success by working with them and encouraging them to develop soft skills. "Soft skills" are common sense skills that are important in all aspects of life and have been identified by employers as particularly important for success at work. By improving these skills, all youth, including youth with disabilities, can enhance their social life, do better in postsecondary education pursuits, and be more successful at finding and maintaining employment. This Info Brief describes several strategies that families can use to help youth develop soft skills.Read the brief online or download it as a PDF or Word document.

U.S. DOL/ETA Releases FY 2011 Workforce Investment Act Programs Allotment Totals

The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration has officially released the FY 2011 program allotment totals for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth Activities.  The DOL/ETA Advisory, which includes specific allotment totals by state, is now available online.

New NCWD content. New Policy Brief Highlights State Policies on Individual Learning Plans

NCWD/Youth's latest Policy Brief, Personalized Learning: Policy Insights from Four States, is now available online.  This Policy Brief describes findings from a case study of four states using individual learning plans (ILP) as a strategic education policy. The states profiled ((Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Washington) are using the ILP to personalize student’s educational experience in an effort to raise their academic achievement and better prepare them for post-secondary education and employment. Read the brief. See NCWD/Youth's other publications on Individual Learning Plans.

New NCWD content. May 12th Webinar on Individual Learning Plans

The Center on Education and Work (CEW) at University of Wisconsin – Madison, a partner in the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), will host a webinar on May 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm Central/ 4:30 pm Eastern on “The Nature of Effective Individualized Learning Plans and Their Promise in Supporting College and Career Readiness.”  Based on an on-going national study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Scott Solberg, Ph. D. will present on the nature of individualized learning plans (ILPs), share promising ILP implementation practices, identify how ILPs serve as a bridge in supporting both college and career readiness outcomes, and describe empirical research results related to these efforts. 

Registration is required and free. Register online.

To learn more about Individual Learning Plans, see NCWD/Youth’s Individual Learning Plan Fact sheet, the overview of the ODEP-funded Research and Demonstration Project, and the Info Brief, Understanding the Role of Individual Learning Plans in Transition Planning for Youth with Disabilities.

New NCWD content. Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program in New York Recognized During Mental Health Awareness Month

Staff of the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) in Albany, NY, which is operated by Youth Power – Families Together in New York State, will be recognized by the New York State Office of Mental Health, Division of Children’s and Families (OMH) for their hard work and innovation in promoting children’s social emotional development through RAMP. RAMP Coordinator Zach Garafalo, youth and families involved in the program have been invited to speak at the OMH award ceremony and celebration on May 9th, 2011. May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and the first week of May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Many youth in the RAMP program have mental health needs as well as other disabilities. Based on the NCWD/Youth’s Paving the Way to Work career-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. RAMP operates in 12 sites nationwide under the leadership of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) Center for Workforce Development with funding from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

The National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), has published various resources on practices and policies for serving youth with mental health needs. Learn more about RAMP and NCWD/Youth’s mental health resources.

NCLR Report Shares Successful Strategies for Assisting Disconnected Latino Youth

A new report by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Plugged In:  Positive Development Strategies for Disconnected Latino Youth, profiles a pilot program of the NCLR Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success, which addresses the obstacles faced by young Hispanics who are disconnected from school and work. The report finds that across three sites – operated by NCLR Affiliates AltaMed Health Services Corporation (Los Angeles), American YouthWorks (Austin), and HELP/New Mexico, Inc. (rural New Mexico) the following elements are central to the success of disconnected youth: 

  • Reconnection,
  • Foundational skills,
  • Leadership and Personal Development,
  • Educational Attainment,
  • Workforce Readiness Skills, and
  • Career Exploration. 

The report is available online and includes lessons and recommendations for policymakers, funders, and program administrators serving this population.

DOL ETA & ODEP Roundtable on “How the Workforce System Can Better Serve Youth With Disabilities” – Videos now available online

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) conducted an in-depth roundtable discussion in October 2010 on how the workforce system can better serve youth with disabilities. NCWD/Youth's Youth Development Specialist Andraéa LaVant participated along side other national experts, state and local WIA practitioners, Disability Program Navigators, Job Corps Center Directors, Apprenticeship representatives, and staff from the YouthBuild program.

Videos of the roundtable discussions are now available online, including discussion sessions on:

To view the all 10 video segments from the Roundtable, go to the Disability and Employment Community of Practice on DOl ETA's Workforce3One website.

OFCCP Publishes Proposed VEVRAA Regulation Revisions to Strengthen Employment Protections for Veterans  

Many veterans experience substantial obstacles to finding employment upon their return home. To address this problem, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that recommends revisions that strengthen Federal regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (Section 4212), as amended, commonly referred to as VEVRAA.

The OFCCP proposes various changes to the requirement that employers doing business with the Federal government engage in specific types of outreach and recruitment that target veterans. The proposed changes include requiring Federal contractors:

  • to evaluate annually the effectiveness of their efforts to ensure that protected veterans have access to employment opportunities; 
  • to establish and maintain quantitative data on the number of protected veterans they learn about through job referrals, the number of protected veterans applying for jobs, and the number of protected veterans they hire;
  • to establish annual hiring benchmarks based on availability data and other relevant information to measure contractors’ success in recruiting, employing, and retaining protected veterans; and
  • to invite veterans to self-identify both pre-and post-offer of employment.  

The notice is available online.  Comments on OFCCP’s NPRM may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov or by mail, to Debra Carr, Director, Division of Policy, Planning, and Program Development, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20210.  Indicate RIN number 1250-AA00.

April 2011

New NCWD content.Individual Learning Plan Fact Sheet Now Online 

NCWD/Youth has a new fact sheet about Individual Learning Plans. An Individual Learning Plan is a tool that high school students 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 interestsand achieve their goals. Many states have adopted policies that require all high school students to develop and maintain an individual learning plan in order to make schools more personalized and improve student outcomes. Read the Fact Sheet to learn more.

New Workplace Mentoring Primer Helps Employers Foster Diversity & Inclusion

The Federal Workplace Mentoring Primer, now available online at the Employer Assistance Resource Network (EARN) website, provides strategies and resources for developing, implementing, and improving formal workplace mentoring programs, including tips for fostering diversity and inclusion.

The Primer was developed by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) Center for Workforce Development in partnership with the Cornell National Technical Assistance, Policy and Research Center for Employers on Employment of People with Disabilities as part of a federally funded grant from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U. S. Department of Labor.

The Primer contents include:

  • How to develop a mentoring culture
  • Ten approaches to mentoring
  • Mentoring program practices and tools
  • Structured activities for protégés and mentors
  •  Other resources on mentoring, diversity, and inclusion

In developing this new resource, the IEL Center for Workforce Development built upon its expertise and resources on career-focused mentoring for youth and young adults developed as a part of the ODEP supported National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth).  The Primer contents were informed by a working group of federal employees and build on the U. S. Office of Personnel Management’s Best Practices: Mentoring.

While this resource was developed for any federal government employee interested in learning the basics of workplace mentoring and how to apply them within the federal government, those working outside the federal government may also find it helpful for establishing and improving formal mentoring programs in non-federal workplaces.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Releases New Info Brief on Tapping into the Power of Families

NCWD/Youth's latest Info Brief, Tapping into the Power of Families: How Families of Youth with Disabilities Can Assist in Job Search and Retention, is now available online. Families are often the first, most knowledgeable, and most consistent “case manager” youth with disabilities have. Families possess valuable information about a youth’s strengths, interests, and needs. The purpose of this brief is to give families and other caring adults information on how their involvement can make a positive impact on a youth’s work readiness, career exploration, and workplace success. Educators and other youth service professionals can also use this information to consider how to involve family members in a young person’s work readiness and career development.

USDOL to Sponsor Webinar on Universal Design for One-Stop Career Center System

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration and Workforce3 One will convene a free webinar on April 14, 2011 entitled "Universal Design in the One-Stop Career Center System: How to Better Serve All Customers, Including Persons with Disabilities." Universal Design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaption or specialized design. Universal Design is an approach that takes into consideration the varieties of abilities, disabilities, racial/ethnic backgrounds, ages, reading abilities, learning styles, and other characteristics of the customers coming to the One-Stop Career Centers for services. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 provides for universal services to all--to implement this WIA principle there must be a welcoming, integrated, accessible, and user-friendly environment in the local One-Stop Career Centers. This Webinar will highlight examples of how to expand universal accessibility in the One-Stop Career Centers to a more diverse population of job-seekers, including job-seekers with disabilities, and how One-Stops can use universal design as a strategy for business outreach.

March 2011

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Posts New Program Profile of an Innovative Youth Program

NWCD/Youth posted a new profile of The Able Trust's Florida High School/High Tech Program. The Able Trust operates the statewide Florida High School/High Tech (HS/HT) initiative, part of a national program model designed to help youth with disabilities transition from secondary school to postsecondary opportunities, including education options and entrance into the workforce. The goals of the Florida HS/HT Program are to reduce the high school dropout rate for youth with disabilities, increase their enrollment in postsecondary education, and increase their participation in employment-related activities that lead to technology-related careers, as well as other career paths.

New NCWD content.March Intersection Now Available!

The March 2011 issue of NCWD/Youth's monthly online newsletter Intersection is now available. This month's issue includes information on  NCWD/Youth's new social media content, NCWD/Youth's new Internship Guide, the new www.AskEARN.org website, new ADA Amendements Act regulations, an HHS resourceon strengthening family and communities, a new disability rights course, and a report on reconnecting youth to education.

Read Intersection online.

EEOC Announces Final Bipartisan Regulations for ADA Amendments Act

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) final regulations to implement the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) are now available for public view on the Federal Register website at now available on the Federal Register website. The ADAAA went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009.  In the ADAAA, Congress directed the EEOC to revise its regulations to conform to changes made by the Act, and expressly authorized the EEOC to do so. The ADAAA overturned several Supreme Court decisions that Congress believed had interpreted the definition of “disability” too narrowly, resulting in a denial of protection for many individuals with impairments such as cancer, diabetes or epilepsy.  The ADAAA states that the definition of disability should be interpreted in favor of broad coverage of individuals.  The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.

The ADAAA and the final regulations keep the ADA’s definition of the term “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record (or past history) of such an impairment; or being regarded as having a disability.  But the law made significant changes in how those terms are interpreted, and the regulations implement those changes.

The ADAAA regulations, accompanying Question and Answer documents and a fact sheet are available on the EEOC website at www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adaaa_info.cfm.

NYEC Releases Report for Communities and States Reconnecting Youth to Education

The National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) released Building Roads to Success: Key Considerations for Communities and States Reconnecting Youth to Education. The report is designed to assist community and state leaders, youth advocates, educators, and other stakeholders interested in improving or expanding the options for struggling students and out-of-school youth. It is relevant to the work of municipal government, community-based organizations, school districts, postsecondary institutions, workforce development organizations, apprenticeship programs, and other youth-serving organizations. It is equally geared toward the work of governors’ offices and state policymakers, departments of education, youth advocates, and workforce boards.

