Newsletter: October 26, 2012

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin - October 26, 2012

What's New in Our Region:

"Voices That Count" Policy Forum

The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD) recently hosted the 9th annual "Voices That Count" policy forum at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas and on St. Croix.  The purpose of the forum was to highlight issues and concerns of individuals with disabilities in the Virgin Islands relating to issues such as education, transportation and accessibility. The participants at the forum had the opportunity to raise their concerns and seek responses from candidates who are hoping to represent the Virgin Islands in Congress as well as the island's territorial legislature. For more information, email Sandra Pierre-Louis at slouis@live.uvi.edu or Jerae Forde at jforde@live.uvi.edu.

The Advantages of Hiring Individuals with Disabilities from an Employer's Perspective

On October 24th, the Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities helped to sponsor an event in celebration of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).  The purpose of the event was to discuss employer's views on the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities. The event also covered aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it impacts employment.

Decision Will Revolutionize Access to Books for Individuals with Disabilities

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently decided a case that will allow for millions of books to be freely digitized in order to make them available to individuals who are visually impaired. The court held in Authors Guild Inc. v. HathiTrust that digitizing books to make them accessible did not violate copyright laws. The case is a victory for the universities that were working to digitize their collections. The decision will also benefit scholars and students with print disabilities. This will allow for increased access to scholarship and research materials. To read more, visit: http://nfb.org/national-federation-blind-applauds-landmark-court-ruling

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

US Business Leadership Network Announces 2012  Leadership Award Winners

The US Business Leadership Network recently announced the winners of its 2012 Annual Leadership Awards. The awards are given to companies and organizations that exhibit leading practices in disability diversity in the workplace and the marketplace. The winners of the 2012 awards include Walgreens Co. for Employer of the Year and Northrop Grumman Co. for Supply Chain Diversity. Walgreens practices have been an example for other companies that are working to increase the disability diversity of their companies. For more information visit: http://www.usbln.org/

Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Highlights Disability Employment Model at Lowe's Regional Distribution Center

This article illustrates the praise that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett presented to Lowe's at a recent Pennsylvania Disability Employment Summit. Governor Corbett proclaimed, "Seeing the successful program in action at Lowe's, I am encouraged that we can develop the right models to help those with special needs find permanent, sustainable employment in Pennsylvania." The Lowe's regional distribution center in Pittson, PA trains and employs individuals with disabilities. Additionally, this center places individuals in a multi-week training and job-coaching program. The Department of Public Welfare and the ARC of Luzerne County recently held a three-day summit in Hershey, PA, encouraging employers to adopt models similar to Lowe's.  For more information, visit: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/10/10/4328181/pennsylvania-governor-corbett.html

US Department of Labor Launches Virtual Workplace Flexibility Toolkit During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This article focuses on the U.S. Department of Labor's recently launched online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit. The topic of workplace flexibility pertains to when and where work is performed. Partially funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the toolkit provides about 170 resources, many of which are mutually beneficial to both the employer and employee. These resources result in superior outcomes to business productivity. To access the toolkit, visit: http://www.dol.gov/odep/workplaceflexibility/

A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?

Due to the important role small businesses play in their community's social fabric, the Department of Labor (DOL) is calling for small businesses to actively influenced disability inclusion by opening their workplace to all qualified individuals, including individuals with disabilities. By employing individuals with disabilities, small businesses can also send a vital message. According to the DOL, "They [individuals with disabilities] also benefit their [small businesses] bottom line; employees with disabilities [for example] offer insight into a large and expanding customer segment. What's more, research shows that consumers with and without disabilities favor businesses that employ people with disabilities."  Ideas on how a small business can make their workplace more inclusive are provided by DOL by visiting: http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/employers.htm

Netflix and the National Association of the Deaf Reach Historic Agreement to Provide 100% Closed Captions in On-Demand Streaming Content

