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

Portland, ME, December 15 – This week, the Maine State Workforce Development Board’s Commission on Disability and Employment met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Pine Tree 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 working age 112,518 (18-64) Mainers living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, only 36.2 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Maine’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 Virginia on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Richmond, VA, December 15 – This week, the Virginia Board of Workforce Development (VBWD) will meet to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Old Dominion 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 491,946 working age (18-64) Virginians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 43.3 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that VBWD 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 Washington State on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Olympia, WA, December 15 – This week, the Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Evergreen 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 478,673 working age (18-64) Washingtonians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 42 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Washington’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…]

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Labor Force Participation Rate for People with Disabilities is Two Percent Higher Than Before The Pandemic

Washington, D.C., December 11 – With the holiday season here and 2022 around the corner, workers with disabilities face a transformed labor market hungry for their ideas, innovations, and insights. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities is now at 37.7 percent. This number is fully 2 percentage points higher than it was before the pandemic started.

What does this mean for Americans with disabilities? It means that more than a million people with disabilities got jobs or started a business! A historic number of workers with disabilities are seeking work, improving their skills, starting new jobs and earning an income, just like anyone else. [continue reading…]

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

Burlington, VT, December 10 – This week, the Vermont Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Green Mountain 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 45,000 working age (18-64) Vermonters living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 41.5 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Vermont’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 Delaware on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Dover, DE, December 10 – This week, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Delaware Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the First 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 66,000 working age (18-64) Delawareans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 40.9 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Delaware’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…]

New Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund Grant Opens Opportunity to Hire Jews with Disabilities

RespectAbility is Seeking Three Talented Jews with Disabilities Who Want to Work in Fundraising or Development

RespectAbility team members on a Zoom meeting giving a thumbs up and smiling

RespectAbility Apprentices and Staff

Los Angeles, CA, December 10 – RespectAbility is pleased to announce the opportunity for three talented Jews with disabilities to join the inaugural cohort of our Jewish Development Apprenticeship. This “earn-while-you-learn” opportunity builds on our many years of success training talented college graduates with disabilities to work in the nonprofit sector. Thanks in part to the generosity of the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund (JVPF), we have an opportunity to adapt this program to target the skills needed for working in the Jewish sector, and place our graduates with Los Angeles based and other Jewish nonprofits.

Apprentices will gain skills and experience while working alongside RespectAbility for the first part of their apprenticeship. They will then take these skills to a development placement at another Jewish nonprofit, where they will contribute to the mission while demonstrating their capability. Through their success, the Jewish community at large will see the capability of Jews with disabilities. [continue reading…]

Netflix’s “All the Light We Cannot See” Authentically Casts Newcomer Aria Mia Loberti

Aria Mia Loberti headshot

Aria Mia Lobreti as self in All the Light We Cannot See. Cr. Ryan Collerd/Netflix © 2021

Los Angeles, Dec. 9 – Following a a worldwide search for blind and low vision actresses, Aria Mia Loberti will make her acting debut in the bestselling Pulitzer Prize winning adaptation of “All the Light We Cannot See.”

Loberti will play Marie-Laure, a blind teenager, whose path collides with Werner, a German soldier, as they both try to survive the devastation of World War II in occupied France. While she has no formal acting training, she beat out thousands of submissions.

She also is an advocate for people with disabilities, especially those who, like she, are blind or low-vision. These efforts have taken her from her small Rhode Island hometown to global forums like the United Nations, UN Women, TEDx, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, and beyond. [continue reading…]

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

Boston, MA, December 9 – This week, the MassHire State Workforce Board (MSWB) met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Bay 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 new 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 374,000 working age (18-64) Bay Staters living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 41.4 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Massachusetts’ 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…]

Zeno Mountain Farm Wins Media Access Award for Groundbreaking Film “Best Summer Ever”

Rickey Alexander Wilson and Shannon DeVido singing in a scene from Best Summer Ever. Logo for the film.Los Angeles, Dec. 9 – Zeno Mountain Farm continues to welcome honors following the production of award-winning feature film Best Summer Ever, an inclusive musical featuring eight original songs and a fully-integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities. At the 2021 Media Access Awards last month, Zeno Mountain Farm won the SAG – AFTRA Disability Awareness Award, an annual award presented to an individual or organization for their work advancing the public awareness of the vast potential of disabled Americans.

The Media Access Awards honors people in the film and television industries who are advancing the accurate portrayals and employment of people with disabilities. This annual show, done in partnership with Easterseals Disability Services, honors entertainment industry professionals who have advanced authentic disability-related narratives and employment in fields of writing, producing, casting, performance, and directing. [continue reading…]

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