Building Roads to Success identifies five key areas of programming, policy, and system building at the local and state levels that are crucial to the development of an environment in which all young people complete high school or its equivalent prepared for and connected to postsecondary opportunities: State and Local Policy, Cross-System Collaboration, Data Collection and Use, Building Capacity, and Funding. It provides background on each area to help local- and state-level stakeholders think about where to start, how to assess how their community or state is doing, and how to improve or expand upon work already under way.

Access the report at NYEC’s website at http://www.nyec.org/content/documents/Building Roads cover-FINAL.pdf.

New Strengthening Families and Communities: 2011 Resource Guide from HHS Children's Bureau

The Strengthening Families and Communities: 2011 Resource Guide is now available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention and the Center for the Study of Social Policy-Strengthening Families.

This resource guide was created to support service providers in their work with parents, caregivers, and their children to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect. The guide focuses on five important factors that have been shown to protect children from the risk of abuse and neglect. Information about these protective factors is augmented with tools and strategies for integrating these factors into existing community programs and systems. With input from numerous national organizations, Federal partners, and parents committed to strengthening families and communities, the guide provides many suggestions to help communities “get prevention right.”

NCWD/Youth Launches New Blog & Twitter

NCWD/Youth has created the NCWD/Youth Blog, as well as a Twitter account, to improve our communication and outreach to youth service professionals and program administrators, young people, families, and policy makers. Two to three times per week, NCWD/Youth will be sharing information about resources and tools and discussing news, events, issues and policies central to preparing all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth, for a successful transition to adulthood. Readers are encouraged to submit questions and share ideas about topics and issues of interest to you. Check out the blog and subscribe to blog updates. Follow us on Twitter @ncwdyouth_iel.

Internship Guide for Youth Released by National Consortium on Leadership & Disability for Youth

Completing an internship is an ideal way for young people with and without disabilities to prepare for their career field of choice. In its most recent publication, Internships: The On-Ramp to Employment, A Guide for Students with Disabilities to Getting and Making the Most of an Internship, the National Consortium on Leadership & Disability for Youth (NCLD/Y) guides young people through the step-by-step process of finding, applying for, participating in and even evaluating an internship. With tools necessary to maintain a competitive advantage over fellow job seekers, this guide leads young people through activities focused on career exploration, interview and resume building, goal setting, networking, and more to prepare them to successfully complete an internship and transition toward employment. In addition, the guide includes information and tips of specific relevance to youth with disabilities, including finding accessible housing, navigating the transportation system, disclosing a disability, and employing a personal care attendant.

Click here for more information and to download the guide.

National TA Center for Employers Launches AskEARN.org

The National Employer Technical Assistance Center has launched a new website, www.AskEARN.org, a one-stop resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire and retain qualified employees with disabilities. The new site is an employer resource provided by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN). The National Employer Technical Assistance Center is funded by a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to Cornell University.

Online resources and information cover the following topics: recruitment and hiring, return to work, talent management, and workplace accessibility and culture. The site also lists events such as conferences and trainings, and links to the EARN newsletter and the Business Case, which features employers discussing their experiences related to and the benefits associated with hiring and retaining workers with disabilities. Businesses can also find a link to the Workforce Recruitment Program, a job matching service that draws from a database of more than 2,200 pre-screened, qualified students and recent graduates with disabilities seeking summer internships and/or permanent employment. 

HSCF is accepting applications for the 2011 Advocates in Disability Award (ADA)

The HSC Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2011 Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) which recognizes a young person with a disability, between the ages of 14 and 26, in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area who is dedicated to serving and empowering people with disabilities.  The ADA is a program of The HSC Foundation, funded in part by the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his/her past disability advocacy and will receive up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for his/her proposed project that focuses on serving and empowering individuals with disabilities.

Application are due by March 14, 2011. The winner will be notified by late April and formally recognized at a reception on June 9, 2011.

Learn more about Advocates in Disability Award or apply for the award.

February 2011

Groundbreaking Transition Legislation for Youth with Significant Disabilities Introduced in House

A trio of federal bills, called the Transitioning towards Excellence in Achievement and Mobility (TEAM) legislation , designed to improve transition outcomes of youth with significant disabilities was introduced in Congress in mid-February.  The TEAM legislation--which consists of the TEAM-Education Act (H.R. 602), the TEAM-Empowerment Act (H.R. 603), and the TEAM-Employment Act (H.R. 604)--focus on realigning  and strengthening federally funded programs to more successfully move youth with significant disabilities toward further education, integrated employment, and community living.

“The TEAM legislative package will help ensure that citizens with disabilities possess the same economic and social freedoms we all enjoy by focusing publicly funded supports on helping youth with disabilities attain desired outcomes, such as higher education, real jobs at real wages, and an opportunity to belong and contribute to one’s community,” said Madeleine Will, Vice President at the National Down Syndrome Society and founder of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination, which helped create the legislative package. Will has long championed the need to focus federal programs on supporting youth with disabilities to move from school to further education and work, from home to community living. “For decades now the rhetoric from Washington has emphasized employment and self-sufficiency for citizens with disabilities,” Will added. “Now it is time for the reality to match the rhetoric.”

  • The TEAM-Education Act (H.R. 602) would amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by requiring transition components to be included in Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for all IDEA-eligible students at the age of 14, expands the definition of transition services to include customized employment strategies and self-determination activities, and clarifies that Local Education Authorities can use discretionary dollars to bring in transition expertise or contract out transition services.

  • The TEAM-Empowerment Act (H.R. 603) would amend the Developmental Disabilities Act to establish Transition Planning and Service Divisions within the State Developmental Disability Authorities, as well as Individual Transition Plans to advance best outcomes and self-determination.  Additionally the bill would increase accountability of these authorities by providing the Secretary of DHHS through the Commissioner of the Administration on developmental Disabilities (ADD) the authority to disburse assistance to states which agree to participate.
  • The TEAM-Employment Act (H.R. 604) would amend the Rehabilitation Act to realign preferred outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities, and streamlines public funding by requiring the VR systems to actively engage with other state entities. Additionally, the bill would promote innovation and accountability through demonstration grants aimed at implementing reform strategies.

“After more than 30 years of demonstration projects, research efforts and practical experience, transition has landed squarely on the congressional radar screen,” said Curtis Richards, director of the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) housed at the Institute for Educational leadership with support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. NCWD/Youth’s work served as a significant foundation for the content of the TEAM Act package. “We know what youth need to make a successful transition,” Richards said. “Now it’s time to align our federal goals, funding streams and programs to meet those needs.”

Click here to learn more about the TEAM Act package.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Posts Two New Program Profiles of Innovative Youth Programs

NCWD/Youth published two new profiles of youth organizations and programs implementing innovative strategies to serve all youth, including youth with disabilities. NCWD/Youth’s Innovative Strategies work aims to improve services to youth with disabilities throughout the workforce system by making available information on quality workforce development programs and practices.

Read the new Innovative Strategies Profiles:

White House Releases President's FY 2012 Budget Proposal

On February 14, the White House Released President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012, which includes modest cuts to many programs. The president sends his budget proposal to Congress in hopes that legislators will adopt the Administration's policy and programming priorities for the coming fiscal year. After its President's Day recess, the Congress will take up again work on its own budget and appropriations for FY2 012.

Learn more about the president's budget at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget.

New NCWD content. IEL Organizes Youth to Attend National Summit

IEL’s Center for Workforce Development and Center for Leadership and Policy have organized a diverse group of 35 youth, including youth with disabilities and those at-risk of dropping out of high school, to attend the U. S. Department of Education’s Voices in Action: National Youth Summit to be held Saturday, February 26,2011 in Washington, DC. 

The National Youth Summit aims to galvanize youth to shape strategies and provide pathways for all students to be on track to achieve high school and postsecondary credentials. During the summit, young people will communicate their views and ideas directly to senior administration officials about how to improve school climate, ensure all youth graduate from high school, and increase college completion rates to reach President Obama’s 2020 goal.

The group of youth participants organized by IEL includes young people participating in IEL’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, in the following communities: Chemung County (Elmira), NY; Baltimore, MD; Lansing, MI; Albany, NY; and the Florida Crown (Gilchrist, Dixie, Union, and Columbia Counties). The group also includes young people involved with IEL’s Leadership for Community Change Capstone Project, funded by the Kellogg Foundation, from Hawaii, California, South Texas, Minneapolis, MN, and Denver, CO.

IEL plans to convene the youth participants on Friday, February 25th prior to the Summit to share what they are doing and learning in their communities and to prepare for their participation in the Summit. 

IEL encourages young people who are not able to attend the Summit in person to participate and make their voices heard through the following activities:

Learn more about the National Youth Summit.

New NCWD content.Audio File of 411 on Disability Disclosure Workbook Now Available

NCWD/Youth recently added a downloadable audio file of the 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities. The workbook is designed for youth and adults working with them to learn about disability disclosure. It aims to helps young people make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and understand how that decision may impact their education, employment, and social lives. Based on the premise that disclosure is a very personal decision, the workbook helps young people think about and practice disclosing their disability. To download the MP3 audio file, click here (size: 120Mbs, length: 2 hours and 12 minutes) or go to the publication's webpage.

HHS Proposes New Regulation Extending Consumer Protections to Student Health Plans

On February 10, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a proposed regulation that would ensure students enrolled in health insurance coverage through their college or university benefit from consumer protections created by the Affordable Care Act. The regulation would define student health plans as “individual health insurance coverage” and apply the following consumer protections to these plans:

  • No Lifetime Limits on Coverage: Insurance companies would not be able to impose lifetime dollar limits on the amount they spend on health benefits in student health plans.
  • No Arbitrary Rescissions of Insurance Coverage: Insurance companies would no longer be able to drop coverage when student health plan enrollees get sick because of an unintentional mistake on an application.
  • No Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Students Under Age 19:  Insurance companies would not be able to deny or exclude coverage for students under age 19 because of a pre-existing condition.

If the new regulation is approved, the changes would apply to student health plans starting in September 2012. For more details on the proposed regulation, see the following websites - Proposed rule: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-03109_PI.pdf; Fact sheet: www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/students02092011a.html; New patient protections under the Affordable Care Act: www.HealthCare.gov.

January 2011

AAPD Washington DC Summer Internships Program for Students with Disabilities Deadline is January 24th

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) invites college students, law students, and other graduate and professional students with disabilities to apply by Monday, January 24th, 5 pm EST, for the AAPD Washington DC Summer Internships Program for Students with Disabilities. Sponsored by Walmart, the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF), and the HSC Foundation, the AAPD Summer Internships Program provides an opportunity for students with disabilities to achieve the traditional Washington, DC summer internship experience. Students spend ten weeks interning on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies and gaining invaluable hands-on experience and insight into government office operations, public policy development, law-making and research, and constituents’ roles in the legislative and administrative processes. Interns receive a stipend, travel to and from DC, and fully-accessible housing. AADP is the nation’s largest cross-disability membership organization.  Those selected for this program will be involved in various disability-focused activities and associated with AAPD and fellow interns with all types of disabilities throughout the program. See the AAPD website for more information about eligibility requirements and how to apply or contact AAPD at ph. (800) 840-8844 (V/TTY) or by email to internship@aapd.com.

