Newsletter: July 26, 2011

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin July 26, 2011

What's New in Our Region:

Free Webinar on Train the Trainer Capacity Building on August 11th!
On August 11th, from 1:00-2:30pm ET, LaWanda Cook, Ph.D., of the Northeast ADA Center will present a free webinar, "Building Capacity from the Inside Out: Lessons Learned from the ADA Trainer Network".  This webinar will share the research findings and lessons learned from this capacity building project. It is ideal for members of our Trainer Network, and anyone interested in launching a similar train-the-trainer program. Register at: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/dbtac-Webinar-August2011.cfm  

Seminario en Internet Libre de Costo sobre Fortalecimiento de Capacidades en el Adiestramiento de los Adiestradores el 11 de agosto:
El 11 de agosto, de 1:00-2:30 PM (Tiempo del Este), LaWanda Cook, Ph.D., del Centro de la ADA del Noreste presentará un seminario libre de costo, "Fortalecimiento de Capacidades de Adentro Hacia Afuera: Lecciones Aprendidas de la Red de Adiestradores de la ADA".  La iniciativa de la Red de Adiestradores de la ADA del Centro de la ADA del Noreste fue diseñada para mejorar nuestra capacidad de llegar a una gama más amplia de personas interesadas que son directa o indirectamente afectados por la ADA.   En el seminario se compartirán los hallazgos obtenidos por el componente investigativo de este proyecto y las lecciones aprendidas desde su creación.  El seminario es ideal para miembros de nuestra Red de Adiestradores y toda persona interesada en desarrollar un programa similar al de adiestrando-al-adiestrador.  Puede registrarse en:  http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/register/dbtac-Webinar-August2011.cfm  

United Spinal & MTA in New York City (NYC) Settle Subway Accessibility Suit:
A recent settlement between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the United Spinal Association requires the MTA to install an elevator to make one of their elevated platforms more accessible to people in wheelchairs. The ADA requires that a portion of renovation costs be spent on accessibility, such as adding an elevator to increase access to a raised platform. Of the 486 subway stations in NYC, only 86 are fully accessible to people with disabilities, but United Spinal believes that incremental improvements to the stations during scheduled renovations will keep the MTA compliant with ADA standards. Read more at: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/21/3784878/united-spinal-association-settles.html

Identificación para Personas Sordas y con Discapacidad Auditiva en PR:
El Programa de Acceso a la Comunicación para Personas Sordas y con Discapacidad Auditiva del Centro Ponceño de Vida Independiente (CEPVI) ha desarrollado una tarjeta de identificación personal y un rótulo para vehículos, con el propósito de facilitar la coordinación de servicios de interpretación en lenguaje de señas para estas personas.  De esta forma se espera desarrollar una comunicación más efectiva entre esta población y los funcionarios públicos.  Para más información puede comunicarse al: (787) 848-5240 (Voz), (787) 848-5577 (TTY), 1-866-280-2050 (Relevo), o clmm250@hotmail.com

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Airline Fined for Violating Rules Protecting Air Travelers with Disabilities:
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently assessed a $200,000 civil penalty against Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA). The fine came as a result of ASA violating rules protecting travelers with disabilities. Of the fine, $75,000 may be used to improve their services in accordance with the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which stipulates that airlines must provide assistance to passengers with disabilities in boarding and departing an airplane. ASA may also conduct audits of its employees to make sure they are complying with the airline disability rules. Read more at: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2011/dot8411.html

Unemployment Reaches Record High for People with Disabilities:
In June, the jobless rate for Americans with disabilities soared to the highest level seen in two years. Unemployment rose to 16.9% among this population, equal to the record-high set in August 2009 and parallels an overall slump seen across the nation in terms of increased unemployment. Access all the statistics at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t06.htm

HIV/AIDS Web Page Added to DOJ's ADA Website:
To mark the one-year anniversary of the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a new page on their ADA website that provides important information and resources related to combating discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and state and local government services. View the web page at: www.ada.gov/aids.

Plan To Regulate Subminimum Wage Sparks Debate:
A new proposal in the Senate that would set limits on people with disabilities working for less than minimum wage has spurred some intense debate. The proposal would allow people with disabilities to work for subminimum wages, as long as they meet specific age requirements and are receiving job training that would prepare them for competitive employment. The National Federation of the Blind and the National Down Syndrome Society are two agencies that are lobbying to shoot down the proposal on the grounds that it is immoral and discriminatory. Read more at: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/07/19/plan-subminimum-wage/13562/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=July+19%2C+2011%3A+News+from+Disability+Scoop&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term=

Veterans Wait Too Long for Mental Health Services, Reports Say:
Recent reports from the Department of Veterans Affairs indicate that veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have to wait so long for treatment that they are at risk of suicide. More than 202,000 veterans returning after service in either Iraq or Afghanistan have been suspected of having PTSD, which represents an increase of 10,000 veterans from the last quarterly data. Although managers of mental health clinics are aware of the extended wait periods, they have been slow to respond with answers. Read more at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hearing-veterans-wait-too-long-for-mental-health-services/2011/07/14/gIQAcAd7EI_story.html   

New Workplace Mentoring Primer Helps Employers Foster 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 as part of a federally funded grant from the Office of Disability Employment Policy and contains information on how to develop a mentoring culture, approaches to mentoring, mentoring practices and tools, structured activities for protégés and mentors, and other resources on mentoring, diversity, and inclusion. While this was developed for any federal government employee interested in learning how to apply the basics of workplace mentoring within the federal government, those working outside the federal government may also find it helpful for establishing and improving formal mentoring programs. 

