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Advocacy Webinars

From Compliance to Programmatic Accessibility: Best Practices for American Job Centers

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In the 8 years since the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was passed into law, the American economy has profoundly changed. Major structural changes among industries, companies, and contractors have accelerated thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and new economic policies from the Biden Administration. Throughout these tumultuous years, American Job Centers (AJCs) / America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs) have been crucial for the delivery of workforce services to thousands of workers. As the labor force participation rate for workers with disabilities rapidly increases to historical highs, jobseekers with disabilities need supports and services that will meet their needs and help them earn an income. However, the working professionals at AJCs/AJCCs may not have received any formal training on disability etiquette, accessibility, assistive technology, or best practices.

This webinar offered a high-level overview of proven practices and lessons learned for serving jobseekers with disabilities through the workforce development system. Attendees learned from a subject matter expert who has collected simple, practical, and cost-effective solutions to help advance opportunities for jobseekers with disabilities. [continue reading…]

Overcoming Barriers and Work Disincentives Listening Session

Presented by United Spinal and RespectAbility


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More than 80 million people living in America depend on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for essential services. Looking at the challenge facing these Americans, leaders at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have recently released a Request for Information (RFI) to the public. This RFI is a tremendous opportunity for people with disabilities to directly weigh in and share their lived experiences accessing care or overcoming barriers to work.

United Spinal Association logoRespectAbility and United Spinal, two national disability organizations, joined forces to host a special listening session to solicit feedback, input, and ideas from the people most directly impacted by the work disincentives in Medicaid. Led by a panel of subject matter experts and self-advocates, this session guided the development and submission of public comments to CMS to help Medicaid better serve the disability community and improve opportunities for employment and success. [continue reading…]

Advocacy Burnout: What Is It & How Do We Avoid It?

A Conversation with Disabled Creatives and Advocates, Tatiana Lee and Lesley Hennen

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Navigating the Entertainment industry can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for anyone. And when you’re a person with multiple underrepresented identities, disability included, the feeling of burnout can become real very quickly. This event was a conversation between RespectAbility Entertainment & News Media team members, Tatiana Lee & Lesley Hennen. They shared their experiences and tips for navigating advocacy as disabled creatives, and how to handle the inevitable burnout that comes with it. [continue reading…]

Lessons Learned from Kennedy Krieger Institute: Neurodiversity, Collaboration and Transition Success for Youth with Disabilities

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Neurodiversity, system collaborations and transition services for youth with disabilities are some of the most cutting-edge topics in the wider world of disability employment. Fostering cooperation between different programs is critical for achieving transformative results for people with significant barriers to employment.

The Neurodiversity at Work programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute is built on a foundation of interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration. It offers critical lessons and emerging practices for other youth serving agencies, organizations, and programs. This webinar discussed in detail what makes Kennedy Krieger’s work successful. [continue reading…]

Learning The Lessons of 2020: Voting, Accessibility, and Voters with Disabilities

Lessons from the 2020 Election for approximately 38 million Voters with Disabilities.


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Amid a global pandemic, fierce civil strife and a major economic crisis, millions of Americans safely and securely cast their ballots in 2020. More than in any previous election, the disability community was engaged, active, and made their voices heard. What lessons need to be learned from this election? How did expanded mail and absentee voting options help people with disabilities? What barriers still keep members of America’s largest minority community from casting their ballots? How did COVID-19 change the electoral landscape?

These are some of the critical questions answered by the groundbreaking work of Professors Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse of the Rutgers Program for Disability Research. Professors Schur and Kruse joined RespectAbility for a special webinar reflecting on what their research shows and how future elections can be more inclusive. This webinar reflected on research recently published by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and identified key topics for future disability advocacy. [continue reading…]

Poll-Driven Messaging to Achieve Positive Change for People with Disabilities

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In the aftermath of one of the most divisive election cycles in recent memory, it may come as a surprise that there is a proven place for positive messages that will win hearts and minds on critical issues facing Americans.  Over the course of nearly a decade, RespectAbility has engaged in strategic public opinion research in order to advance opportunities and reduce stigma for people with disabilities.

Nearly 30 years from passing the ADA, research shows that pre-COVID, 70% of working age Americans (ages 18-64) with disabilities were out of the workforce, even though 71% say that they want to work.  And, these staggering figures have remained largely unchanged since the ADA.  While there are systemic policy and legislative challenges to advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, research consistently shows that whether it be “overt or unconscious bias,” stigma is the primary barrier.

Which begs the question, how do people with disabilities and those who care about them crush this barrier?

The short answer is positive, inclusive, hopeful messages supported by clear impactful facts that matter to a persuadable audience.

Join RespectAbility and pollster Meagan Buren of Buren Research & Communications for an in-depth review of messaging research on increasing opportunities for people with disabilities. Across many sectors from politics to philanthropy to religious institutions, positive messaging works! [continue reading…]

Making Your Voices Heard: Civic Engagement Strategies for People with Disabilities in 2021 and Beyond

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In his final words to the nation, the late Rep. John Lewis said that “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part…” Those words have never been truer than today. Voters with disabilities have turned out in record breaking numbers to cast their ballots in 2020. However, being an active participant in America’s democracy does not end after you cast your ballot on Election Day. [continue reading…]

Voters with Disabilities and the Outcome of the 2020 Election: New Data and New Surprises

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Election Topline – WordPDF
Election-Eve Topline – WordPDF

Now that the dust has settled on the outcome of the 2020 election, new data has poured in about voter preferences, turnouts, and ticket splitting. From the Democratic primaries all the way to election day, there have been unprecedented efforts by candidate for public office to talk about the issues most important to the approximately 38 million eligible voters with disabilities. Polling conducted earlier this year showed that the votes of the disability community were up for grabs all the way to November.

Watch the reveal of a new election day poll of over 2,400 voters completed by the national public opinion and political strategy research firm Lake Research Partners and in partnership with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). Our exciting panel helped make sense of how candidate outreach to voters with disabilities may have swung the election and where the disability community stands in relation to other underrepresented communities. [continue reading…]

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