New NCWD content. IEL, NCWD/Youth and RAMP Sites Celebrate National Mentoring Month during January

IEL and NCWD/Youth are celebrating National Mentoring Month throughout January by highlighting the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) sites and ways the youth participants are honoring their mentors this month. Mentoring is one of the most important strategies for assisting youth in making a positive transition into adulthood. Organizations serving transition age youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth, should foster mentoring relationships between youth and caring adults as well as between peers as a way to help youth develop social networks, interpersonal skills, and supportive relationships. 

In his December 21, 2010 proclamation, President Obama underlined the important role mentors play in young people’s lives: “Across our Nation, mentors steer our youth through challenging times and support their journey into adulthood. During National Mentoring Month, we honor these important individuals who unlock the potential and nurture the talent of our country, and we encourage more Americans to reach out and mentor young people in their community.”

Led by IEL, RAMP is a high tech, career-focused mentoring program for youth with disabilities involved with or at-risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. Through funding from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), RAMP is currently being operated at 12 sites across the country by state and local organizations with expertise in mentoring, youth development, and/or disability. The RAMP model utilizes a combination of group, peer, and one-on-one mentoring to promote the successful transition of RAMP youth to employment, continued learning opportunities, and independent living.

National Mentoring Month is the perfect time for individuals to get involved in mentoring a young person and for young people as well as adults to thank their mentors. Youth and staff at the RAMP sites are celebrating the occasion by holding special events with the mentors, families and community partners and sending thank you cards and videos created by the youth to the mentors. Youth and mentors from several sites are also participating in MLK Day service projects together.

In Albany, NY, RAMP youth and mentors from Families Together YOUTH POWER shared their mentoring experiences and discussed the value of mentoring with other community members at a special event at an area shopping mall. To show their appreciation, the youth are also planning to cook dinner for their mentors this month. In Lansing, MI, the Peckham RAMP site is holding a luncheon for the mentors and participating in a service project. RAMP mentors at the Louisiana State University Human Development Center are participating in a citywide mentor training event.  

For more information about the RAMP model and the 12 sites, visit the program website at: http://ramp.iel.org.

The following resources on engaging youth with disabilities in mentoring are available from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) with support from the U. S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy:

  • Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring: Despite all of the information available on mentoring generally, few resources provide guidance on mentoring youth with disabilities or about career-focused mentoring of older youth. This Guide was developed by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) specifically to address the needs of youth with disabilities during their transition from school to work.
  • Plotting the Course for Success: An Individualized Mentoring Plan for Youth with Disabilities: This tool guides mentors and mentees through a number of activities to help them think about a young person’s developmental needs and goals, and what sorts of activities, experiences, and connections can help them achieve them. It also enables the mentor to express how he or she would like to see himself or herself grow in the relationship.

More information about National Mentoring Month is available from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) at: http://www.serve.gov/mentor.asp.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth's Latest Guidance on Graduation Requirements Featured in National PTA Magazine

NCWD/Youth's latest article, "Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options: What Families Need to Know" is featured in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Our Children, the National PTA Magazine. The article provides guidance for parents and families on helping students understand graduation requirements and diploma options. Families play a critical role in helping their children understand the options, define college and career goals, and choose a pathway to earning a diploma. For parents of students with disabilities, it is especially important to understand the differences between the standard diploma and any alternatives offered by the school. Read the article in English or Spanish at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/GradReqPTA.

SSA Releases “What’s New in 2011?” for Work Incentives Provisions

The Social Security Administration has released guidance for 2011 regarding changes to the benefits rates and maximum earnings that apply to Work Incentives provisions. Each year, the SSA provides a user-friendly reference guide called the Red Book to assist professionals and programs in understanding work incentives for persons with disabilities and how to implement them. While the 2011 Red Book is not yet available, the “What’s New in 2011?” guidance is available on the SSA website at: http://www.ssa.gov/redbook/newfor2011.htm.  The 2010 Red Book, including the Spanish language version, is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook.

President’s Executive Order Increases Federal Career Opportunities & Internships for Students

On December 27, 2010, President Obama issued an executive order aimed at increasing opportunities for students and recent graduates to explore careers within the federal government and making it easier for federal agencies to hire students once they have successfully completed internships within the federal government. The executive order establishes the Pathways Programs, consisting of the Internship Program and the Recent Graduates Program, along with the Presidential Management Fellows Program, and directs the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to issue regulations on how agencies may recruit and hire students though each program.

For more details about the executive order and the Pathways Programs, read Executive Order - Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates.

December 2010

Congress Recognizes Disability Rights Leader Ed Roberts, Highlighting Significance of Disability History

On December 15, 2010, the U. S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1759, sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez), to establish January 23rd as national “Ed Roberts Day” in recognition of the contributions of the late Berkeley disabled rights pioneer.

Known as the father of the Independent Living Movement, Ed Roberts made history in 1962 when he fought for the right to attend college at the University of California, Berkeley when his admission was rejected due to his disability. Roberts went on to become a key figure in disability history by establishing the first Center for Independent Living (CIL).

Learning about Roberts and other leaders within the disability rights movement is an important youth development and leadership development experience for all youth, including youth with disabilities.  Exposure to disability history gives young people awareness of where individuals with disabilities have been and a context for developing and feeling a sense of pride in themselves.

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) has supported organizations and grass-roots groups that strive to incorporate disability history into learning environments, including the Disability History Network. The Disability History Network consists of 15 states and academic professionals with disabilities that work to integrate Disability History and Awareness into K-12 public education. Since NCWD/Y’s inception, eight states have passed laws that require schools to teach disability history and awareness during the month of October, which also commemorates Disability Employment Awareness Month. More than 15 other states have either passed a resolution or are developing similar legislation.

Additionally, NCWD/Y supports the It’s Our Story project, a video oral history initiative that uncovers the pride, power, and struggles of more than 1,000 individuals with disabilities, including some of the most prominent figures in the disability rights movement.

The establishment of “Ed Roberts Day” serves as another victory for the disability rights movement, alongside achievements such as the 20th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 35th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

To learn more about Ed Roberts, House Resolution 1759, the Ed Roberts Campus, and Disability History, read and listen to the following: 

NGA Center Report Highlights State Strategies for Preparing Foster Youth for Transition to Adulthood

A new report by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, “The Transition to Adulthood: How States Can Support Older Youth in Foster Care,”  highlights state strategies that show promise in preparing foster youth for adulthood through complementary strategies in education, employment, health care, and other areas. A press release about the report is available online at:http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.6c9a8a9ebc6ae07eee28aca9501010a0/?vgnextoid=1c96c8f829dac210VgnVCM1000005e00100aRCRD&vgnextchannel=759b8f2005361010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD.

The report (a PDF file) is available at: http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/1012FOSTERCARE.PDF

Video Features the Experiences of Young Males of Color "In Their Own Words"

The Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP) has produced a video titled "In Their Own Words" featuring personal testimonials from several young males of color and highlighting findings from a survey of youth in 13 communities in order to give advocates and the public better insight into the unique experiences of young people who have dropped out of school and reconnected to services and training. The young men talk about themselves, share their aspirations and dreams, and describe what supports were most useful in getting them back on track. The video and an accompanying presentation are available online at: http://www.clasp.org/issues/pages?type=youth&id=0029

November 2010

U.S. DOJ Releases Revised ADA Standards for Accessible Design

The U.S. Department of Justice made available online the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. These standards were adopted as part of revised ADA regulations. When the standards go into affect on March 15, 2012, they will set minimum requirements for new construction and alteration of the facilities of more than 80,000 state and local governments and over seven million business.

Learn about the revised standards at http://www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm.

Federal Transition Resource Directory is available on FindYouthInfo.org

This directory, focused on transition-age youth with disabilities, was compiled at a national meeting hosted by the Federal Interagency Partners in Transition Workgroup, at which federally-supported projects and center staff submitted descriptions of their resources. The directory is available online at: http://www.findyouthinfo.org/topic_transition_resourceDirectory.shtml.

New NCWD content.NWCD/Youth Launches Online Survey on Innovative Strategies Work

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) is conducting an online survey to learn about users' knowledge of, usage of, and thoughts on NCWD/Youth's Innovative Strategies work in identifying and sharing innovative programming strategies for programs that serve all youth, including youth with disablitiesNCWD/Youth is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The survey will only take about five minutes to complete. Please respond by November 28, 2010.

Complete the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=IE77vhXsItKLzOEDsFYcow_3d_3d.

 

Inclusive Schools Week Celebration Kit & Promotional Materials Now Available

The 10th Annual Inclusive Schools Week will be held December 6-10, 2010 focusing on the theme “Awareness to Action: Celebrating 10 Years of Inclusive Schools.” This event aims to promotedialogue on the importance of inclusive schools and inclusive educational practices. Celebration kits and promotional materials are available free from the Inclusive Schools Network at: http://www.inclusiveschools.org/.

Share Your Ideas on Youth Programs - Attend a National Listening Session

Do you have ideas about what the federal government can do to make a difference in the lives of youth? The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs is hosting a series of listening sessions around the country and wants to hear from young people, families, youth workers, researchers, policymakers, state and local affiliates of youth serving organizations, and other stakeholders at the state and local levels. The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs is composed of representatives from 12 Federal agencies that support programs and services focusing on youth. Register by visting their website at http://www.findyouthinfo.gov.

Handbook Provides Guidance on Non-Visible Disabilities in the Workplace

Ernest & Young has published "Getting Support, Supporting Others: A Handbook for Working with Non-Visible Disabilities" as a resource for individuals with disabilities, their co-workers and supervisors, and HR professionals to help all stakeholders understand issues of disclosure and how to handle interpersonal challenges that may arise when an employee has a non-visible disability. The handbook is available at: http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Non-visible_disabilities_handbook/$FILE/Ext_DiverInclusive_NonVisDisHndk_KK0763.pdf

DOL ETA Approves National Guidelines for Direct Service Professional Apprenticeship

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has approved national guidelines for apprenticeship standards for the occupation of direct support professional. These standards will enable employers to use ETA's Registered Apprenticeship program to train workers for careers in the long-term care sector of the health care industry. The purpose of the direct support professional is to assist people who need support to lead self-directed lives, and to participate fully in the social and civic life of our communities and nation. The purpose of this Apprenticeship Program is to provide career paths for individuals coming into the Direct Support Professional occupation and to ensure Apprentices are properly trained to support individuals with various disabilities or other human service needs. Learn more about ETA’s national guidelines at: http://www.doleta.gov/oa/bul10/Bulletin_2010_31_NADSP_ANCOR.pdf.

