Newsletter: June 22, 2018

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: June 22nd, 2018

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar for Small Employers

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST.

How much do small businesses know about disability, the ADA, and their responsibilities related to reasonable accommodation? In the Northeast ADA Center, we are conducting a study to better understand how the ADA is currently implemented in small businesses, where many do not have a dedicated HR professional. Further, we seek to understand what gets in the way of ADA implementation, and how can our ADA Center better support these businesses. During this webinar, we will share finding from a qualitative study of Small Businesses and ADA Implementation. To register go to: http://register.yangtaninstitute.org/register/index.cfm?event=6716

What's New in Our Region:

Need Assistive Technology? The National Disability Institute Can Help!

Did you know the National Disability Institute (NDI) provides affordable loans to help people with disabilities purchase assistive technology to meet their needs? If you are a resident of seven downstate counties in New York or all of New Jersey, you may qualify! Assistive Technology includes products such as computer equipment, hearing aids, modified vehicles, scooters and wheelchairs, smart home technology and more. To learn more, contact Laurie Schaller at lschaller@ndi-inc.org or by phone at 202-449-9521. Visit NDI's website at https://www.realeconomicimpact.org/asset-development/assistive-technology-loan-program

New Jersey Conference on Disability and Employment

Happening on Tuesday October 2, 2018 from 9:00am to 5:00pm at Raritan Valley Community College located at 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg NJ 08876. This conference for job seekers, families, educators, employers and service providers will focus on the practical information necessary to find or create employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Put the date on your calendar and register early, as seating is limited. Reduced registration fee for family members. To register go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-jersey-conference-on-disability-and-employment-tickets-23799995427?ref=enivtefor001&invite=MTQ0ODkxNzIvbm9ydGhlYXN0YWRhQGNvcm5lbGwuZWR1LzA%3D&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&utm_term=attend

Special Education Students Affected by the Closing of Schools in PR

The Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) has announced a new cycle of public school closings, which includes 265 schools, most of which are elementary schools. Some of the factors they indicate having taken into consideration were: the infrastructure, the number of students, the availability of space, enrollment, academic programs and that the school had the opportunity to grow. The agency created a committee to conduct a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the school closures, but they did not meet with parents and school communities before the press release announcing the new public schools consolidation was completed. They alleged that is each school director's responsibility to notify students, parents and teachers about the closing of their school.

In response to this, a Committee of Mothers and Fathers in Defense of Public Schools was created, including mothers, fathers and caregivers of special education students, who oppose the closure of their children's schools because they understand that the PRDE had not taken in consideration their needs and the services they require. In addition, the Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR by its Spanish acronym) and the Municipal Administration of Morovis filed a lawsuit in the State Court at Arecibo in the Northern Region to challenge the closure of nine schools specifically. In a court hearing that lasted more than six hours, the PRDE was not able to demonstrate with irrefutable proof why the closure of public schools should be done. They also couldn't show that they notified the school communities about the closings of their schools. In view of this situation, Judge Cordero-Osorio informed that he will issue a permanent injunction regarding the closure of the nine schools included in the lawsuit. He will also issue a judicial opinion to urge the other courts to decide in the same way, since there are similar lawsuits pending in the Courts of San Juan, Caguas and Humacao.

For more information in Spanish, visit: https://www.elvocero.com/educacion/tribunal-paraliza-cierre-de-nueve-escuelas-p-blicas/article_7a0ae352-6dc5-11e8-be57-b332555dda0b.html

ACCES-VR Works to Help Remove Barriers, Enrich Lives for Those Living with Disabilities

New York State held its Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day to highlight both the issues and the accomplishments of advocates, families, and individuals with disabilities across New York State. As part of the awareness day, more than 40 agencies and associations that serve people with disabilities participated in an outreach fair to advocate for disability-related issues and promote services, programs, and adaptive equipment. As part of this day, the work of ACCESS-VR was featured as an avenue to dramatically improve the lives of people with disabilities. To read about this go to: https://oswegocountytoday.com/acces-vr-works-to-help-remove-barriers-enrich-lives-for-those-living-with-disabilities/