Affirmative Action to Improve Underemployment of People with Disabilities:
The upcoming release of the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs rules on affirmative action requirements for federal contractors may be a significant turning point in the underemployment of people with disabilities. Federal contractors currently employ roughly 22% of the work force, so an increase in affirmative action rules could help people with disabilities find meaningful employment. The current rate for employment among people with disabilities is very low, about 17.7%, which is unfortunate since many people with disabilities are willing and capable of holding meaningful employment. Read more at: http://blog.govdelivery.com/usodep/2011/07/make-affirmative-action-meaningful.html   

Senate Introduces Independent Living (IL) Administration:
A bill has been filed with the Senate HELP Committee which will create a new Independent Living Administration, and strengthen America's Independent Living Program. The National Council on Independent Living has been working with the Senate to update and improve America's IL Program which will give more independence to Americans with disabilities. Some of the highlights of the new Program include the creation of an ILA and an update in funding formula. Read more at:  http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2011/07/senate-introduces-independent-living-administration.html 

FCC Report on 9-1-1 Calling and People with Disabilities Released:
On July 21st, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the report submitted by the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC), as required by the Twenty-First Century Communications Accessibility Act, based on a national survey conducted in April and May that asked questions about one's experiences and technology used when calling 9-1-1 today, and what their preferences would be later when 9-1-1 calling becomes Internet-based, known as NextGen911 or NG9-1-1.  It was available in alternate formats, such as American Sign Language, Spanish, and an "easy-to-read" version.  Over 12,799 persons accessed the survey and 3,149 people completed all questions.  The EAAC will now develop recommendations to the FCC on technical and policy aspects of NG9-1-1.  For the report, go to:  http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/EAAC/EAAC-REPORT.pdf 

Join Disability Discrimination Complaint Against Wells Fargo Before January:
Wells Fargo recently reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice regarding accusations of disability discrimination violating Title III of the ADA. Wells Fargo is accused of inaccessible bank branches, refusal to provide documents in alternate formats, and policies that cause barriers to equal access. The settlement requires Wells Fargo to compensate anyone who experienced discrimination prior to May 31st, provided you file a complaint by January 29, 2012. Read more at: http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2011/06/have-you-experienced-disability-based-discrimination-by-wells-fargowachovia-.html

 

Opportunities for You!

Access Board Webinar on Proposed Rights-of-Way Rule August 9th:
The U.S. Access Board will conduct a free webinar August 9th from 12:00-1:30pm (ET) on the proposed accessibility guidelines for public rights-of-way it released for public comment July 26th. Board representatives will review requirements of the rule and highlight areas where input from the public is sought. For more details and to register, go to: www.accessibilityonline.org. The Board is hosting this webinar in partnership with the Great Lakes ADA Center.  For any required technical support, contact them at ADA Center.  

Webinar on Making Online Applications Accessible September 15th:
Many employers require job candidates to submit applications online. However many online application processes are inaccessible to people with disabilities. On September 15th from 1:30-3:00pm ET, the Southeast ADA Center will provide a free webinar on how to make online applications fully accessible. Deadline to register is September 14th. To learn more and to register, go to:  http://sedbtac.org/webinars/eventTemplate.php?eventid=533

 

Special Spotlight-  21st Anniversary of ADA and the Medicaid Battle

Today, July 26th, is the 21st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  To read President Obama's Proclamation celebrating this Anniversary, go to: Presidential Proclamation - Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.    

You are encouraged to share your ADA efforts in your workplaces, schools, businesses, organizations, and communities with this Toolkit from the ADA National Network by DBTAC. In this toolkit you will find ADA and ADAAA related historical information, resources, publications, and statistics, as well as samples of proclamations and anniversary supplements- all designed to help you celebrate this important and integral civil rights legislation!  

As the fight for the full integration and equality of all persons with disabilities continues in our country, so does the budget battle in Washington.  As our political leaders engage in debate and discussion about our nation's debt, the fate of health care and Medicaid remains uncertain. According to the American Association of People with Disabilities, "AAPD is working hard to offer a human face to this ongoing debate.  Last week, we brought families to meet with White House officials and their Congressional representatives to tell their Medicaid stories. This week, we ran radio ads in Iowa and New Hampshire featuring the stories of families who receive Medicaid.  Through showing lawmakers, and people... everywhere, that Medicaid is a lifeline for real, hard-working Americans, we can ensure that the disability community makes a...significant impact on the current deficit negotiations".  Read more below about efforts to keep Medicaid alive:

Research project reveals Medicaid buy-in programs' strengths:  http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2011/07/creative-budget-solutions-invest-in-medicaid-buy-in-programs-.html

Modernizing Medicaid to better support people with disabilities:  http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/169259-modernize-medicaid-to-better-support-people-with-disabilities

U.S. House Focuses on Medicare and Medicaid Dual-Eligibles:  http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2011/07/medicaid-and-medicare-policy-us-house-focuses-on-dual-eligibles.html

  

See you in a few weeks!