Letter from U. S. Department of Education Addresses Bullying & Students' Civil Rights

The U. S. Department of Education (ED) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali advised schools, colleges and universities in a recent letter that bullying may violate students' civil rights. The “Dear Colleague” letter outlines the legal obligations that school staff has to protect students from peer harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex or disability. The letter provided details on how Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ADA, and other federal laws prohibit discrimination. Read the letter at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.html.

DOJ Announces Public Hearings on ADA-Related Notices of Proposed Rulemaking

The U.S. Department of Justice announced three public hearings for interested parties to express their views on four proposed Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to amend regulationsissuedunder the American Disabilities Act, focused primarily on nondiscriminiation. The hearings will be held:

  • Chicago, IL - November 18, 2010
  • Washington, DC - December 16, 2010
  • San Francisco, CA, - January 2011 (Date to be Announced at www.ada.gov).

For more information, visit http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/November/10-crt-1244.html.

New NCWD content. Personal Assistant Services Toolkit Supporting Documents Now Available Online

NCWD/Youth has posted four documents related to the popular Making the Move to Managing Yout Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth with Disabilties  Transitioning to Adulthood, written by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and NCWD/Youth. The supporting documents provide supplementary information and include:

  • "PAS Toolkit Factsheet"
  • "Identifying What You're Looking for in a Personal Assistant"
  • "Independent Living Checklist"
  • "Thinking Outside the Box: Service Dogs"

Access the PAS Toolkit and four related documents at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/pas-toolkit.

U.S. Department of Education Launches Website for Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services announced the launch of the official website for the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities.  The Commission, established by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, is comprised of government leaders, representatives from the publishing industry, individuals with print disabilities, representatives from two- and four-year higher education institutions, and leaders in accessible technology. The Commission will study the current state of accessible materials and make recommendations for improving access to and the distribution of these materials.

Visit the website at http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/aim.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Labor Review Covers Disability Issues

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Monthly Labor Review for October 2010 includes two articles on disability issues, entitled “The impact of the 2007 – 09 recession on workers with disabilities” and “Disability and occupational projections.”

Access the BLS Monthly Labor Review for October 2010 at http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2010/10/mlr201010.pdf.

October 2010

The Monadnock Center for Successful Transitions Releases Guide to Job Shadowing Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities

The Monadnock Center for Successful Transitions (MCST) released How to: Build Partnerships for Career Exploration - Using Job Shadowing to Explore the World of Work. The guide is written for high schools who want to collaborate with a postsecondary institution or other organization to plan and carry out a job shadow day. The guide describes the preparation tasks that take place at the high school and those that take place at partner sites, then provides details for the job shadow day itself and follow-up activities. The guide includes a suggested task timeline in the back that may be helpful as a planning tool.

Download the guide at http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnx0cmFuc2l0aW9ucmVzb3VyY2VzYXRrc2N8Z3g6NWVjOWVlNDk1YWI2NWIwNQ.

President Obama Establishes Task Force on Skills for America’s Future

In October 2010, President Obama established a task force to develop skills for America’s future by identifying, developing, and increasing the scale of promising approaches to improving the skills of our nation’s workers. By coordinating the work of relevant agencies with that of nonprofits, labor unions, and private sector organizations, and by leveraging the assets of these entities, the President hopes this effort will build better partnerships between businesses, community colleges, and other training providers to train Americans for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Read the Presidential Memorandum at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-25579.pdf.

Youth-Led, Youth-Focused Website Launches to Support Teens and Young Adult with Mental Health Challenges

Voices4Hope is a website created by a group of young adults with mental health challenges that work in the Transitions Research & Training Center (RTC). The goal of this site is to connect young adults with mental health challenges across the country so they can talk to each other about things that are important to living happy and independent lives.

NCWD/Youth Publishes New Innovative Strategies Profiles

NCWD/Youth published six new profiles of youth organizations and programs implementing innovative strategies to serve all youth, including youth with disabilities. NCWD/Youth’s Innovative Strategies work aims to improve services to youth with disabilities throughout the workforce system by making available information on quality workforce development programs and practices.

Read the new Innovative Strategies Profiles:

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

Congress designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This effort to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment actually began in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." This year’s NDEAM theme from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Policy is “Talent Has No Boundaries: Workforce Diversity Includes People with Disabilities.”

USDOL Seeks Applications for YouthBuild Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor's (USDOL's) Employment and Training Administration announced the availability of funds and solicitation of grant applications for YouthBuild grants for up to about $130 million in total. The final amount will depend upon the amount of funds Congress appropriates to the program for Fiscal Year 2011. USDOL will award the grants based on a competitive process. Grant funds will be used to provide disadvantaged youth with the education and employment skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency in high-demand occupations and postsecondary education and training opportunities; opportunities for meaningful work and service to their communities; and opportunities to develop employment and leadership skills and a commitment to community development among youth in low-income communities. Application deadline: December 3, 2010.

September 2010

Administration on Developmental Disabilities to Convene Regional Summits to Garner Public Input

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) will convene five regional "Envisioning the Future" Summits between October and December 2010. The goal of these Summits is to garner public input and inform ADD's strategic planning and vision for the future. The summits will focus on issues related to childhood (0-21), adulthood (21-60), aging (60+), and supports from families, caregivers, professionals, and other allies.

ADD will hold Envisioning the Future Summits on

  • October 18 in Philadelphia, PA (Northeastern Region);
  • November 8 in Orlando, FL (Southeastern Region);
  • November 15 in Dallas, TX (Southwestern Region);
  • December 6 in Denver, CO (Western Region); and
  • December 2 in Detroit, MI (Central Region).

ADD will soon finalize details about Summit sites, times, and agenda items. For more information, contact Kate Fialkowski, Kennedy Public Policy Fellow and Summit Coordinator, atKathryn.Fialkowski@acf.hhs.gov or 202-690-6590, and check soon the Envisioning the Future Summits website at www.envision2010.net.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Posts New Innovative Strategies Profile: North Central Mental Health Services - Transtional Community Treatment Team

As part of its ongoing work to identify and share successful program strategies that benefit all youth, including youth with disabilities, NCWD/Youth recently posted a new organizational profile to the Innovative Strategies section of this website. This new profile highlights practices and strategies form the Columbus, Ohio-based North Central Mental Health Services - Transitional Community Treatment Team.

Read the profile at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ncmh-tctt.

New NCWD content. ODEP Announces $1 Million Funding for NCWD/Youth's 10th Year

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announced that it will fund NCWD/Youth at the level of $1 Million for another year. This year marks the 10th year ofODEP's support for NCWD/Youth.

"Focusing on transition-age youth is an important part of addressing the under-representation of people with disabilities in the labor force," said Kathleen Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy. "Many youth with disabilities still don't have access to age-appropriate experiences, especially when it comes to work. We are working to change this at ODEP."

Read the press release at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/ODEP20101165.htm.

August 2010

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases Statistics on Persons with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics (BLS) released information on 2009 labor force characteristics for persons with disabilities. Among other highlights, BLS found higher unemployment among persons with a disability than among persons without a disability and that nearly one-third of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared to about one-fifth of workers without a disability.

Read the BLS press release and find more information at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Individual Learning Plans

NCWD/Youth Released an InfoBrief entitled "Understanding the Role of Individual Learning Plans in Transition Planning for Youth." This InfoBrief explains how schools and families can supplement the required Individualized Education Program (IEP) by using an optional Individual Learning Plan (ILP) as a tool to help youth successfully transition from high school to employment and postsecondary education.

Access the InfoBrief at www.ncwd-youth.info/ilp-infobrief.

July 2010

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Guide on Supporting Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities

NCWD/Youth released Charting the Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities. This Guide is intended to help practitioners, administrators, and policymakers in secondary and postsecondary education programs, transition programs, One-Stop Career Centers, youth employment programs, and community rehabilitation programs to improve services and outcomes for youth, ages 14 to 25, with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities. This Guide includes numerous quick reference charts, tables, and tools for counselors, career advisors, and other professionals who work directly with youth. In-depth information is provided on a variety of topics, including the types and impact of learning disabilities, needed supports, and research-based interventions. This Guide is intended to increase awareness of the fact that the workforce development system serves many youth who have learning disabilities that may never have been identified and many others who may know they have a learning disability but choose not to disclose. Although focusing primarily on youth with learning disabilities, many of the strategies and approaches advocated in this Guide, which are premised on universal design, may be of practical use for other youth.

Access the Guide and learn more at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ld-guide.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Youth Development and Leadership Youth Call-to-Action

NCWD/Youth released "Blazing the Trail: A New Direction for Youth Development and Leadership: A Youth Call-to-Action." Based on findings from the NCWD/Youth-organized Blazing the Trail summit in August 2007, the eight-page, youth-friendly Youth Call-to-Action" outlines ten actions that youth can take to enhance their development and become leaders in their community and the nation, including learning about their rights and responsibilities, becoming a self-advocate, learning about disability history, researching scholarships, participating in work experiences, training youth workers, and more.

Access the Youth Call-to-Action at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/blazing-the-trail-youth-call-to-action.

NTAR Webinar Features State Leadership Organizations on Transition

On July 22, the National Technical Assistance and Research Center to Promote Leadership for Increasing the Employment and Economic Independence of Adults with Disabilities (NTAR) convened a webinar entitled "Transitions: A Final Learning Exchange Between the State Leaders Innovation Institute and the State Leaders Peer Network. Over the past several years, the states participating in the NTAR Leadership Center's State Leaders Innovation Institute (SLII) - Connecticut, Maryland, and Minnesota - have formed new state-level partnerships, expanded disability employment efforts, and implemented innovative strategies and approaches to training, employment, and economic security for people with disabilities. This webinar will provide an opportunity for states participating in the SLII to share with their colleagues in the State Peer Leaders Network highlights from their final year of activities, progress on goals and outcomes, implications for the field as well as key lessons for other states to consider, and their strategies for sustaining partnerships and initiatives.

Access the archived webinar at http://cc.readytalk.com/play?id=bip5ob.

USDOL Seeks Public Input to Strengthen Disability Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is seeking input from the public on ways to strengthen its regulations requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. In an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be published in the Federal Register July 23, the agency invites the public to help revise the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

"Equal access to employment is a fundamental right of every American," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "It's time to update this regulation to ensure that everyone has access to good jobs, including individuals with disabilities."

The deadline for comments is September 21, 2010.

Read the full press release at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/ofccp20101015.htm.

New NCWD content.IEL Participates in Celebration of Landmark Disability Rights Legislation - Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the enactment of federal disability civil rights legislation known as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which bars discrimination based on disability in employment, public and private sector services, transportation, and recreation. The ADA also codified disability public policy to promote inclusion, integration, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for all youth and adults with disabilities. Over the past two decades, federal laws, programs, and services have been updated and aligned with the ADA.

To mark the historic nature of the ADA, organizations and government agencies are hosting a multitude of celebrations in Washington, DC and across the country. The Institute for Educational Leadership’s (IEL) Center for Workforce Development (CWD) is helping mark this anniversary by cosponsoring and participating in a number of these celebrations.

