Newsletter: October 18, 2017

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: October 18, 2017

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

The Northeast ADA Center Website Has a New Look!
Please come and visit us at and see our new look. With an expanded search feature you have some of the most popular ADA topics at your fingertips as well as access to our webinar archive.

Free Webinar! The Power of Apprenticeship: Including People with Disabilities

October 25th, 2017 12pm to 1:30pm EST
Apprenticeships serve two purposes. They offer opportunities for job seekers to build real world employment skills while earning money. They also meet the needs of employers for a skilled workforce. Through an injection of new funds, ApprenticeshipUSA is enabling states to partner with job-driven industries to develop innovative strategies to increase apprenticeship opportunities. This session will highlight how apprenticeship programs can enable employment service providers who support people with disabilities to foster collaboration with employers to create apprenticeship opportunities in local communities. These partnerships will offer a proven path to good, secure middle-class jobs for people with disabilities who are traditionally underrepresented in these opportunities. We will also discuss how employers might approach providing accommodations for apprentices who have disabilities. To register go to:

Opportunity to Participate in Research

The Northeast ADA Center, which is located within Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, is seeking participants in a research study on implementation of reasonable accommodation policy and practice within small employers (defined as 15-500 employees). Ideal participants will be employed by or serve in a leadership position of a small employer and have responsibility for implementing the accommodation process within their company. We have included a consent form that describes the study in more detail. Your participation in this study is entirely confidential. Neither your company nor your name will be shared in connection with our findings. We hope to develop a snapshot of how the accommodation process for employees with disabilities happens (or doesn't happen) within small employers in order to develop a comprehensive set of resources to support small employers in this area.

Your involvement in the study would entail a 60-minute phone interview. During the interview, our researchers will ask some question about the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and accommodations in your workplaces. Remember, even if your company doesn't have a lot of experience with disability or the ADA, your perspective is still valuable. At the end of your participation, you will be compensated with a $50 gift card. We will also notify you once the materials that result from the study are available for use.

If you are willing to participate, please reach out to Vicki Chang ( Vicki will work with you to schedule the phone call at your convenience. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the principal investigator, Sarah von Schrader (, 607-254-8088), or Vicki Chang ( at any time.

Northeast ADA Center Contributes to Training for NYC Disability Service Facilitators

The Northeast ADA Center was happy to participate in a 2 day training program in September, 2017, administered through the ADA National Network, the NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) and the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). The program provided training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as other federal, state and local laws that impact people with disabilities. The hallmark of the program is that it provided the most relevant and up to date information, guidelines, new resources and other pertinent information that is specific to city governmental programs, services and activities offered to New Yorkers with disabilities. The training was designed and provided in order to establish a knowledge base essential to performing the role of the Disability Service Facilitator (DSF) in New York City. The training program provided information on the following topics: The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design/NYC Building Code accessibility requirements; Effective communication for people with disabilities; Emergency Preparedness and Planning; ADA Self-Evaluation and Transition Planning; Fair Housing and Accessible Digital Technology.

What's New in Our Region:

The U.S. Department of Labor to Provide Immediate Grants and Assistance for Hurricane Maria Recovery Efforts

As with Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the U.S. Department of Labor, in cooperation with the territories and local partners, is setting aside funding, making grants to assess workforce needs, and providing additional regulatory flexibilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Maria. With assistance for Dislocated Worker Grants and Disaster Unemployment Assistance,the Department of Labor is taking steps to assist residents and businesses as they recover from a devastating hurricane. To read more about this go to:

For People with Disabilities, New York's Sidewalks Are an Obstacle Course

In a long running battle over New York City's 162,000 sidewalk corners, a federal court ordered report has highlighted numerous shortcomings in the city's effort to install and maintain curb ramps to make every corner accessible to people with disabilities. The report, by Robert L. Burgdorf Jr., an expert on disability rights, was issued as part of a federal lawsuit filed by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, now known as the United Spinal Association, against the city in 1994. In spite of a subsequent 2002 settlement, and another agreement last year to address continuing concerns, the report found that the majority of the city's curb ramps are still not in compliance with federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that the city lacks even a comprehensive survey of all its corners or an adequate plan of action. To read more about this go to:

US Virgin Islands Non-Profits Struggle to Serve in the Wake of Devastating Storms

Like other segments of the population, the V.I.'s non-profit community was hit hard by September's double hurricane hits, but charitable groups don't have the option of closing for business while they make repairs. A survey of a few of the many entities serving the territory's most vulnerable found some of them up and running shortly after the storms - albeit limping - while others are struggling just to survive. Organizations like the American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands, Catholic Charities, The Disability Rights Center Coalition and others have led response efforts to serve struggling citizens. The Disability Rights Center Coalition is comprised of Several V.I. groups that serve people with disabilities working to address the special needs of their clients. To read more about this go to:

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Supreme Court Denies Review of Rules That Vending Machines Are Not Places of Public Accommodation

The Supreme Court declined to review a Fifth Circuit decision stating that a public accommodation covered by Title III of the ADA has to be a physical place and vending machines are not sales establishments covered by Title III of the ADA. In doing so, it affirms the Fifth Circuit's decision that vending machines are not covered under the ADA. By denying review, the decision prolongs a conflict between other circuits that have interpreted "public accommodation" to extend beyond physical spaces. To read more about this go to:

Survey: Employers Miss Opportunities for Workers with Disabilities

A national survey released October 10, 2017 finds that employers often overlook recruiting and training practices that could expand employment opportunities for workers with disabilities. For example, only 13 percent of supervisors said their organizations offer job sharing, yet more than 90 percent of those who allow it said such policies were effective for both people with disabilities and workers overall. While two-thirds of those surveyed said it is very important to provide requested accommodations to workers with disabilities, only 28 percent of organizations have disability hiring goals, compared to nearly 60 percent that have goals for other types of diversity. To read more about this go to:

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar! U.S. Access Board Webinar: Harmonization between the ADA Standards and the IBC/ANSI A117.1

November 2nd, 2017
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM (ET)
The next webinar in the U.S. Access Board's monthly series will review differences between the ADA Standards and counterpart provisions in the International Building Code (IBC) and the accessibility standard it references, the ICC ANSI A117.1 Standard. While the ADA Standards and IBC/ANSI A117.1 were largely harmonized, substantive differences remain. In addition, the newly released 2017 edition of the A117.1 standard includes additional changes not reflected in the ADA Standards. A representative from the International Code Council, which maintains the IBC and published the new A117.1 standard, will partner with the Board to highlight differences between these documents, answer questions, and clarify common areas of confusion.

Visit for more information or to register for the webinar. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Free Webinar! Kayaking, Rafting and Ziplining: Making Community Recreation and Adventure-Tourism Accessible to All

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
10:00 AM PST - 11:30 AM PST
This session is a basic overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nondiscrimination requirements for outdoor recreational providers and operators, including tips, tools, and resources for best practices. Does your program or business model strive to make "the great outdoors" accessible to ALL customers, including patrons with disabilities? Find answers in this session.

To register go to:

Special Spotlight:

Remember to Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so please consider encouraging all members of your organization to participate in this awareness project. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.

For specific ideas about how your organization can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit Suggestions range from simple steps, such as putting up a poster, to more involved actions such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities - every day of every month.