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Newsbeat: Back to Work

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News February 2016

Governors, state legislators and workforce development boards now have access to a new resource to help bolster their efforts to increase the number of people with disabilities in the American workforce

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The Disability Employment First Planning Tool, created by respectabilityusa.org and several other groups including Paralyzed Veterans of America, provides a list of best practices for state governments to consider as they build programs designed to expand employment of people with disabilities.

Employment First refers to the strategies more than 30 states have adopted in an effort to direct state policies and investments to prioritize employment for people with disabilities. It was brought to the forefront in 2012, when Jack Markell, Delaware governor and then-National Governors Association chair, launched an effort to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Markell’s efforts set the stage for passage of the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which requires states to create a unified plan for disability employment by the end of this month.

RespectAbilityUSA’s new planning tool is a way for states to comply with the law and come up with a plan based on best practices for opening up job opportunities and competitive pay for individuals with disabilities while also meeting the talent needs of employers.

The planning tool can benefit states in a number of areas, including efforts to make the best of limited resources, incorporating disability employment into a state workforce strategy, finding and supporting
businesses on disability employment and becoming a model employer by increasing the number of people with disabilities working in state government.

Among those key action items is a series of questions about how committed states are to keeping workers with newly acquired or increasing disabilities in the workforce, which includes supporting innovation and development of assistive technologies, creating universally accessible job centers, and investing in training of vocational rehabilitation staff on how to best serve clients with disabilities.

For more information, visit respectabilityusa.org.

 

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Newsbeat: Back to Work

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