Learn more about IEL and ADA 20th Anniversary Celebrations at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ada-20th-anniversary.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth and ODEP Release Cyber Disclosure Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

NCWD/Youth and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy released Cyber Disclosure for Youth with Disabilities, a supplement to The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities, which helps youth learn about disability disclosure and what it means for them. Search sites like Google, social networking sites like Facebook, and micro-blogging sites like Twitter have added a new element to disclosure. Now it is possible to disclose disability status on the internet without even being aware of it. This can be as simple as a picture of a person using a wheelchair, a comment on a friend’s blog about disability, or a profile posted on a disability organization’s website. The goal of this document is to provide youth suggestions on how to make informed decisions about their own disability disclosure and to manage their disclosures online.

Access the workbook at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/cyber-disclosure.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Releases Workbook to Aid Adults Prepare Youth for Disability Disclosure

NCWD/Youth released The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Families, Educators, Youth Service Professionals, and Adult Allies Who Care About Youth with Disabilities. Adults in the lives of young people with both visible disabilities and those with disabilities that are not apparent to others can benefit from using this workbook. This workbook helps adults make informed decisions about teaching a young man or woman about his or her rights and responsibilities in disclosing his or her disability, a decision that will affect the young person’s educational, employment, and social life. This workbook will help adults learn how to support a young person with a disability as he or she takes steps in becoming more independent and self-sufficient. In fact, making the personal decision to disclose a disability can make the young person more confident in himself or herself and the choices he or she makes.

Learn more about the workbook at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/411-on-disability-disclosure-for-adults.

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth Releases Initial Summary of ILP Study

This document is a summary of initial findings of a study funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The study, launched in the 2008-09 school year and targeted for completion in 2012-13, is the first longitudinal research and demonstration project designed to understand the effectiveness of Individualized Learning Plans.

Read the summary at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/ilp-summary.

June 2010

ODEP Releases Personal Assistant Services Toolkit for Youth with Disabilities

With assistance from NCWD/Youth, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Employment Policy released Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS) for Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood. This new guide assists youth in strengthening some of the most fundamental skills essential for successfully managing their own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): effective communication, time-management, working with others, and establishing professional relationships.  Such skills are key to not only enhancing independence, but also thriving in the workplace and growing professionally. Whether moving from school or a home setting to work, college, or living on their own, transition-age youth and their families or friends would benefit from the information and guidance offered by the toolkit.  Sample worksheets, questions, and charts provide readers clear, helpful examples of things to consider along the path to greater independence.  And stories from real youth and their families give practical insight and guidance for youth with disabilities who want to manage their own PAS. 

Access the PAS Toolkit at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/pas-toolkit.

U.S. Department of Education Posts Questions and Answers Related to IDEA and IEPs

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a revised questions and answers document to provide states, state and local educational agencies, parents, and other stakeholders with information regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requirements relating to individualized education programs (IEPs), evaluations, and reevaluations. The document includes information related to transition.

Read the Q&A at http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/iep-qa-2010.pdf.

SAMHSA Study Provides State-by-State Trend Data on Behavioral Health Problems

A new report providing state-by-state analyses of substance abuse and mental illness patterns reveals that despite wide variations among the states in the types and levels of behavioral health problems they experience. The report provides state public health authorities and service providers with useful information on a wide range of substance use and mental illness issues affecting their states. The report is part of SAMHSA’s strategic initiative on data, outcomes, and quality – an effort to inform policy makers and service providers on the nature and scope of behavioral health issues.

Read the report at http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k8state/toc.cfm.

May 2010

Transition Resource Directory Now Available

Created in February 2010, "Strengthening Transition Partnerships: Building Federal Technical Assistance Center Capacity -- A Transition Resource Directory" includes descriptions submitted by federally supported projects and centers with work that focuses on youth transition. The references in this directory are not intended to be exhaustive of the investments in transition made by Federal, state, or local entities.

Access the Transition Resource Directory at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/sites/default/files/Transition_Resource_Directory_02-26-10.doc.

USDOL Launches Online Tool for Employers Seeking to Understand Disability Nondiscrimination Law

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new tool to help employers ensure their employment policies and practices do not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. The online Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor helps employers quickly and simply determine which federal disability nondiscrimination laws apply to their business or organization and their responsibilities under them.

Use the online tool at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/odep.htm.

NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief: "Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System: Practical Considerations"

This InfoBrief describes the characteristics of and issues faced by youth involved with the juvenile justice system, including those with disabilities. It provides a framework for youth service professionals to help these youth avoid or transition out of the juvenile justice system, promotes cross-systems collaboration, and highlights promising practices currently being implemented around the country. This InfoBrief is based on Making the Right Turn: A Guide about Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, available at:http://www.ncwd-youth.info/juvenile-justice-guide.

Access the InfoBrief at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/node/554.April 2010

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases White Paper: "Comprehensive Career Planning and Its Role in the Competitive Global Economy"

This white paper chronicles the gaps and inconsistencies in implementation of career guidance services in and out of schools, as well as the lack of measures for career development and guidance services in America. The paper posits that these challenges stem from the lack of a governmental policy framework that promotes the systematic value of career guidance services as a strategy for meeting economic and security needs of the nation. The paper offers a number of recommendations, including: 1) improving the quality of the K-12 school career development and guidance system; 2) increasing the capacity of postsecondary and workforce development programs serving out-of-school youth and at-risk populations; 3) convening policy makers and researchers to develop consensus on performance measures definitions; and 4) improving professional development opportunities for staff involved in career development and career guidance services.

Access the white paper at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/node/552.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Workforce Investment Act-Related White Paper: "Performance Data and Youth with Disabilities"

NCWD/Youth prepared an analysis of 2007 performance data reported by a select set of Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) under the Workforce Investment Act  (WIA) to understand how youth with disabilities are being served. U.S. Department of Labor data indicate that of all youth served under WIA in 2007, nearly 14 percent were youth with disabilities.  As an initial  analysis of the data, authors of this paper are unable to draw firm conclusions about the actual effect serving youth with disabilities has on performance outcomes of local workforce investment boards that oversee WIA Youth Activities monies. However, the limited data suggests that youth with disabilities have similar performance outcomes as youth without disabilities.  Additionally, the data suggests that WIBs that serve large proportions of youth with disabilities tend to have lower performance outcomes than WIBs that serve proportionally fewer youth with disabilities. To better understand the findings of this paper, NCWD-Youth is currently conducting a limited case-study analysis of the selected WIBs and reviewing similar 2008 data.

Read the white paper at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/node/551.

Keeping the Promise to All America's Children Secretary Arne Duncan's Remarks to the Council for Exceptional Children

On April 21, 2010 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered remarks entitled "Keeping the Promis to All American's Children" for the Council for Exceptional Children. Read the full speech online at http://www2.ed.gov/news/speeches/2010/04/04212010.html.

ODEP to Host a Live Web Chat about Strategic Direction and Goals

ODEP will host a live, text-only web chat on April 8, 2010 beginning at 2:45 PM (EDT) about the proposed Fiscal Year 2010 to 2016 strategic direction and goals. This web chat will provide an open forum for key stakeholders and the public to provide ODEP with their questions, comments and ideas and be an integral part of the ODEP strategic planning process.

To participate in the ODEP strategic planning web chat, please follow these steps:

Questions will be answered online only. As these are text-only web chats, the only method of active participation is through online access, and video feeds will not be available. If you cannot access the automated session window properly, please follow the instructions and the link above the window to use an alternate page. 

The following presentations outline how ODEP supports the Secretary of Labor’s Vision and Goals. These presentations also highlight the strategies and measures that ODEP is considering for inclusion within the Department’s Strategic Plan 2010-2016:

March 2010

New NCWD content. NCWD/Youth to Offer Two FREE Pre-Conference Sessions at NAWDP’s 2010 Annual Conference

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), in partnership with the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP), will offer two pre-conference training sessions during NAWDP’s 2010 annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico from May 1 – 5, 2010. The pre-conference sessions are:

  • Assessment & Individualized Planning: Charting a Course with Youth – purposes, types, and selection of assessment tools, person-centered planning, and engaging youth in goal-setting
  • Employer Relations: Beyond the Handshake – Approaching potential partners, identifying employer needs, creating successful matches, and program role in advocating for youth and supporting employers

These training modules are part of NCWD/Youth’s Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities initiative aimed at providing youth service professionals with advanced training opportunities to improve their work with all youth. These interactive sessions will be limited to 20 participants and are open to non-conference attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please contact Patricia Gill (gillp@iel.org).

Register at http://www.nawdp.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Did_You_Know1&template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=2839.

U.S. DOL Announces Plans to Discontinue "Career Voyager" Website

In Training and Employment Notice No. (TEN) 32-09, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announced that ETA has recently discontinued or will shortly discontinue its MilSpouse and Career Voyages Web sites. To ensure a smooth transition, minimize user inconvenience, and provide optimal service, ETA has or will 1) transfer some of the content from the discontinued sites to the Career One Stop Web site; 2) create landing pages to redirect visitors to the Web sites from which the MilSpouse and Career Voyages content originated; and 3) inform Web sites that link to Career Voyages of the site terminations and plans for the transition.

Read TEN No. 32-09 at http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/TEN/ten2009/ten32-09acc.pdf.

NAMI Launches Social Networking Site for Young Adults

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched StrengthofUs.org, a new online community where young adults living with mental health concerns can provide mutual support in navigating unique challenges and opportunities during the critical transition years from ages 18 to 25. Developed by young adults, StrengthofUs.org is a user-driven social networking community where members can connect with peers, share personal stories, creativity and helpful resources by writing and responding to blog entries, engaging in discussion groups and sharing videos, photos and other news.

Visit the website at http://www.strengthofus.org.

U.S. DOL Releases Youth Summer Jobs Report

In late February, the U.S. Department of Labor released Reinvesting in America’s Youth: Lessons from the 2009 Recovery Act Summer Employment Initiative.  This report found that the 2009 Recovery Act Summer Youth Employment Initiative was largely successful in connecting young workers with employment experiences. Overall, 317,000 young people took part in the initiative. The report analyzes monthly performance data submitted to the Employment and Training Administration by states and looks closely at the experiences of 20 select local areas.

Read the report at http://wdr.doleta.gov/research/keyword.cfm?fuseaction=dsp_resultDetails&pub_id=2436&mp=y.

ODEP-Funded Website Features Resources on Disability Employment

The Campaign for Disability Employment is a collaborative effort between several disability and business organizations that seek to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace, as well as the dividend to be realized by fully including people with disabilities at work.

The web site offers a range of education and outreach tools, all designed to engage employers, people with disabilities, family and educators, and the general public. The site features on-line forums, grassroots tools, links to trusted resources that provide disability employment-related information, and more.

The Campaign is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP); receives technical assistance from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN); and is supported by the Disability Policy Research Center at West Virginia University.

Access the website at http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org.

