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Millions with Disabilities Still Forced to Choose Between Food and COVID-19

Iowa state flag. Text: Online SNAP in IowaDes Moines, Iowa, May 19 – The disability nonprofit RespectAbility congratulates the USDA and the state of Iowa for enabling people with disabilities who rely on SNAP to avoid the high risk of shopping for food in person. The CDC reports that approximately 90 percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying conditions. People with disabilities and other historically marginalized communities are the groups most likely to have these conditions, and are among the most at risk for severe complications from the coronavirus.

“This is potentially lifesaving news for the approximately 98,000 Iowans with disabilities who depend on food stamps to put food on the table,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President and CEO of RespectAbility. “We are grateful that Gov. Kim Reynolds and the state of Iowa are committed to supporting the disability community.” [continue reading…]

Read the webinar transcript (coming soon)
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Watch the webinar on YouTube with live embedded captions

Employer engagement is a critical part of a robust and effective workforce development system. Crossing the cultural and communications divide between the worlds of work and disability is critical for expanding job opportunities for people with disabilities. The great state of Iowa has been at the forefront of outreach work to educate business partners on the bottom-line benefits of hiring more and more people with disabilities.

Watch this webinar to learn how Iowa’s Vocational Rehabilitation system has built up a robust network of business partnerships with Kwik-Trip and other diverse firms. Our guests also spoke about the unique challenges of meeting the workforce training needs of youth with disabilities in rural Iowa.

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Hartford, CT, January 3 – This week, the Connecticut Governor’s Workforce Council met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Nutmeg State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 202,632 working age (18-64) Connecticuters living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 42.9 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that the Governor’s Workforce Council listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website. [continue reading…]

Little Rock, AR, December 21 – Next month, the Arkansas Workforce Development Board will meet to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Natural State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 272,189 working age (18-64) Arkansans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 32.8 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Arkansas’s Workforce Development Board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website. [continue reading…]

Springfield, OH, December 20 – This month, the Greater Ohio Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Buckeye State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 821,099 working age (18-64) Ohioans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 39.8 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Ohio’s state and local workforce development boards listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website. [continue reading…]

Jackson, MS, December 20 – This week, the Mississippi State Workforce Investment Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Magnolia State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, non-partisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 257,738 working age (18-64) Mississippians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 31.5 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Mississippi State Workforce Investment Board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website. [continue reading…]

Kalamazoo, MI, December 16 – This week, the Michigan Works! Southwest Local Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Great Lakes State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 725,431 working age (18-64) Michiganders living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 36.2 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that State and Local Workforce Development Boards listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website. [continue reading…]

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