The agreement discussed in this article pertains to a agreement between the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Netflix, Inc., to place closed captions in all of their streaming content within two years. The agreement is the result of mutual interest to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. The agreement is the result of a suit filed by NAD against Netflix in 2010, but is also the result of a very committed Netflix to improving access to persons with disabilities. For more information, visit: http://www.nad.org/news/2012/10/netflix-and-national-association-deaf-reach-historic-agreement-provide-100-closed-capti

National Forum on Disability Issues

The video from the entire National Forum on Disability Issues is now available on YouTube. The forum focused on the disability positions of the 2012 Presidential candidates. The representatives for the two candidates were Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, Jr. and Cathy McMorris Rodgers. For more information on the forum, visit: http://www.nfdi.org/

Opportunities for You!

Rental Housing Search and Occupancy Experiences of Veterans with Military Associated Disabilities

*For participating in this study, you have the opportunity to enter into a drawing to win 1 of 4 money orders in the amount of $50.00!

Veterans with military associated disabilities who live in rental housing are invited to participate in a research study to bring awareness of their rental housing search and occupancy experiences. If you are interested in participating in this research study, please cut and paste the following link to your internet browser to access the electronic version of this study: https://vtsurveycenter.us2.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5BVhEcHNiAKnXqB

Participants have until Saturday, December 15, 2012 to complete the survey. If you have any questions regarding this research, contact Luz Semeah via phone or email at (561) 603-2350 or lmsemeah@vt.edu.

Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD) 12th Annual National Conference

The theme of the COSD's 2012 conference will be Disability Inclusive Diversity.  The conference will feature sessions relating to the employment of different student groups such as veterans with disabilities and students with psychiatric disabilities. The conference will be held on November 8th in Los Angeles, California. For more information, visit: http://www.cosdonline.org/cosd-annual-national-conference

JAN Webcast Training Schedule (2012/2013)

JAN Webcasts are now available at no cost. The in-service training target management, employees on disability etiquette, assistive technologies, management techniques, and the latest on accommodations and the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All Webcasts start at 2 pm eastern and are 1 hour. For more information on topics and registration, please visit: http://askjan.org/webcast/index.htm

Special Spotlight:

Making Work Happen: Employer and Service Providers!

People with disabilities are in many ways the "forgotten" diversity group in the U.S. workplace. Though people with disabilities represent a significant segment of our population and our workforce, disability is only now being seen as a key part of workplace diversity strategy. In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the NEADA Center has released two online tutorials for employers and service providers aimed at helping both to enhance efforts to work together toward increasing the integration of individuals with disabilities into our workforce!

Employer's Online Tutorial!

This tutorial consists of ten segments designed for employers. These segments touch upon legal, human, and practical issues around building disability inclusive workplaces. Each topic is presented with a description of why it is important, a self-assessment, and some suggested strategies for increasing your skills.

Employer Topics include:

Workforce trends; Diversity practices; HR strategies; Non-obvious disabilities in the workplace; Hiring practices; Reasonable accommodation; Connecting to customers; Maintaining a disability-inclusive workforce; Legal Issues; & Finding and Recruiting Talented People with Disabilities.

To access to the Employer Tutorial, visit:

http://www.makingworkhappen.com/Employers/index.cfm

Service Provider's Tutorial!

This tutorial consists of ten segments designed for service providers. These segments touch upon legal, human, and practical issues around building disability inclusive workplaces. Each topic is presented with a description of why it is important, a self-assessment, and some suggested strategies for increasing your skills.

Service Provider Topics include:

Becoming a partner; Building trust through connections; Proactive placement strategies; Adding Value; Disability as Diversity; Finding jobs everywhere;

Reasonable accommodation; Innovative Practices for a Disability-inclusive Workforce; Veterans Issues; & Individual skill evaluation.

To access the Service Provider's Tutorial visit: http://www.makingworkhappen.com/ServiceProviders/index.cfm