Nominations of Young Heroes Invited for Gloria Barron Prize

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes seeks nominations for its 2010 awards. Eligible applicants: The Barron Prize honors young people between the ages of 8 and 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Award ceiling: Each year, ten national winners each receive $2,500 to support their service work or higher education. Application deadline: April 30, 2010.

Learn more and apply online at http://www.barronprize.org.

Entertainment Software Association Foundation Offers Grants for Youth Programs

The Entertainment Software Association Foundation is dedicated to supporting positive programs and opportunities that make a difference in the lives of America's youth. The foundation seeks to harness the collective power of the interactive entertainment industry to create positive social impact in its communities. The foundation supports geographically diverse projects and programs that benefit American boys and girls of all races and religions. Award ceiling: $50,000 each. Application deadline: April 15, 2010.

Access the application online at http://www.theesa.com/foundation/application.asp.

6th World Conference on Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental Health and Behavioral Disorders to Convene in D.C. in November 2010

The Sixth World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental Health and Behavioral Disorders will convene at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. from November 17 – 19, 2010. This year’s theme is “Addressing Imbalances: Promoting Equity in Mental Health.” This conference will address the mental health of millions of people, in both rich and poor countries, and its importance for overall well-being. It offers a unique opportunity for researchers, public health practitioners, activists, educators, law enforcement personnel and others to come together to share findings, ideas and innovations.

The conference is organized by Clifford Beers Foundation, the World Federation for Mental Health, The Carter Center, and Education Development Center, Inc. Co-sponsors are the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization. Funding and support are provided by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Learn more at http://wmhconf2010.hhd.org.

SSA Hosts Free Work Incentive Seminar Events in Communities Across Country

The Social Security Administration is hosting a series of free community events around the country for beneficiaries with disabilities and their families. These Work Incentive Seminar Events are held by local organizations and can help people receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) learn more about the Ticket to Work Program, connect with local training and employment resources, and explore opportunities to increase income.

Learn more at http://www.cessi.net/wise.

Finance Project Issues Brief on Financing Strategies for Youth-Serving Organizations in a Difficult Economy

The Finance Project released “Cutting Cost, Keeping Quality: Financing Strategies for Youth-Serving Organizations in a Difficult Economy.” This brief highlights financing strategies that successful youth-serving organizations are using to maintain quality services despite difficult economic times. Drawing on interviews with leaders of 17 successful youth programs, the brief illustrates how organizations have aggressively managed costs, creatively generated new revenues, and created partnerships to mitigate the effects of funding cuts.  In-depth examples help leaders understand how to implement and adapt these strategies to their unique context.

Read the brief online at http://www.financeproject.org/publications/CuttingCostKeepingQuality.pdf.

February 2010

FEMA Seeks Comments on Draft National Disaster Recovery Framework

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is currently seeking comments on its draft National Disaster Recovery Framework. NCWD/Youth encourages people with disabilities, their families, and others to review the draft framework and provide input on how it will impact all American's lives, including American's with disabilities. Comments are due by February 26, 2010.

Coalition for Community Schools to Convene 2010 National Forum in Philadelphia from April 7 - 9

The Institute for Educational Leadership will convene the 2010 National Forum in Philadelphia, PA from April 7 - 9. This year's theme, "Building Innovative Partnerships for Student Success: The Key to America's Future," focuses on partnerships at the heart of the community schools approach, bringing schools, families, community residents, higher education and an array of other community partners together around a common result —student success.

Register at http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary.aspx?e=9adf5e83-08c2-44e9-8117-d55a47e740d0.

Federal Government Issues Rules Requiring Parity in Treatment of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Conditions

The U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury today jointly issued new rules providing parity for consumers enrolled in group health plans who need treatment for mental health or substance use conditions. The new rules prohibit group health insurance plans — typically offered by employers — from restricting access to care by limiting benefits and requiring higher patient costs than those that apply to general medical or surgical benefits. The rules implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

Learn more at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ebsa/EBSA20100151.htm.

January 2010

ODEP Announces Regional Listening Sessions for Early 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is hosting a series of listening sessions in early 2010 intended to provide opportunities for the public to provide input to senior federal officials on more effective ways to employ women, veterans, and minorities with disabilities, as well as on what currently works to increase employment for all people with disabilities. ODEP seeks input particularly from individuals and consumers (including youth and adults with disabilities, parents, and caregivers), employers (both public and private), and service providers and advocacy organizations (including independent living centers, One-Stops, and state rehabilitation programs). In addition to taking comments at the in-person regional sessions listed below, ODEP also accepts comments online.

Learn more about the listening sessions at http://www.disabilitylisteningtour.com.

December 2009

Social Security Administration Launches "Choose Work" Website for Ticket to Work Program

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and CESSI, the Program Manager for Recruitment and Outreach for the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program, launched the new Choose Work web site (www.choosework.net) for people with disabilities receiving Social Security disability benefits.

Visit the Chose Work website at www.choosework.net.

Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathy Martinez Delivers Remarks at Green Jobs Roundtable

Assistant U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Kathy Martinez, who heads the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), delivered remarks at an ODEP-sponsored meeting entitled "Strategies for Including People With Disabilities in the Green Jobs Talent Pipeline: A Roundtable Discussion."

Read Assistant Secretary Martinez's remarks at http://www.dol.gov/odep/media/speeches/20091216_GREEN.htm.

California Community College Chancellor's Office Releases Publication on Financial Aid for Youth Who Are Unaccompanied or from Foster Care

The Foster Youth Success Initiative at the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office released a publication entitled "Providing Effective Financial Aid Assistance to Students from Foster Care and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth: A Key to Higher Education Access and Success."

Read this guide at http://www.casey.org/Resources/Publications/pdf/ProvidingEffectiveFinancialAid.pdf.

October 2009

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Testifies at the U.S. Department of Labor on WIA Reauthorization

Joan Wills from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) testified before the Assistant Secretaries of the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor’s Listening Session on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).  WIA has been up for reauthorization for several years and the listening session was designed to collect input from expert in the disability employment field.  Wills laid out 5 broad strategy areas that need to be taken into account when improving the WIA.

Those areas are:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Strengthen and Align the Infrastructure
  3. Research and Evaluation
  4. Accountability and Performance
  5. Promote Professional Development

Read the testimony in PDF or Word
Read the News Release

NYEC Releases ARRA Summer Program Implementation Survey Summary

The National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) conducted an online survey of members’ experiences implementing Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth activities funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) this summer.  Their report includes a summary of member responses to their survey and highlights strategies, challenges, innovations, and other information regarding NYEC member experiences with ARRA program implementation.

Read NYEC Recovery Act Summer Program Implementation Report.

ETA Launches Disability and Employment Community of Practice

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration launched its Disability and Employment Community of Practice as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  This site has lots of resources around Disability Program Navigators, Access & Accommodations, Promising Practices, Employer Resources, and Front Line Staff Training.

U.S. Labor Department awards cooperative agreement to establish national technical assistance center for employers on people with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has awarded a cooperative agreement to Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute, School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Ithaca, N.Y., to establish a national technical assistance center for employers on employment of people with disabilities. The purpose of the center will be to conduct innovative research, assist ODEP in developing demand-side policy, and share best practices with employers on the recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities.

Read the news release.

September 2009

SAMHSA Awards $16.8 Million in State and Community Partnership Grants for Healthy Transitions Initiative for Youth with Serious Mental Health Challenges

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced today that it is awarding grants totaling almost $16.8 million over five years to states for integrated home- and community-based services and supports for youth and young adults with serious mental health challenges and their families.  The Healthy Transitions Initiative will develop or build upon existing systems to provide these youth and their families with educational, employment, mental health and other services designed to enhance their well being and ensure their successful transition to adulthood and independence.

The grantees include:

Utah Department of Human Services -- $480,000 per year for implementation of its PASSAGE program to improved the mental health and well-being of youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions as they transition into adulthood.

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene -- $480,000 per year to design and implement a system of care network of services meeting the needs of young adults as they grow into full adulthood.

Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse -- $480,000 per year to provide services and supports designed to help those aged 16 to 25 with serious mental conditions and their families.  These services include efforts to help these young people complete their education, find and keep a job, and achieve independent living in the community.

Missouri Department of Mental Health -- $479,506 per year for developing a comprehensive approach to provided services and supports to young people with severe and persistent mental illness in order to help them succeed in living productive, independent lives.

State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services -- $480,000 per year for its Project O-YEAH, which offers three tiers of strength-based, recovery-oriented, age-appropriate, culturally and neighborhood-anchored support for older youth and young adults who have severe emotional and behavioral disorders.

Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities -- $480,000 per year to use a system of care approach to support youth and young adults as they transition into adulthood in areas such as education, employment, housing and accessing behavioral health services.

Maine Department of Health & Human Services -- $479,959 per year for its Moving Forward initiative to address the special educational, housing, employment, and health needs of youth and young adults with serious emotional disturbance or mental health issues.

For additional information about SAMHSA grants go to http://www.samhsa.gov/grants/

Child Trends Releases A Developmental Perspective on Workplace Readiness: Preparing High School Students for Success

This research brief developed by Laura Lippmann and Julie Keith, highlights specific competencies that research has identified as necessary for a person to become a valued and skilled employee in the areas of social, cognitive, and psychological development.  It also identifies strategies that high schools can use to help young adults develop these competencies.  View the brief.

ODEP Announces Cooperative Agreements on Apprenticeship Training

The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) announced this week the awarding of two cooperative agreements aimed at improving registered apprenticeship training for youth and young adults with disabilities. The agreements were awarded to The Workplace, Inc. in Bridgeport, Conn. and SkillSource Group, Inc. in Vienna, VA. The groups will be tasked with leading “consortia to develop innovative models of providing inclusive registered apprenticeship training to youth and young adults with disabilities.”

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Helping Youth with Mental Health Needs Avoid Transition Cliffs: Lessons from Pioneering Transition Programs

This InfoBrief discusses challenges faced by youth and young adults with mental health needs during their transition to adulthood and describes strategies used by youth service professionals to avoid age-related transition cliffs and prevent service interruptions during this critical stage of development. This InfoBrief is based on a rich body of research about transition-age youth with mental health needs published in four separate reports in the last two years, including two produced by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

Review the reports referenced in this InfoBrief.

IEL Receives $3.5 Million for National Mentoring Program

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) announces its selection to receive approximately $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for a 3-year national mentoring program to serve youth with disabilities at-risk of truancy or court-involvement. Through this infusion of resources, research-based strategies, and cross-system collaboration, the RAMP program will match trained mentors to youth with disabilities to reduce court involvement and/or recidivism; increase career preparation and development work-readiness skills for the youth in the program.

Read the news release.

