Newsletter: November 28, 2011

Northeast ADA Center November 28, 2011 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Free Webinar on Inclusive Talent Management December 1st:
Wendy Strobel Gower, Director of the Northeast ADA Center, will present a free webinar, "Inclusive Talent Management: Organizational trends that make engaging people with disabilities a business imperative", on December 1st from 1:00-2:00pm EST. This webinar will explore connections between disability inclusiveness and organizational effectiveness or competitive advantage. Participants will be asked to engage in an active discussion about emerging dilemmas around disability inclusiveness in the workplace. The session will consider how to retain talent through accommodation, workforce trends that impact retention, and issues related to supervising people with disabilities. To learn more and to register, go to:

U.S. Virgin Islands Bill Regarding Disabled-Friendly Construction:
The U.S. Virgin Islands Governor signed into law a new bill creating the Visitable Housing Design and Incentive Program. This program will provide property tax breaks to homeowners who build their homes in ways that make them user-friendly to people with disabilities. Based on Visitability, an international movement to change home construction practices so that new homes are more accessible, these homes include features such as a stairless entrance, a first-floor wheelchair accessible bathroom and wide entrances and doorways making them easier for residents and visitors with mobility impairments to navigate. Learn more at:   

Adiestramiento sobre Derechos en el Empleo para Personas con Dolor Crónico
en PR el 10 de Diciembre
El 10 de diciembre de 12:00 - 3:00 PM en la Universidad del Este en Carolina, Voluntarios Unidos en Una Voz por el Dolor, la afiliada en PR de la US Pain Foundation, llevará a cabo una actividad educativa para personas que sufren de dolor crónico en PR.  La Lcda. Yessica M. Guardiola Marrero, especialista en asistencia técnica del Movimiento para el Alcance de Vida Independiente y el Centro de la ADA del Noreste, ofrecerá una orientación sobre los derechos en el lugar de trabajo para personas con dolor crónico.  Para más información llame al: (787) 667-2939.   

Online Bachelor's Degree for Students with Disabilities in Albany, NY:
In January 2012, a groundbreaking program will be implemented by Albany, NY's Sage College which will allow students with disabilities to take the steps necessary to achieve a 4-year degree. This program will provide the traditional 120 credit hours towards the bachelor's degree and will provide small class enrollment and the support of faculty members trained to accommodate the specific needs and learning styles of the students. In addition to the academic workload, life skills, such as finance and communication, will also be part of the academic regiment. Read more at: 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Staffing Company Pays $30,000 to Resolve Disability Discrimination Lawsuit:
A Texas staffing company will pay $30,000 and implement changes in the workplace after being charged by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with refusal to accommodate an applicant with a disability during the hiring process and subsequently denying him employment because of his disability. The applicant, who has a kidney disease that causes him to be unable to urinate, was refused a hair sample drug test in lieu of  a urinalysis after completing all other requirements for obtaining the position. Read more about the case here:  

EEOC Disability Bias Charge Data Could Have Implications for Employers:
Sarah von Schrader, Assistant Director of Research at Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute, discussed the trends in data on employment-related disability discrimination charges between 2005 and 2010 in an October 20th webinar offered by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network. Learn more about trends in specific categories of disabilities and what employers can do at:   

AMC Entertainment Honored by U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN):
AMC Entertainment Inc., which operates movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada, was selected as the 2011 Lead Employer of the Year by the USBLN. The award recognizes AMC as demonstrating "outstanding commitment to promoting disability diversity across the enterprise." This year, AMC created a new national employment outreach program designed to encourage and facilitate the hiring of people with disabilities at AMC Theatres. Read more at:   

ODEP Awarded for Helping Federal Workers and Job-Seekers with Disabilities:
Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), accepted the Champion in Leadership Award on behalf of the Department of Labor in October. The award recognizes federal agencies for creating supportive work environments for people with disabilities. ODEP was honored for Project SEARCH, a program that provides training in Washington, DC to assist federal employees and job-seekers with disabilities. Read more here: 

Federal Report on People with Disabilities Facing a Digital Divide:
A U.S. Department of Commerce report says that of households headed by people with disabilities, only 43 percent had broadband Internet access in 2010, compared to 72 percent of people without disabilities. The report, which is based on data from a Census Bureau survey of over 54,000 American households, suggests that socioeconomic factors are a major reason behind this lack of Internet access. Read more at:

DOL Leaders Highlight Disability Employment at USBLN Conference:
Two Department of Labor (DOL) leaders, Assistant Secretary and head of the Office of Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez and head of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Patricia Shiu addressed the USBLN in October. They highlighted important disability employment programs including the "Add Us In" initiative to increase hiring of individuals with disabilities in small businesses and revisions to the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistant Assistance Act to enhance affirmative action measures, as well as policy changes intended to benefit disability and veterans communities. Read more here:

Understanding the Latest Requirements about Federal Disability Employment:
With the announcement of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs regarding Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Berkshire Associates, a human resource consulting and technology firm, released a white paper discussing the implications of the potential updates and how to remain compliant. Learn more and access the white paper here:

ODEP Launches Integrated Employment Toolkit:
The Office of Disability Employment Policy has created a toolkit that offers a collection of resources, reports, papers, policies, fact sheets, case studies, and discussion guides from a variety of sources to accommodate the full range of users and increase capacity and understanding about the value and potential of integrated employment. Access the toolkit at:

Apple's AssistiveTouch Helps Those with Disabilities Use a Smartphone:
Apple's new iPhone includes a feature called AssistiveTouch, making the iPhone more usable for people with motor-control impairments. A floating on-screen palette presents buttons that trigger motions and gestures on the iPhone screen without requiring hand or multiple-finger movement, only a single finger or even a stylus held in the teeth or fist. The iPhone also offers options to define your own gestures. Find out more here:


Opportunities for You!

2012 NYS Partners in Policymaking Applications due November 30th:
The New York State Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development program for individuals with developmental disabilities and family members designed to promote systems change through partnerships with legislators and policymakers.  Program graduates become part of a larger network of Partners graduates at state and national levels. The program is a joint effort by Cornell University's Employment & Disability Institute and the Advocacy Center of Rochester, NY. To learn more and to apply, go to:

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Federal Employer Winter Webcast Series:
Beginning January 4th, JAN will provide three free 1.5 hour Webcast sessions focused on the needs and interests of federal employers. Topics include hiring people with disabilities; the interactive process; and best practices in the federal government. Learn more and register at:

Special Spotlight-  Veterans with Disabilities:

November pays tribute to Veterans Day and we would like to continue our recognition of the resources available for veterans and efforts being made to reintegrate these former service men and women back into community and workplace life, particularly those with disabilities.

President Signs the VOW to Hire Heroes Act into law:

President Obama's initiative to increase tax incentives for businesses to hire veterans and those with disabilities:

More veterans, including those with disabilities, being hired by federal government:

NJ Co-Sponsors Bill to Help Unemployed Veterans: 

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network has posted a new frequently asked question and answer resource containing questions on hiring, managing, and accommodating veterans with disabilities.  Topics include tax incentives, safety and insurance concerns, and TBI and PTSD issues:  

Department of Transportation Announces Projects to Improve Transportation Choices and Job Access for Military Families and Wounded Warriors:

The contents of this News Bulletin were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant number H133 A110020.  However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.