Newsletter: November 20, 2013

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: November 20, 2013

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Northeast ADA Center Closed November 28th and 29th

The NEADA Center and technical assistance services will be closed Thursday November 28th and Friday November 29th for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am ET on Monday December 2nd.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and we hope you have a good holiday!

The Northeast ADA Center Welcomes New U.S. Virgin Islands Affiliate!

We are very excited to announce a new affiliate in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), the Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands (http://www.drcvi.org/).  The DRCVI will provide information and training on the rights and responsibilities of ADA stakeholders in the USVI. Its staff will participate in community events, engage with local legislators and politicians, provide ADA training, and assist with providing ADA technical assistance on issues that are specific to the USVI. The DRCVI will give an active voice to ADA issues in the USVI through participation in NEADA Center staff meetings and contributions to materials development.  The specific DRCVI staff we will be working with include Amelia Headley Lamont, Archie Jennings, and Kishma Creque. We look forward to this great partnership!

Collaboration to Evaluate Outdoor Recreational Sites in New York State

The NEADA Center has been working in collaboration with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to evaluate 19 outdoor recreation sites in the mid-Hudson area. Program support originated from the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary program in partnership with the NYS Water Resources Institute at Cornell and New York Sea Grant.  Each site has been assessed for compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, as well as from a "user's perspective" by individuals with disabilities.  NEADA Center partnered with United Spinal for the compliance evaluations and with several Independent Living Centers for the "user assessments".  We are currently developing handbooks for those who want to know more about access at the 19 sites and for businesses in the area to enhance their ability to serve customers and patrons with disabilities. In 2014, we will be providing training for the NYSDEC staff and volunteers, and the municipalities and private businesses (Marinas, etc.) they work with. To learn more about the project, contact LaWanda Cook at 1.800.949.4232.

What's New in Our Region:

NYS Grant to Improve Outcomes for Children with Disabilities

NYS Governor Cuomo announced NYS has received a $32.5 million award from the Department of Education to improve education and career outcomes for children with disabilities who receive SSI in western NY, Capital Region, and New York City. This funding is part of the Obama Administration's "Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) Initiative".  The Cornell University ILR School's Employment & Disability Institute, the NEADA Center's parent organization, is a partner on this grant and will contribute research and disability focused expertise on this project.  Read more at: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/11082013-nys-promise-grant

N.Y. to Double Visits to Homes for People with Developmental Disabilities

New York (NY) Governor Cuomo recently signed into law a bill that would require mental health facilities to undergo at least two unannounced inspections per year. Previously, the law only required one unannounced visit per year. The aim of the amended law is to help prevent, and bring to light, abuses at these mental health facilities. The law helps to address some of the criticisms that NY has faced in regard to a lack of oversight of these residential care facilities. To read more, visit: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2013/10/25/ny-to-double-visits-to-homes-for-developmentally-disabled/3188707/

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Employment Report Shows Mixed Results for People with Disabilities

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports that the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities actually declined in October, even while the government shutdown occurred. However DOL also indicated that fewer people with disabilities were actually looking for work in October.  To read more, visit:

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/11/08/oct-13-jobs/18875/

US Airways Fined $1.2M over lack of Wheelchair Assistance

US Airways received a fine from the Department of Transportation (DOT) due to its failure to provide proper wheelchair assistance to its customers. The investigation revealed that customers who needed wheelchairs were left unattended for long periods of time and sometimes missed their connecting flights. Portions of the fine will go towards both US Airways hiring managers who can better ensure adequate services for people with disabilities, and toward purchasing software to streamline the process of providing assistance.  The DOT also announced new rules that would require airlines to make their website accessible within two years in order to allow customers with disabilities to purchase online, and often cheaper tickets, and to increase the availability of accessible airport kiosks. To read more, visit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2013/11/04/dot-us-airways-disabled-passengers-wheelchair/3433037/

Vice President Affirms the Administration's Support for the Disabilities Treaty

At a recent White House meeting, Vice President Biden reemphasized the White House's support of the US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Twenty disabilities and veterans advocacy groups, as well as other Senior White House officials, attended the meeting. Vice President Biden emphasized that the US' ratification of the treaty would help encourage other countries with lower accessibility standards to improve accessibility, thus improving conditions for Americans who go abroad such as Wounded Warriors. To read more, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/11/01/vice-president-meets-disabilities-leaders-administration-s-strong-support-disabiliti

Voting Problems Still Widespread for Voters with Disabilities

A new report from the National Council on Disability (NCD) shows that disability related legal, physical, and social barriers still remain at voting sites, despite the passage of the Help America Vote Act over ten years ago. During the 2012 elections, 1 in 5 voters with disabilities reported being kept from voting on their own, and more than half said they encountered physical and attitudinal obstacles while inside the polling site. The NCD is pushing for increased training of polling site staff and better enforcement of voting and civil rights laws. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/11/04/voting-problems-widespread/18860/

The Arc Launches New National Resource Center on Justice and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)

