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Policy

RespectAbility Responds to Supreme Court’s Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade 

Washington, D.C., June 28 – On Friday, the United States Supreme Court reversed its almost 50-year position that the United States Constitution guarantees the right of people who are pregnant or may become pregnant to have autonomy over their own bodies and exercise the right to an abortion. Friday’s decision has and will continue to have a major impact on the disability community, and especially those within the community who are multiply marginalized.

RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future. Our mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Self-determination and access to health care are crucial to ensuring that everyone in the disability community can fully access opportunities and have a better future.  [continue reading…]

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Nebraska on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Lincoln, NE, June 10 – This week, the Nebraska Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Cornhusker 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 Ollie Cantos, 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 110,000 working age (18-64) Nebraskans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 50.8 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Nebraska’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…]

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Oklahoma on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Oklahoma City, OK, April 28 – This week, the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development (GCWED) met to discuss the status of workforce practices in Oklahoma. 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 373,359 working age (18-64) Oklahomans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 37.8 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Oklahoma’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…]

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Montana on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Helena, MT, April 28 – This week, the Montana State Workforce Innovation Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in Montana. 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 73,328 working age (18-64) Montanans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 41.6 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Montana’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…]

“Economic Justice is Disability Justice”

Los Angeles, CA, April 26 – On Thursday, April 21, 2022, the Century Foundation and the Ford Foundation hosted the virtual event “Economic Justice is Disability Justice.” The event launched the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative, a first-of-its-kind initiative that brings together more than 28 leading disability organizations with an array of influential researchers and policy experts to drive a disability economic justice agenda.

Speakers from The Century Foundation shared the data that more than 31 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, people with disabilities in the United States still face poverty rates twice as high as non-disabled people. People with disabilities were paid just $0.74 for every dollar compared to nondisabled workers in 2020. This is the result of pervasive discrimination and the litany of structural barriers that continue to stand in the way of economic security and mobility for disabled people in this country. [continue reading…]

Advancing Competitive Integrated Employment: RespectAbility Advises AbilityOne Commission on Strategic Plan

U.S. AbilityOne Commission logo. Text: TestimonyWashington, D.C., April 13 – One of the nation’s oldest federal disability employment programs is looking ahead and adapting for the future. This week, the U.S. AbilityOne Commission finished collecting public comment and direct feedback on a new 2022-2026 Strategic Plan for the nation’s most important government program to employ people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

Originally founded in 1938 with the passage of the Wagner-O’Day Act, the AbilityOne program directly helps people who are blind or have significant disabilities through employment programs, contracts to satisfy government procurement needs, and a full range of services/supports.

Looking ahead to the future, the AbilityOne Commission, which oversees these programs, is rolling out a new strategic plan to decide on goals, set priorities, and measure success. In response, the national disability inclusion organization RespectAbility developed and submitted a clear set of recommendations and ideas on how to make this strategic plan better. [continue reading…]

Advancing Opportunities in Texas

RespectAbility Testimony in 2022

Austin, Texas, March 15 – This week, the Texas Workforce Commission met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Lone Star 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 1,809,900 working age (18-64) Texans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 40.6 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Texas’ Workforce Commission 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…]

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Minnesota on Solutions for People with Disabilities

St. Paul, MN, March 9 – This week, the Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the North Star 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 296,969 working age (18-64) Minnesotans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 48.1 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Minnesota’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…]

Fighting for Students with Disabilities: Spotlight on Roy Payan

Roy Payan headshotLos Angeles, CA, February 15 – RespectAbility Apprentice Roy Payan didn’t set out to spark a national conversation about disability access in higher education. However, when Payan – who is blind – found himself struggling to gain access to adequate and appropriate materials to complete math classes at Los Angeles Community College, he began his quest to make improvements for himself and other students with disabilities.

According to Payan, one campus official claimed, “there were not enough blind students to warrant a change.”

“He also informed me that if I desired, I was welcome to sue them, but that even if I won the case, he would not implement any changes,” Payan says. “So, I sued them.”

That was in 2016. [continue reading…]

The Future Economy – Will California’s Workforce Plans Help People with Disabilities?

Sacramento, CA, February 14 – How will the great state of California invest millions of federal and state dollars in support of jobseekers across the state? This is the central question at stake as the California Workforce Development Board publicly discusses further changes to the state’s California’s Unified Strategic Workforce Development Plan (State Plan) 2020-2023 Modification. In response, and in collaboration with partner organizations across the state, 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. We are glad to see the California board’s efforts to solicit public feedback and we are eager to collaborate on effective solutions for jobseekers with significant barriers to employment.”

There are more than 1.9 million working age (18-64) Californians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 38.2 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that California’s state workforce 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…]

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