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Adds New Programs to Innovative Strategies

NCWD/Youth's Innovative Strategies features workforce development programs and practices that serve youth with disabilities, either as a target population or as part of other youth populations.  Recently, NCWD/Youth added 5 additional programs.  They are:

Youth Today names IEL's Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) one of The Best Fellowships in Youth Work

Youth Today spotlights IEL's Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), in their article: The Best Fellowships in Youth Work.  EPFP led the list of 10 leadership development opportunities identified across the country. This program helps broaden your professional, peer assistance network, and increases your knowledge base about “what works, where” to support the growth and development of all children and youth. Learn more now!

August 2009

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Spanish Versions of Four Publications

NCWD/Youth is proud to provide Spanish versions our of Guideposts for Success, Guideposts for Employer Success, Disability Inquiries in the Workforce Development System, and The Workforce Development System & the Professional Development of Youth Service Practitioners: Why Professional Development? NCWD/Youth looks forward to providing more translated versions of our publications in the future..

Disability.gov Launches New Website

The U.S. Department of Labor launched Disability.gov, a redesigned federal Web site that connects the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities to thousands of trusted resources on disability-related issues, programs and services. Formerly known as DisabilityInfo.gov, the site has been completely redesigned and updated with new social media tools, such as a blog and a Twitter feed, to encourage feedback and interaction among visitors. Disability.gov is not just for Americans with disabilities, but also for parents of children with disabilities, employers, workforce and human resource professionals, veterans, educators, caregivers and many others.

Florida High School/High Tech (HS/HT) Post High Marks in 2008-2009 Outcomes

The Florida HS/HT Program served 1,469 students with disabilities through 107 schools and alternative education settings in 35 Florida counties. Students were provided a total of 263,824 transition services based on five nationally recognized, evidence-based Guideposts for Success: School-Based Preparatory Experiences, Career Preparation & Work-Based Learning, Connecting Activities, Youth Leadership & Development and Family Involvement & Supports. Read more about the Florida HS/HT 2008-2009 outcomes.

University of California, Davis Extension Releases Disabilities in the Workplace Case Series

Teaching cases, as they are prepared at business schools across the country, are one of the primary tools of management education. They are used globally in university settings, professional development and executive education training, and provide students and readers with a great wealth of insider knowledge about the "norms" of business practices. The University’s intention with this series is to demonstrate "best practices" in the employment of people with disabilities, a population which has historically had low employment rates. NCWD/Youth staff was proud to be able to provide UC Davis guidance and technical assistance in their creation of these cases.

June 2009

Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Releases Report on Supporting Youth in Transition to Adulthood
Supporting Youth in Transition to Adulthood: Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

This report discuses the success and challenges that juvenile justice and child welfare agencies face in preparing the youth they serve for a successful adulthood. The paper describes assessment, case management, and other practices implemented in either system that have shown promise in improving the outcomes for the transition-age population. It also highlights organizational and legislative changes tht have positioned these agencies to provide effective, individualized, and developmentally appropriate services to older youth and their families.

For additional information on improving the transition outcomes for youth with disabilities check out NCWD/Youth’s publication Making the Right Turn: A Guide About Improving the Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System.

May 2009

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Successful Transition Models for Youth with Mental Health Needs: A Guide for Workforce Professionals

This InfoBrief describes the systems’ service barriers faced by youth with mental health needs as they reach adulthood, while highlighting new models and strategies designed to break down those barriers and help them to transition successfully into the workplace.

Read Successful Transition Models for Youth with Mental Health Needs

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities: What Families and Advocates Need to Know

This InfoBrief explores the importance of making informed decisions about diploma options, understanding the consequences of graduating with different types of diplomas as well as the need for youth, families, and Individual Education Program (IEP) teams to consider these issues early.

Read Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities

April 2009

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth and Workforce Strategy Center release Career-Focused Services for Students with Disabilities at Community Colleges

Our nation’s changing economy requires workers to attain increasingly higher job skills. Leaders in education, workforce development, and economic development recognize the need to help workers meet this challenge and to help employers find qualified employees. This case study report examines the efforts of community colleges to function as intermediaries in meeting the local workforce development needs of employers and promoting career opportunities and job attainment for students, including those with disabilities.

Read Career-Focused Services for Students with Disabilities at Community Colleges

February 2009

US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy Releases Fact Sheet on Disability History and the Accomplishments of Young Disability Leaders

Disability history is an essential part of America’s heritage and has been largely ignored in school curricula. This is particularly paradoxical since anyone, regardless of age, race, or heritage, may become a part of the population of people with disabilities at any time. But the tide is beginning to turn—due mainly to the grassroots efforts of young disability leaders.

Read Disability History: An Important Part of America’s Heritage

First Official Disability Employment Statistics Released

The U.S. Department of Labor has released the first official data on the employment status of persons with disabilities. In January 2009, the percent of people with disabilities in the labor force was 20.0. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 13.2 percent.

Read New monthly data series on the employment status of people with a disability

Read Press Release

Read Commonly Used Terms in BLS Employment Statistics

January 2009

ODEP Gathers Leaders to Discuss Integrated Employment for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
“Employment First” Creating Opportunities to Move to Integrated Employment

In October 2008, ODEP brought together leaders from various employment sectors to discuss integrated employment for people with intellectual disabilities. Participants at the Roundtable spent two days developing a road map that, when implemented, would create opportunity for people with intellectual and other significant disabilities to have the choice to work in integrated community jobs at minimum wage or above. The foundation of the strategies that emerged from the discussion and subsequent conversations is commonly known as “Employment First,” under which employment is considered the first service provided to individuals with intellectual disabilities and the goal for all.

Read Executive Summary of the Roundtable.

National Disability Rights Network Releases Shocking Report on Seclusion & Restraint in U.S. Schools
School is Not Supposed to Hurt: Investigative Report on Abusive Restraint and Seclusion in Schools

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) has unveiled a disturbing national report on seclusion and restraint in U.S. schools. The report shows an unsettling use of seclusion and restraint tactics, which resulted in physical and emotional injuries as well as deaths, in schools affecting students from grades K-12.The report documents cases that range from students being locked in rooms or even boxes for hours to students who were encouraged to release their aggression by wrestling in “WWF Rooms.”

Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Releases Updated Business Case and Employer Survey

ODEP’s revised Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities, including returning disabled veterans, features video clips, research and anecdotal information from businesses and industry leaders on how hiring people with disabilities improves an organizations bottom line across six themes: Return on Investment, Human Capital, Innovation, Marketing, Diversity, and Social Responsibility.  The objective of the nationally representative survey is to inform the development and promotion of policy and practice by comparing employer perspectives across various industries and within companies of varying sizes. ODEP will use the data from this survey to formulate targeted strategies and policies for increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This survey emphasizes current attitudes and practices of employers in 12 industry sectors, including some high growth industries as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Survey Report - January 2009

Additionally, at the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth you can find the Guideposts for Employer Success which is organized with the explicit purpose of helping workforce development policy makers meet the needs of employers. There are two categories within the framework. The first focuses on what system designers (state and local) need to do. The second looks at what individual programs which include a wide array of education and training institutions such as community rehabilitation centers, secondary and post secondary institutions, apprenticeship programs, and One-Stop Centers need to do. 

December 2008

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth Releases Guide on the Needs of Youth involved, or at risk of being involved in the Juvenile Corrections System
Making the Right Turn: A Guide About Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System
Youth with emotional disturbances comprise over 47.4 percent of students with disabilities in secure care, while within public schools they account for only about eight percent of students with disabilities. Students with Learning Disabilities are also overrepresented in the juvenile justice system and account for 38.6 percent of students with disabilities in these settings. This Guide provides professionals with well-researched and documented facts, offers evidence-based research, highlights promising practices, and provides the Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, in addition to pointing out areas requiring further attention by policymakers and identifying promising practices.

This Guide adds to the overall work that can be found on NCWD/Youth’s website which includes the National Association of State Directors of Special Education’s publication Tools for Promoting Educational Success and Reducing Delinquency and the National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk toolkit Meeting the Educational Needs of Youth Exposed to the Juvenile Justice System.

National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) releases toolkit on meeting the needs of students with disabilities in juvenile justice settings
Tools for Promoting Educational Success and Reducing Delinquency
Following the NASDSE’s 67th annual conference and a National Disability Rights Network conference a Juvenile Justice Shared Initiative grew and developed this toolkit. The toolkit focuses on the needs of students with disabilities in JJ settings with topics including: pre-school, universal interventions, transition from school to post-school activities, promoting educational success of foster children, and much more.

The Skills Imperative: How Career and Technical Education Can Solve the U.S. Talent Shortage
Because of the growing need of increased skill levels requiring more math, science, communications, and problem-solving skills, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce has published a white paper on career and technical education (CTE). This report outlines the economic context of CTE, the opportunities for the business community to get engaged, case studies and examples where CTE is part of a skill-attainment solution, next steps and recommendations, and further resources for CTE information. A new education and training system with more integration of CTE and core academic courses will be necessary to adequately prepare students for the challenges of their postsecondary training programs.

November 2008

National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk (NDTAC) Releases Second Edition Transition Toolkit for Service Providers on Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
Meeting the Educational Needs of Youth Exposed to the Juvenile Justice System
This second edition of NDTAC’s Transition Toolkit brings together strategies, existing practices, and updated resources and documents on transition to enable administrators and service providers to deliver high-quality transition services for children and youth moving into, through, and out of education programs within the juvenile justice system. 

IEL Launches Longitudinal Study of Individualized Learning Plans as a Bridge to Graduation & Career Development
The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) announces the launch of a longitudinal research and demonstration project to understand the effectiveness of individualized learning plans as a high school reform strategy. Read the announcement as a PDF or Word document.

NGA: Tracking Progress of Common Formula for Calculating High School Graduation Rates
A recent report from the National Governor’s Association tracks the progress states are making toward adopting the common formula for calculating the high school graduation rate that they all committed to in 2005. The report finds that sixteen states currently use the common formula and 38 states will be using it by 2010.

Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date, 2008

Social Security Announces 2009 Cost of Living Adjustment
The Social Security Administration has announced a 5.8% Cost of Living Adjustment increase for 2009 for Social Security and Supplemental Security (SSI) beneficiaries. This adjustment is based off of the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2007 through the third quarter of 2008.

  • The average SSDI payment will increase from $1,006 to $1,064 a month;
  • The SSI Federal Benefit Rate will increase from $637 to $674 a month;
  • The Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold will increase from $940 to $980 a month for individuals who are not blind, and from $1,570 to $1,640 a month for individuals who are blind; and
  • The Trial Work Period threshold will increase from $670 to $700 a month.

For more information, and other important 2009 Social Security information, visit the Social Security Administration website.

September 2008

New NCWD content.NCWD/Youth is pleased to announce the release of a report from a national Youth Development and Leadership Summit:
Blazing the Trail: A New Direction for Youth Development and Youth Leadership.

The summit provided a unique experience for a national dialogue on actions that need to be taken to improve policy and practice in the youth development and leadership field, and to ensure that youth with disabilities (including those with mental health needs), are included in opportunities available to all youth. The report details the dialogue that took place among youth with and without disabilities, state and federal policy makers, and community, state, and federal organization leaders including the important priority action steps identified by the participants.

