Reaching Jobseekers and Employees with Disabilities in Underserved Communities

Use Community Meetings and Online Dialogue to Drive Policy

In direct response to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and fearing the social isolation created by lockdowns, our organization quickly responded by hosting a series of virtual Disability Community Gatherings to create safe, online, social space for people with disabilities. While all the gatherings were open to anyone, each one had a specific focus on particular affinity groups within the broader spectrum of... more »

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Reaching Jobseekers and Employees with Disabilities in Underserved Communities

Develop and Distribute Local Resources Guides

While RespectAbility is a national, non-partisan organization, since 2017 we have worked extensively in communities from coast to coast. When interfacing with local organizations working to meet local disability, workforce, and community needs, we have consistently found that local people with disabilities often do not know where to look for supports or services. Whether we are talking about under-resourced neighborhoods... more »

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Examples of Racial & Social Equity in Employment

Establish a Chief Accessibility Officer of the United States

Designating a Chief Accessibility Officer is a best practice that many companies are starting to adopt and can help drive greater inclusion. The government itself could benefit from a designated officer responsible for coordinating disability inclusion and accessibility internal to the federal workforce.

Such a position has already been articulated in this Dialogue already, however, such a position could be a crucial... more »

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Racial & Social Equity in Employment: Challenges and Solutions

Focus on Closing Gaps in High School Graduation Rates for BIPOC

The pandemic has made clear that the nation must transform itself to advance racial justice and make equitable opportunities a reality. Achieving that reality must begin by improving educational outcomes for students of color with disabilities. In public schools across the nation, there are 6.5 million students with disabilities. Out of that number, fully 3.5 million are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students... more »

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Reaching Jobseekers and Employees with Disabilities in Underserved Communities

Focus on Encouraging & Diversifying Disability Owned Businesses

In the pre-pandemic era, job seekers with disabilities were already turning to self-employment in far higher numbers than their non-disabled peers. For many, they did so because being your own boss and owning a small business served as an end-run around the barriers to employment that hold back far too many people with disabilities. In looking at the issue of self-employment and promoting entrepreneurship among people... more »

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Reaching Jobseekers and Employees with Disabilities in Underserved Communities

Leverage Community College Resources to Improve Outcomes

Community colleges are crucial pieces of the nation's workforce development infrastructure and in many states, community colleges help direct the investment of WIOA dollars in programs or agencies. State and local Workforce Investment Boards can build sector partnerships that leverage community colleges and other education and training providers to develop career pathways that align workforce supply and demand. WIOA emphasizes... more »

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Reaching Jobseekers and Employees with Disabilities in Underserved Communities

Fight Stigmas through the Power of Story Telling/Role Models

Moving the nation to become more equitable for underrepresented communities and dismantling systems that create marginalization requires a transformation in culture, practice and the economy. It requires the courage and commitment of every American, the adoption of policies to end disparities, as well as a culture that embraces diverse stories that reflect the full the African American experience and the intersectionality... more »

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Providing Assistance to Employers, Workers, and Other Stakeholders

A 13th year to close the educational gap left by the pandemic

The pandemic has adversely impacted students with disabilities in the state of Texas. The loss of instructional time has made valuable employment transition skills nonexistent due the pandemic and shortened school year. High school seniors, especially high school seniors with disabilities have run out of time to complete their high school diploma and take advantage of school to work transitional services.In public schools... more »

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Examples of Racial & Social Equity in Employment

Advance Equity through Caring Economy Jobs for Diverse Youth

In looking for ways to advance equity through greater workforce inclusion, workforce leaders ought to consider programs and best practices that offer young people with disabilities rewarding careers in the caring economy. Focusing on the "Caring Economy" and improving the quality care for older Americans is a key priority for the Administration and there are proven models of transition services that can make a transformative... more »

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Examples of Racial & Social Equity in Employment

Breaking Down Silos under WIOA and Enforcing Accessibility

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was intended to break down siloes within the workforce system and to help lift up people with significant barriers to employment. 7 years after WIOA was passed by Congress, many American Job Centers remain physically or programmatically inaccessible to job seekers with disabilities. A 2017 study by IMPAQ found that "63 percent of centers were partially accessible" and only... more »

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Examples of Racial & Social Equity in Employment

Support Virtual Cohort Based Models for Diverse, Young Professio

The past year and the pandemic has made remote work an accepted reality for thousands of workers. This has been a "silver lining" of expanding and normalizing a common reasonable accommodation request long championed by workers with disabilities. Microsoft has dramatically expanded their accessibility features, including built-in speech to text technology which makes it possible for people with even the most limited mobility... more »

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Racial & Social Equity in Employment: Challenges and Solutions

Focus on Better Metrics to Improve Racial Equity in Employment

Our communities and our economy is at its best when all people, including people with disabilities, can earn an income and become independent, just like anyone else. Because anyone can join the disability community at any time due to illness, accident, or aging, people with disabilities share intersectional identities with other underrepresented communities and face similar systemic barriers.

However, too often, decision... more »

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Reaching Jobseekers and Employees with Disabilities in Underserved Communities

Veterans with Disabilities are an Underserved Community

According to DOL's BLS, among the 284,000 unemployed veterans in 2019, 56 percent were ages 25 to 54, 39 percent were age 55 and over, and 5 percent were ages 18 to 24. And according to a 2018 VA Report, minority veterans face a 44 percent higher risk of unemployment than nonminority veterans. Working-age rural veterans (18 to 64 years old) had a lower employment rate than rural nonveterans and urban veterans.

 

Programs... more »

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Racial & Social Equity in Employment: Challenges and Solutions

Equity in Employment

Thank you to the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Women's Bureau for the opportunity to participate in this online dialogue and submit ideas on how the USDOL can promote racial and social equity in employment policies and programs for people with disabilities.

Didlake is a rehabilitation services organization that is creating opportunities... more »

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Examples of Racial & Social Equity in Employment

NASDDS National Core Indicators Data Brief Disparities Framework

Returning once again to the National Core Indicators Data Brief, NASDDS' report offers a critical framework for beginning to operationalize racial and social equity in the context of workforce services.

The brief points to a "possible framework to analyze the components of public systems that may result in disparities proposed by the World Health Organization to assess gender equality in health care. The components of... more »

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