Newsletter: April 17, 2014

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: April 17, 2014

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

New Webinar - Scenario Clinic: Finding Qualified Candidates with Disabilities

For many organizations, recruitment is a "make or break" function.  Making sure the right people are in the right job at the right time can make the difference between meeting organizational goals and falling short.  Because the recruitment function is key to obtaining both organizational productivity goals and diversity/inclusion goals, it has become a focus for recent legislative rules changes (such as Rehabilitation Act Section 503 and VEVRAA).  During this webinar, we will use an interactive scenario-based approach to examine some legal, human and practical issues around recruiting qualified individuals with disabilities.  In addition to discussing relevant scenarios, we will provide an overview of resources for recruiting qualified candidates with disabilities.

To register for this webinar on May 14th, from 2:00pm - 3:00pm EST, visit:  http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/index.cfm?event=4500

Open for Registration: FREE ADA Trainer Network Event in US Virgin Islands

If you live in the US Virgin Islands and want to educate your local community about the ADA, you could become part of The ADA Trainer Network! The Northeast ADA Center, is hosting a, train-the-trainer event for the US Virgin Islands in St. Croix, May 13-15th, and St. Thomas, May 19-21stRegistration is required; Space is Limited.  The purpose of this initiative is to enhance our capacity to reach a broader range of stakeholders who are directly or indirectly impacted by the ADA in their personal lives or in a professional role.

Both new and current members are invited to come learn about our NEW training curriculum and how to deliver the information to diverse audiences.

To Register or for more information, go to the following website:

For St. Croix: http://northeastada.org/register/tn/tn_reg_stcroix2014.cfm

For St. Thomas: http://northeastada.org/register/tn/tn_reg_stthomas2014.cfm

Or, please contact Katie Steigerwalt at 607-255-8660 or kms342@cornell.edu

What's New in Our Region:

Professor Conducts Physical Activity Workshops for Children with Disabilities

Syracuse University (SU) has been offering a new physical activity program with a research focus, titled "Physical Activity for Families of Children with Visual Impairments." This program is broken into four parts: orientation and mobility, physical activity and motor development, aquatic skills, and sports.  The goal of the program and research is to educate constituents on learning skills and techniques that help develop and improve children's (ages 4-18) motor skills both in school and at home. Families with children ages 4-18 who have visual impairments, SU students, and area teachers are said to be among the potential beneficiaries of the project's outcomes. To read more, visit: http://news.syr.edu/professor-conducts-physical-activity-workshops-for-children-with-visual-impairments-71472/

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

The National Disability Institute Sets 2014 Public Policy Agenda

The National Disability Institute (NDI) has released its 2014 Public Policy Agenda. NDI's 2014 Agenda highlights some of the critical financial issues facing individuals with disabilities and their families ranging from victimization due to financial/consumer fraud to government programs that serve to remove the incentive for individuals with disabilities from working. The Policy Agenda outlines the challenges and opportunities for each financial issue affecting individuals with disabilities such as the passage of several pieces of pending legislation and specific amendments to current legislation.  To learn more, visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/Public-Policy/Public-Policy-Agenda.aspx

To Understand Autism, Researchers Turn to Dogs

Researchers from the Canine Cognition Center, located at Yale University are studying how dogs perceive and learn from their environments in an effort to learn more about young children and human behavioral and cognitive development processes.  According to the study, because dogs are raised in very similar environments as children, (i.e. relying on learning, among other things, from interactions with adult humans) the Canine Cognition Center is studying how these household pets pick up details from their surroundings in an attempt to reveal new insights into the behavioral and cognitive development of humans with autism. Dogs provide an applicable glimpse into the cognitive responses of the mammalian brain exposed to domestic environments.

To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/03/18/to-autism-dogs/19201/

World Wide Web Consortium Publishes Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications 1.0

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), partially funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), has published the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA). Currently, certain functionality used on the Web is not available to some users with disabilities; especially, individuals who rely on screen readers or those who cannot use a mouse. WAI-ARIA addresses these accessibility challenges by defining new ways for functionality to be provided to assistive technology. WAI-ARIA 1.0 establishes guidelines on how to achieve greater cross-platform accessibility and increased usability of advanced web applications for individuals with disabilities, especially through help with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.