These five steps are:

  1. Helping youth achieve youth development and leadership outcomes
  2. Promoting youth guided/youth directed policy
  3. Inclusion of youth with disabilities
  4. Partnership development
  5. Professional development. 

The report also identifies the challenges that surfaced during discussion and the next steps to be taken by all stakeholders in the field of youth development and youth leadership.

GAO released a report titled:
Young Adults with Serious Mental Illness
The transition to adulthood can be difficult for young adults who live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. When these individuals are unsuccessful, the result can be economic hardship, social isolation, and in some cases suicide, all of which can pose substantial costs to society. Due to concerns about young adults with serious mental illness transitioning into adulthood, GAO was asked to provide information on (1) the number of these young adults and their demographic characteristics, (2) the challenges they face, (3) how selected states assist them, and (4) how the federal government supports states in serving these young adults and coordinates programs that can assist them. GAO reviewed published research; interviewed federal, state, and local officials, as well as mental health providers, experts, and advocacy groups; and conducted site visits in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Mississippi --four states that focus on this population.

This report adds to the overall work that NCWD/Youth has completed around youth with mental health needs which are available on our website: Tunnels and Cliffs: A Guide for Workforce Development Practitioners and Policymakers Serving Youth with Mental Health Needs; Guideposts for Success for Youth with Mental Health Needs; and Transitioning Youth with Mental Health Needs to Meaningful Employment and Independent Living; as well as Pioneering Transition Programs: The Establishment of Programs that Span the Ages Served by Child and Adult Mental Health which was produced by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Universal Design for Learning
Within the past month, two important resources on Universal Design for Learning have been released.  The Tool Kit on Universal Design for Learning is derived from a U.S. Department of Education initiative to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.  The ToolKitrings together current information on UDL, including the UDL framework, principles of UDL, and UDL teaching and assessment methods.  UDL Guidelines 1.0 is provided by CAST and assists curriculum developers in designing curriculum that meets the needs of all learners.  UDL doesn’t have to stop at the classroom door though.  These publications can also be utilized by workforce development professionals and community groups as tools for education and training programs.

August 2008

The Institute for Educational Leadership has released an evaluation on foster youth in transition in collaboration with Casey Family Programs.
Foster Youth Demonstration Project: Final Evaluation Report
According to a 2008 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 26,000 youth age out of the foster care system each year. Research shows that youth who leave foster care are more likely to drop out of high school, to be unemployed, and to be dependent on public assistance when compared to other youth.. The Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor funded a five-state demonstration project in the states with the highest concentration of youth in foster care (California, Illinois Michigan, New York, and Texas). Casey Family Programs funded the Institute for Educational Leadership, and a series of experts in the field to evaluate a series of demonstration projects around foster care transition. One of the most significant findings to emerge from the data is that youth who receive services for more quarters are much more likely to attain a positive outcome than youth who receive the same service for fewer quarters. Additionally, as the number of quarters participants received college preparation services increased, so did the number achieving a postsecondary outcome.

This evaluation adds to the overall work that NCWD/Youth has completed around youth in foster care which includes Negotiating the Curves Toward Employment: A Guide About Youth Involved in the Foster Care System.

America's Heroes at Work
America's Heroes at Work is a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) project that focuses on the employment challenges of returning service members living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).Designed for employers and the workforce development system, this Web site is your link to information and tools to help returning service members affected by TBI and/or PTSD succeed in the workplace - particularly service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Learn more about America's Hereos at Work.

June 2008

New NCWD content. Preparing All Youth for Academic and Career Readiness: Implications for High School Policy and Practice
This paper identifies the challenges in practice and policy for successful post-school outcomes and it offers recommendations on how states, local school districts and individual high schools can prepare all youth, including youth with disabilities, with the academic and career readiness skills. Based on two symposia and a year-long research effort, this paper identifies five broad policy and practice areas: (1) Instruction, Curriculum and Structure; (2) Assessment Practices; (3) Graduation Requirements; (4) Community and Family Connections; and (5) Data Quality Challenges. The paper suggests that by addressing these areas, a range of high school policy makers at the national, state, and local levels can improve their approaches for meeting the multiple and complex challenges of all their students.

May 2008

Pioneering Transition Programs; The Establishment of Programs that Span the Ages Served by Child and Adult Mental Health
The University of Massachusetts Medical School produced this report for the American Institutes for Research with the purpose of identifying and describing the establishment of pioneering transition programs for individuals with serious mental health conditions.  This report refers to programs that serve youth continuously across the transition age, without disruption due to age changes, and offers general guidelines suggested that other programs can learn from.  Also read NCWD/Youth’s Mental Health Case Study Report, Transitioning Youth with Mental Health Needs to Meaningful Employment and Independent Living.

New NCWD content.Mental Health Case Study Report: Transitioning Youth with Mental Health Needs to Meaningful Employment and Independent Living
NCWD/Youth, with funding from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor, carried out a study on successful strategies to help youth with mental health needs transition to postsecondary education, employment, and independent lives. With a focus primarily on the role of skills development, work, and career exploration, case studies were conducted of five promising program sites, and program design features and system-level policies that appear to help youth and young adults with mental health conditions better transition into adulthood and life-long success were identified.

New NCWD content.Youth And Disability Disclosure: The Role Of Families And Advocates
InfoBrief Issue 21 highlights NCWD/Youth’s The 411 on Disability Disclosure and explores the role families and advocates play in helping youth understand the importance of appropriate disability disclosure.

New NCWD content.Vocational Assessment And Its Role In Career Planning
InfoBrief Issue 20 discusses career planning and vocational assessment for transition-age youth.  It focuses on the vocational domain and how assessment activities support career related activities.

New NCWD content.Tunnels And Cliffs: A Guide For Workforce Development Practitioners And Policymakers Serving Youth With Mental Health Needs
This brief document summarizes the challenges faced by youth with mental health needs when they enter inappropriate service tunnels dictated by their point of entry and when they encounter transition cliffs as they age out of youth systems and attempt to access adult services. It offers examples of emerging promising practices related to career preparation and employment for youth and offers an action plan to make the coordination of services a cross-systems priority.

New NCWD content.Navigating Tunnels And Cliffs: Empowering Families And Caregivers To Assist Youth With Mental Health Needs In Preparing For Work
Another brief document that summarizes the challenges facing families and caregivers of youth with mental health needs and the resources available to them in helping a young person prepare for a career and community life. It offers and action plan for parents and caretakers on how to make coordination and collaboration of mental health services and career preparation a priority.

April 2008

New NCWD content.Road To Self-Sufficiency: A Guide To Entrepreneurship For Youth With Disabilities
This Guide promotes the benefits of entrepreneurship education and self-employment for all youth, including youth with disabilities. It provides tools for those providing services to youth with disabilities to use entrepreneurship as a means to attaining independence and self-sufficiency. It also provides guidance to those who have been providing entrepreneurship programming on how to effectively include youth with disabilities in their programs. A must read for organizations and practitioners working with all youth, policy-makers, and parents.

March 2008

Youth with Disabilities in the Foster Care System: Barriers to Success and Proposed Policy Solutions
Youth with disabilities who also are in the foster care system are one of the most vulnerable populations in the nation; yet, little attention is focused on the unique challenges they face as they negotiate the curves through multiple systems into adulthood. Last year, NCWD/Youth published a guide, Negotiating the Curves Toward Employment, addressing these issues. Now, the National Council on Disability, with assistance from the American Youth Policy Forum, has issues a companion publication, Youth with Disabilities in the Foster Care System: Barriers to Success and Proposed Policy Solutions.

New NCWD content.Universal Design for the Workforce Development System
As public and private workforce development systems strive to meet the diverse needs of their business and career seeking customers, including individuals experiencing barriers to employment, personnel working within these systems need a clear understanding of how to design programs, services, and activities that provide genuine, effective, and meaningful opportunities for all. Universal design for the workforce development system is the design of environments, products, and communication practices as well as the delivery of programs, services, and activities to meet the needs of all customers of the workforce development system. This resource has been developed to assist workforce development policymakers and program operators in assessing their ability to meet the needs of their customers.

President Establishes Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs
On February 7, President Bush signed an Executive Order establishing the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, a coalition of Federal agencies that will help support communities and organizations working on behalf of our nation's youth.  The order builds on the success of Helping America's Youth, a three-year interagency initiative.  Access the Executive Order.  For additional information about the Helping America's Youth Initiative, visit its website.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Publishes Chafee National Youth in Transition Database: Final Rule
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within HHS has published a final rule (PDF) which adds new regulation to require States to collect and report data to ACF on youth who are receiving independent living services and on the outcomes of certain youth who are in foster care or who age out of foster care.  The final rule implements the data collection requirements of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (Pub. L. 106-169) as incorporated into the Social Security Act.  The effective Date is April 28, 2008.  A State must implement and comply with this rule no later than October 1, 2010.

February 2008

The No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: A Progress Report
The National Council on Disability (NCD) recently released a report analyzing the progress of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that says students with disabilities are no longer ignored. To that end, NCLB and IDEA have had a significant, positive impact. (Published on January 28, 2008.)

New NCWD content.New High School/High Tech Program Guide
The HS/HT Program Guide is an updated and much expanded version of the HS/HT Program Manual that was produced in 2003.  As HS/HT has spread to numerous states, the experiences of these programs and the resultant evolution of the HS/HT program from a locally-administered and implemented program to a state-administered and locally-implemented program have produced a wealth of additional information about the HS/HT program model.  As a result, the newly released HS/HT Program Guide is full of information and materials used by the HS/HT programs throughout the country.

January 2008

College Navigator named by Money Magazine one of "The 28 Best Money Websites"
College Navigator, the U.S. Department of Education's web site for information about colleges and universities, has been named by Money magazine as "the best first screen" for researching higher education institutions.  Navigator was cited in the publication's December 4, 2007, issue, which rated the Top 28 web sites in seven categories -- one of which was college search tools.  Money notes that the web site, unlike many other college search tools, is not tied to any marketing department seeking students' personal information.  It also credits the web site for being "one of the simplest" to use, for having "a good comparison tool," and for providing "a full set of the latest data on expenses, aid, enrollment, admission and graduation rates, majors, and more, along with a Google map pinpointing location."  Launched in September, Navigator is one of several agency resources developed to supply the public with clear and reliable information on the college selection process and federal financial aid.  They are part of Secretary Spellings' plan to make the American higher education system more accessible, affordable, and accountable.

Access by Students with Disabilities to Accelerated Programs
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights recently issued a policy letter addressing students with disabilities’ access to Accelerated Programs. Due to reports of schools and districts where qualified students with disabilities have been prevented from participating in these programs, or in some cases were required to give up services and accommodations in order to participate, the Office for Civil Rights reaffirmed their responsibility and commitment to uphold Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance)  and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act  of 1990 (which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by entities of State and local government.) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Section 504 and Title II require that qualified students with disabilities be given the same opportunities to compete for and benefit from accelerated programs and classes as are given to students without disabilities.

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