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Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality

by RespectAbility USA
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Enabling People with Disabilities to Have Equality
Our team with Heidi Nel of Picture Motion
Our team with Heidi Nel of Picture Motion

Dear friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your earlier support! Because you have invested in us, I’d like to update you on key progress on our employment and stigma-busting work – transformative work that YOU helped make possible. Keep in mind that solving the issues of stigma and employment is not an overnight project. Still, major foundations are being laid. Since last November, we have achieved the following:

  • Identified and started to promote best practices for inclusive employment to all 50 teams working on state unified and combined plans for implementation of WIOA. In 2016, the federal government will start to distribute $17 billion a year through WIOA to all 50 states to increase employment and job training opportunities.[1] By educating government and workforce personnel working on employment creation programs about the disability issue and effective ways to include PwDs in the workforce – particularly young people with disabilities (PwDs) transitioning into the workplace – we are dramatically limiting the extension of failed policies that have been so prevalent and so damaging during the past years and seeing them replaced with best practices.
  • Identified companies that practice inclusive employment and promoted these examples and their bottom line benefits to other companies across America. Several national companies including EY, AT&T, and Comcast are recognizing the unique talents of PwDs and the benefits they bring to the table as employees. Our work through an online campaign #RespectTheAbility helps leverage market forces to increase well-paying employment opportunities for PwDs.
  • Raised public awareness of the abilities of PwDs through earned and paid media and constant promotion of positive images and stories that counter negative stereotypes. Our work includes identification of messaging and images that change perceptions, publication of articles and op-eds in national and local newspapers by well-known thought-leaders, PSA’s and, most recently helping to create A&E’s reality show Born this Way, which was recently renewed for a second season as it now tops 1 million viewers a week.
  • Reaching out on issues of voter access as well as directly to presidential candidates about jobs for PwDs. We have raised issues of accessibility in campaign websites, social media, ads, and live events. We have also spoken with 100 percent of the presidential candidates in a non-partisan way about these issues and covered their answers at www.TheRespectAbilityReport.org.

 

We are hard at work continuing and expanding these projects. However, it is worth noting that RespectAbility still is hampered by the fact that we are understaffed and under-resourced. We are eagerly reaching out to make new relationships with potential funders. We are deeply grateful for your earlier faith in our work. Please email JenniferM@RespectAbilityUSA.org with any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks for your investment in our work – and for the other amazing work you are doing on so many fronts!

 

[1]https://www.doleta.gov/wioa/

Team members with Ted Cruz
Team members with Ted Cruz
Team members with Hillary Clinton
Team members with Hillary Clinton
Our team with RSA Commissioner Janet LaBreck
Our team with RSA Commissioner Janet LaBreck
Our team with Rebecca Cokley of NCD
Our team with Rebecca Cokley of NCD
Our team with Tony Coelho, a main sponsor of ADA
Our team with Tony Coelho, a main sponsor of ADA

Links:

Fellow w/ Dem. Whip Steny Hoyer and John Pare
Fellow w/ Dem. Whip Steny Hoyer and John Pare

Dear friends,

I cannot thank you enough for your earlier support! Because you have invested in us, I’d like to update you on key progress on our employment and stigma-busting work – transformative work that YOU helped make possible. Keep in mind that solving the issues of stigma and employment is not an overnight project. Still, major foundations are being laid.

Between July and November 2015, RespectAbility continued to leverage three major events and a special project that can fundamentally improve opportunities for employment of people with disabilities (PwDs):

  • Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): helping states develop the most effective plans possible to expand employment for PwDs;
  • The 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): advancing the conversation at all levels nationally as to the need for and value of employment of PwDs;
  • The 2016 Presidential Campaign: building on the conversation and fact that all candidates will still be in a leadership position and be able to effect significant change whatever the outcome of the election.
  • Focusing many of our efforts on #RespectTheAbility, which showcases the successes from hiring PwDs, and other projects to maintain the momentum of all our work.

Implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): We are constantly following up by phone or in person with 100 percent of the states on their WIOA plans. We also hosted a WIOA and Disability Forum for key leaders at the Hall of States on Oct. 8th. This meeting brought together six governors’ Washington, D.C. representatives, our coalition partners, and Secretary Sheehy from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. We discussed challenges, best practices, and opportunities as the states move closer to the March 2016 deadlines for their state plans on WIOA implementation. In the last few weeks, for example, we met with 8 states and will continue until we have spoken once more with all 50 states. An example of the process can be found here: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/wioa-work-groups.    

Using media to educate about employment for PwDs - Op-eds, Reports, and Press Releases: We are working with our key partners to get out the word on WIOA and employment for PwDs. For example, USA Today – the #1 paper in America – recently posted a piece that we inspired and placed that was co-signed by two governors and the US Secretary of Labor. See http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/10/26/disability-employment-veterans-column/74491348. Our team wrote and submitted more than 50 op-eds that used the news hook of the 25th anniversary of the ADA to talk about employment of PwDs. We sent at least one op-ed to every state, and each contained data specific to that state, links to further resources, and the opportunities created by WIOA for PwDs. More than 40 of these were published in a total of 36 states, including Washington, D.C. We have distributed these op-eds widely through social media and have sent links to the governors.

Presidential Work and www.TheRespectAbilityReport.org: We have reached out to all of the campaigns to emphasize that candidates should speak about their plans to improve disability employment rates. It should be noted that our goal with our work is not to endorse or rate any of the candidates, but rather to ensure that PwDs are included in the candidates’ events, materials are accessible, and that our issues make it into stump speeches. We are keeping PwDs and their families updated on the candidates’ plans for those with disabilities through www.TheRespectAbilityReport.org/. RespectAbility has recruited more than a dozen other disability groups to work with us in our outreach to the candidates and campaigns. In Iowa and Nevada, we organized meetings with local disability organizations and campaign officials. Top officials came from Bush, Carson, Clinton, Cruz, O’Malley, Sanders, and Trump campaigns. As a result of these meetings, both the Bush and Clinton campaigns put captions on their website videos, the Clinton campaign had a sign language interpreter at an event the very next day and invited the deaf community to join, and all of the campaigns we met with have at least started to think about disability issues.

Employer Outreach and Private/Public Partnerships - #RespectTheAbility: We created and are leading a social media campaign to recognize employers who are on the front lines of hiring PwDs. The campaign, #RespectTheAbility, shows employers, society, and PwDs the benefits and successes that can be achieved from hiring those with disabilities. It is really a business-to-business campaign as we use quotes and examples from CEOs of some of the most successful companies on earth. See http://respectabilityusa.com/category/respecttheability.

Fellowship Expansion: We recently received a major grant from the Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation to support the evolution of our Fellowship Program. We are very excited for the opportunity to better prepare our fellows through professional development and career advancement experiences; it will provide more than two-dozen young adults (with and without disabilities) with intensive leadership and job training as they prepare to transition from school to work in public policy, media, advocacy, and nonprofit service and evolve into strong and articulate self-advocates and leaders. The grant also enabled us to move to a new home that is far better suited to our needs.

We are hard at work continuing and expanding these projects. However, it is worth noting that RespectAbility still is hampered by the fact that we are understaffed and under-resourced. We are eagerly reaching out to make new relationships with potential funders. We are deeply grateful for your earlier faith in our work.  Please email JenniferM@RespectAbilityUSA.org with any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks for your investment in our work – and for the other amazing work you are doing on so many fronts!

Our president with candidate Ted Cruz
Our president with candidate Ted Cruz
Our team with Eleanor Clift
Our team with Eleanor Clift
Our team with Jennifer Sheehy of ODEP
Our team with Jennifer Sheehy of ODEP
Team + TJ Lavin,Rep.Pete Sessions, Matt Cowdrey
Team + TJ Lavin,Rep.Pete Sessions, Matt Cowdrey
RespectAbility Fellow w/ candidate Bernie Sanders
RespectAbility Fellow w/ candidate Bernie Sanders

Links:

 

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Organization Information

RespectAbility USA

Location: Rockville, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Respect_Ability
Project Leader:
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Rockville, MD United States
$21,936 raised of $25,000 goal
 
120 donations
$3,064 to go
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