To read more, visit: http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/

Two Sides of the Coin: The Obama Administration's FY 2015 Budget Proposal's Effects on Individuals with Disabilities

President Barack Obama released the Administration's Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget Proposal, which could both positively and negatively affect individuals with disabilities.  The National Disability Institute highlights each perspective: On the positive side, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which has already proven to be successful with pulling individuals with disabilities out of poverty, would be expanded to include workers without children, almost doubling the EITC maximum benefit from $503 to $1,005.  On the negative side, the Budget Proposal would deny an individual from concurrently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits; this in turn, could significantly lessen economic security for individuals with disabilities. To read more, visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/newsletters/wash_insider_FebMar_2014.html#2  

Workers with Disabilities Included in President Obama's Executive Order to Raise Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors

Beginning in 2015, the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors will be raised to $10.10/hour. This increase in wages will also apply to workers with disabilities.  This is a huge victory for individuals with disabilities who are employed by federal contractors. Prior to President Barack Obama signing of the executive order on February 12th of this year, workers with disabilities could be paid a subminimum wage, which the National Disability Institute argued was discriminatory and stagnating for any federally contracted worker with a disability; especially, those striving to have a financially secure future. 

To read more, visit: http://www.realeconomicimpact.org/News.aspx?id=396

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Posted the Section 503 Self-Identification Form in Spanish and Word Formats

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has recently posted both the English and Spanish versions of the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability form in both Word and .pdf formats.  This form is a requirement of the new regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Federal contractors are to use this form along with current HR systems in order to track recruitment and retention efforts of candidates and qualified employees with disabilities.  To read more, visit: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm

Feds Move Forward with Disability Hiring Mandate

The U.S. Department of Labor has implemented a new hiring goal mandate that requires most businesses with federal contracts to achieve an employment utilization goal. With the employment utilization goal, federal contractors must strive to obtain 7% representation of employees with disabilities, at all levels of their organization. Similar to rules already in place to promote inclusion of women and minorities in the workplace, this new rule could create a substantial increase in the number of employed individuals with disabilities.  Businesses with at least 50 employees and $50,000 in federal contracts will be required to take specific steps involving recruiting, training, and policy dissemination designed to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  If businesses choose not to comply with these new measures, they face the possibility of losing their federals contracts with the government. To read more, visit: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/03/25/feds-disability-hiring-mandate/19222/

Opportunities for You!

7th Annual Autism Conference in Virgin Islands in April

The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD) will host the Virgin Islands' 7th Annual Autism Conference.  The conference will be held in St. Thomas, VI on Monday, April. 28, at the University of the Virgin Islands Administration & Conference Center and in St. Croix, VI on April 30th, 2014 at the University of the Virgin Islands North West Wing Great Hall. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Georgina Peacock, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more, call 340-693-1173, or 340-776-9200 ext. 2334 (STT), 340-692-4266 (STX). Registration is required for this event. To register, visit: http://events.viucedd.org/ 

Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity

On May 19th & 20th, 2014, The Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.  This conference is one of the "most diverse gatherings" in the world, where a variety of interactive workshops highlighting disability and diversity through discussions, hands-on activities, and stories providing powerful lessons will encompass both days.  New topic areas will be presented to promote education, technology, inclusion, and advocacy to enhance the lives of all human beings.  The conference will be held at the Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii: To learn more or to register, visit: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/

Special Spotlight: New Settlement Agreements Added to ADA.gov

Four settlement agreements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have been added to the ADA website, www.ada.gov.  These four settlements can now be read and referenced to in detail from the ease of their database.  

To read more on each of these settlements, visit the following links:

United States of America vs. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

http://www.ada.gov/vca-lincoln-center.htm  

United States of America vs. Conway Lodging, Inc.

http://www.ada.gov/conway-lodging.htm  

United States of America vs. Commonwealth Health & Rehab Center

http://www.ada.gov/commonwealth-health-rehab.htm  

United States of America vs. New York

http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/olmstead_cases_list2.htm#ny