New Federal Guidance for Healthcare Providers on Civil Rights Protections for Individuals with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

By Sean Slone, Senior Policy Analyst

“Our civil rights laws stand no matter what, including during disasters or emergencies, and it is critical that we work together to ensure equity in all that we do for all patients,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement.

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Upcoming Webinar to Highlight State Efforts to Increase Inclusive Apprenticeships

By Sean Slone, Senior Policy Analyst

States are moving forward in a variety of ways to ensure a future for apprenticeships that expands into new fields and offers greater inclusion for individuals with disabilities. A February 24 webinar from The Council of State Governments (CSG) will highlight the efforts of three states and the findings of a recent report from CSG and the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED), “The Future of Apprenticeship: Inclusion, Expansion, and the Post-Pandemic World of Work.” 

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The American Rescue Plan Act: State Recovery Plans Outline Intent to Support Workers with Disabilities

By Rachel Wright, Policy Analyst

In March 2021, Congress passed, and President Biden signed, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The $1.9 trillion package is intended to combat the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. ARPA established the State Fiscal Recovery Fund (SFRF), allocating $195.3 billion to the states, District of Columbia and U.S. territories for COVID-19 relief and recovery. SFRF funds are intended to support government programs that respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its negative economic impacts.

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The American Rescue Plan Act: Utilization of Federal Funds to Bolster Employment Supports for Persons with Disabilities

By Rachel Wright, Policy Analyst

Despite earlier evidence of higher unemployment rates among persons with disabilities compared to those without a disability, more recent employment data shows that two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, employment rates among people with disabilities have rebounded faster.  

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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Rule to Increase Minimum Wage for Federal Contract Employees

By Abeer Sikder, Policy Analyst

On November 24, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule that increases the hourly minimum wage to $15 for federal contract employees beginning January 30, 2022, up from the current rate of $10.95 per hour. The rule also eliminates the exemption for federal contractors with disabilities to be paid less than the minimum wage.

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Federal and State Subminimum Wage Legal and Policy Framework

State Exchange on Employment & Disability

Federal Legal and Policy Framework

Under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are authorized, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay subminimum wages (SMWs)—wages less than the federal minimum wage—to workers who have disabilities “for the job  being performed.” The certificate also allows the payment of wages that are less than the prevailing wage to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed on contracts subject to the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA).

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Ohio Program Sees Success With Disability Inclusion, Preparation for State Government Careers

By Sean Slone, Senior Policy Analyst

An Ohio vocational apprentice program championed by the governor is encouraging the hiring of individuals with disabilities in state government, program officials say. As National Apprenticeship Week is celebrated from November 15-21, the Ohio program’s early success, focus on disability inclusion, collaborative approach, and pandemic-era resilience may be worth a closer look for other states with the same goals.

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Apprenticeships the Focus of New CSG Report, Upcoming Zoom Event

By Sean Slone, Senior Policy Analyst

Despite some obstacles early on in the pandemic, apprenticeship programs appear to have a bright future with states exploring a variety of strategies to strengthen an important career pathway for all, including individuals with disabilities. While apprenticeships have traditionally been limited to industries like construction, manufacturing and transportation, that is starting to change with states and employers offering opportunities in fields like state government, health care, information technology, and cybersecurity.

That is one of the conclusions of a new report from The Council of State Governments and the State Exchange on Employment & Disability titled, “The Future of Apprenticeship: Inclusion, Expansion, and the Post-Pandemic World of Work.”

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First Episode Psychosis Webinar

Webinar Announcement

First Episode Psychosis Webinar

The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth will host a webinar on “Funding Mental Health Service Delivery for Youth with First Episode of Psychosis: Using Resources Available through the Workforce Development System and American Rescue Plan” on August 24 at 2 p.m. ET. This webinar, and an accompanying issue brief on “Supporting Recovery for Youth with First Episode Psychosis via the Workforce Development System and American Rescue Plan,” will address effective practices and funds for state and local policymakers to support people who experience their first episode of psychosis. Speakers will discuss funding options including community mental health service block grants, elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds, American Rescue Plan funds and more.

COVID 19: FEDERAL DISABILITY-SPECIFIC AND OTHER RELATED GUIDANCE

POLICY BRIEF 

COVID 19: FEDERAL DISABILITY-SPECIFIC AND OTHER RELATED GUIDANCE

Currently, state and local policymakers are adopting and implementing policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy brief summarizes guidance issued by Federal Government agencies that can assist in ensuring state and local policy aligns with our nation’s civil rights laws and other disability-related policies. 

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