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

How States Are Helping People with Disabilities Break Into Government Jobs

Governing Magazine recently published an article about what state governments are doing to recruit, hire and retain talented employees with disabilities. State governments have a critical role to play as a model employer for people with disabilities. Everyone can reap the benefits when more career pathways in public service are open to more and more Americans with disabilities. Louisiana, for example, has begun to institute new internship programs for job- seekers with disabilities. However, many states are pursuing different ways to close the disability employment gap. Massachusetts has an entirely different approach than Louisiana, where they have developed an account that makes it easier for agencies to get funding for disability accommodations. To read the article go to: http://www.governing.com/topics/workforce/gov-disabled-state-government-workforce.html

Clothing Can Keep People with Disabilities Out of the Workforce

A recent study from researchers at the University of Missouri found that the lack of adaptive clothing in the mass retail market poses workforce barriers for people with disabilities. All too often, the struggle to find business attire leads people with disabilities not to pursue certain careers or to skip applying to jobs they're qualified for, according to Kerri McBee-Black, an instructor in the University of Missouri's textile and apparel management department. She and Jung Ha-Brookshire, director of graduate studies in the textile and apparel management department, analyzed the professional experiences of 12 people living with disabilities. The study found that lack of professional clothing options that can be adapted to the user presents a significant barrier to people with disabilities who might already be under economic constraint. To read more about this go to: https://www.racked.com/2018/6/13/17454390/clothing-people-with-disabilities-workforce

Microsoft Invests $200,000 into Program for Student with Disabilities

Microsoft invested $200,000 to the Accessibility Lighthouse Program, which is designated to help provide resources to students with disabilities, in collaboration with colleges, on campus. The program will run throughout the College of ACES, College of Engineering, College of AHS and College of Education at the University of Illinois. The investment will help students with Autism go into STEM roles and increase the hiring pipeline into the industry, Katheryne Rehberg, associate director of corporate relations, said. With the investment for the Accessibility Lighthouse Program, students will also have more opportunities to learn how to create digitally accessible software. Although a pillar of Microsoft's investment is helping those with Autism, the money and Accessibility Lighthouse Program will also help people with all kinds of disabilities, physical and mental, throughout the University. To read more about this go to: https://dailyillini.com/news/2018/06/13/microsoft-invests-200000-into-program-for-student-with-disabilities/

 

Opportunities for You!

Volunteers and Partners Wanted! Are You Ready To Make An Even Bigger Difference?

RespectAbility is looking for talented people and partners who want to collaborate to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. RespectAbility is inviting people with disabilities, their loved ones and allies to come together around a shared agenda to make a difference. RespectAbility will have in-person meetings and trainings in accessible locations in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C., for people who live in those areas. Most of the volunteer activities will be done via phone calls/accessible webinars that you can do from your home, office or anywhere else. RespectAbility hopes to have volunteers in all 50 states. You will connect to other people who are passionate about making a difference and be able to have a positive impact no matter where you live! To read more about this and to sign up to volunteer go to: https://www.respectability.org/2018/01/volunteer-sign-up/

Free Webinar-Transportation Facilities

Thursday July 12th, 2018 2:30pm EDT 4:00pm EDT

Accessibility standards for transportation facilities apply to the construction and alteration of transportation facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department of Transportation (DOT) adopted these standards based on updated guidelines issued by the Board. This session will review the provisions for fixed guideway stations, intercity rail stations, and bus shelters along with some along with some additional requirements established by the U S Department of Justice. To register go to: https://www.accessibilityonline.org/ao/session/?id=110661

Special Spotlight:

Foothills Child Development Center Agrees to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Foothills Child Development Center, Inc., A South Carolina Corporation that owns and operates a preschool in Easley S.C., will provide monetary relief to a former employee and modify its employment policies to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC, The center violated federal law when it terminated an employee, Leon Dabrowski, after he disclosed his participation in a supervised medication-assisted (MAT) treatment program. The center hired Dabrowski as an afterschool teacher for its Easley S.C. facility. The EEOC alleged that at the time of hire, Dabrowski disclosed his prior opiate addiction and participation in the MAT program, through which he was legally prescribed the drug Suboxone as part of his treatment. Foothills terminated Dabrowski about thirty minutes into his first workday due to his Suboxone use. The EEOC contends that Foothills failed to conduct an individualized assessment prior to terminating Dabrowski. The assessment would have helped to determine what effect, if any, the Suboxone had on Dabrowski's ability to perform his job duties. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability. To read more about this go to: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/5-15-18.cfm