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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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

Lincoln, NE, December 8 – Last 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 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 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…]

Headshots of 15 current RespectAbility ApprenticesLos Angeles, CA, December 6 – RespectAbility is excited to announce that starting in January 2022, 15 Apprentices in its National Leadership Program will be paid $15 an hour while they upskill for careers that will improve the lives of other people with disabilities. The National Leadership Program trains leaders who are committed to disability issues and plan to go into careers in public policy, advocacy, communications, diversity, equity and inclusion, fundraising, nonprofit management or faith-based inclusion. The “Earn While You Learn” program enables participants to gain skills and contacts while making a positive difference for people with disabilities.

This program is done virtually and is fully accessible for people with disabilities. It offers full-time job coaching, skills development, networking opportunities and assistive technology. Apprentices are expected to commit to at least 20 hours of work per week, and to participate in regularly scheduled team meetings and guest speaker sessions. Apprentices will work with the National Leadership Program Director to advance their career goals, including working on resumes and cover letters, practicing for interviews, and building up their professional network. [continue reading…]

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