The Arc recently received a two-year grant from the Department of Justice that will allow it to establish a national center on justice and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The new center will provide stakeholders with a variety of resources such as research and technical assistance on justice issues related to people with I/DD. Part of the mission of the center will be to help police officers to better understand, and effectively interact with, people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read more at: http://blog.thearc.org/2013/09/18/arc-launches-new-national-resource-center-justice-intel

Training Program Helps Students with Autism Land Jobs

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have published the results of a study that was aimed at improving job outcomes for high school seniors with autism. The researchers piloted an intervention where a group of students with autism was given access to job training at hospitals in Virginia. The training focused on developing the students' strengths, as opposed to correcting weaknesses. The training included internship rotations in the hospital to help students determine which jobs best suited them, and to learn practical skills such as how to navigate the hospital. When these students graduated, 87% of them were able to find above minimum wage jobs in hospitals, while only 6% of the students who were not part of the training program were able to find jobs. Read more at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324094704579069090866313258#printMode

Museums Increasing Accessibility

Museums across the country are improving their efforts to better serve visitors with a variety of disabilities. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City would be a prime example of this trend, highlighted by the museum's offering of tours using American Sign Language as well as classes tailored to visitors who are blind or have low vision. In designing their exhibits, museums have begun to look more towards universal design in order to make exhibits more accessible to a variety of individuals. The advent of technology has also enabled museums to undertake more creative approaches to meeting the needs of visitors with disabilities, for example using 3D printers to allow people to more easily interact with artwork or utilizing indoor navigation systems to assist with locating exhibits. To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/arts/artsspecial/welcoming-art-lovers-with-disabilities.html?_r=0

Opportunities for You!

December 11th Webinar: Accommodations on the Job

While many employers understand the basics of their legal obligations around accommodation, they may struggle with applying accommodation processes in the real life workplace.  This interactive webinar will explore everyday scenarios that touch upon a range of legal, human and practical issues related to accommodations, including what constitutes an accommodation request, what is a "good faith effort" to engage in the interactive process, what if an accommodation doesn't work, and what role managers and supervisors might play in the accommodation process. The webinar will be held on December 11th from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST. To register, visit: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4483

Webinar December 12th: Hotels: Weaving an Accessible Welcome Mat 

The National Network of ADA Centers is providing this webinar regarding the regulatory changes related to effective communication, reservation systems and front desk operations, distribution of accessible guest rooms designed for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, and dispersal of accessible rooms among price offerings and various room types. Emergency egress strategies for guests and employees with disabilities will also be discussed. This webinar will be held on December 12th from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST. To register, visit: http://adainfo.org/content/ADA-Lodging-Webinar-Series

Respondents wanted for Online Survey about Voice Telecommunications Use

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Access at Gallaudet University is conducting a survey of adults who are deaf or hard of hearing regarding their use of voice telecommunications technology such as landline telephones, cell phones, captioned phones, and Skype. Their goal is to better understand how adults use this technology, what barriers they face using it, and what needs to be improved accessibility-wise. Respondents must be at least 18 years of age, have hearing loss, and use voice telecommunications at least once a week. To participate in this survey, which should take between 15-30 minutes, please go to http://tap.gallaudet.edu/telecomsurvey/ 

Applications for Paul G. Hearne AAPD Leadership Award due December 6th

The American Association for People with Disabilities will once again honor individuals for their leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the disability community. Two individuals will receive $10,000 to help them continue their good work. US residents with any disability are eligible to apply and self-nominations are preferred. Applications are due December 6th. To learn more about the award and how to apply, visit: http://aapd.com/what-powers-us/leadership-awards/.

Special Spotlight:  Celebrating and Supporting Our Veterans

November 11th marks Veterans Day, a nationally recognized holiday dedicated to honor members of the military for the sacrifices they make in support of the freedom and values of the United States. The Northeast ADA Center is asking the public to honor members of the armed forces who have served America by assisting them in their efforts to successfully reintegrate back into their communities and the workplace! See below for more information and resources:

President Obama's Veteran's Day Proclamation:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/05/presidential-proclamation-veterans-day-2013

NEADA Center Making Work Happen Veterans with Disabilities Online Toolkits for Veterans, Employers, and Service Providers:

http://www.makingworkhappen.org/Veterans.cfm

NEADA Center Veterans with Disabilities in the Workplace Fact Sheet Series:

http://www.northeastada.org/pages/factsheets/vets.cfm

Employer Assistance & Resource Network Information on Recruiting Veterans:

http://www.askearn.org/#refdesk/Recruitment/Veterans?&_suid=1384180434774017763342007195432

Toolkit on Successfully Welcoming Veterans Back Home:

http://nod.org/research_publications/wwc_vets/give_an_hour?utm_source=2013-11-08+Veterans+Day+2&utm_campaign=2013-11-08+Vets+Day+Honor&utm_medium=email

Veterans Day Community Celebrations and Resources:

http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

Veterans Day Facts:         

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb12-ff27.html