CSG Webinar Explores Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Strategies

By Shawntaye Hopkins

The Council of State Governments’ recent Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work webinar explored policies that help people in the workforce following disability or injury incurred on or off the job. The webinar also reviewed ways in which policymakers can use the CSG Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Toolkit as a resource.

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States Launch Pilot Projects to Retain Workers with Disabilities

By Sydney Geiger

Eight states have launched projects aiming to provide opportunities for people who experience mid-career disabilities to remain in and return to the workforce. After a competitive selection process, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in partnership with DOL’s Employment and Training Administration and the Social Security Administration awarded eight states with funding for RETAIN Demonstration Projects.

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Hawaii Hosts “Reverse” Job Fair for People with Disabilities

By Sierra Hatfield

State legislators and government agencies from Hawaii hosted an “Empowering All Abilities” Job Fair for persons with developmental disabilities on Oct. 30 at the Hawaii Capitol. During the fair, each job seeker had a table set up with a presentation board that showcased their interests, strengths and abilities. Prospective employers visited each job seeker’s booth. The idea came from Hawaii state Reps. John Mizuno and Lynn DeCoite, who wanted to create an environment where employers had the responsibility of appealing to potential employees – a “reverse” job fair. 

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CSG to Launch Workforce Development Toolkit

By Sydney Geiger

During the 2018 National Conference, CSG will release the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAT/RTW) Toolkit. The U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s State Exchange on Employment and Disability collaborated on the toolkit. It was designed to provide states with policy options, best practices and implementation strategies to aid efforts in increasing employment retention and labor force participation of employees who acquire, or are at risk of developing, work disabilities.    

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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

By Sydney Geiger

Oct. 1 marks the start of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy began celebrating NDEAM in 1945. People with disabilities continually face unemployment rates much higher than the national average. Each year, October is designated to highlight the importance of developing an inclusive workforce of individuals with a variety of abilities.

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Oregon Workgroup Aims to Improve Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities

By Matthew Shafer

The Council of State Governments, in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislators, or NCSL, and the State Exchange on Employment and Disability, or SEED, provided technical assistance to Oregon’s House Workgroup on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities. The workgroup is made up of representatives from Oregon’s House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee chaired by Rep. Jeff Reardon. Other members include Rep. Gene Whisnant, the vice chair, and Rep. Janeen Sollman.

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Question of the Month: What policies are in place in the Midwest to increase the number of state contracts going to minority- and female-owned businesses?

By Tim Anderson

No state in the Midwest requires that a certain percentage of contracts be given to minority- or women-owned businesses. (Outside the region, Connecticut requires that 6.25 percent of the value of state and local government contracts go to companies owned by women, minorities or disabled individuals.) However, at least three states have specific goals set in statute: Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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Kentucky Work Matters Task Force Meeting Resources

By Trevor Freeman

On September 27th, 2017, the Kentucky Work Matters Task Force will convene once again to discuss disability employment policies.  This task force was convened by Governor Matt Bevin in June of 2017.  The mission of the Kentucky Work Matters Task Force is “to address barriers to employment and promote workforce inclusion among people with disabilities, foster children, disabled veterans, individuals with substance abuse issues and individuals with criminal records”.  This committee is working to develop recommendations for disability employment policies and will provide a report to Governor Bevin by the end of 2017.  The Kentucky Work Matters Task Force is part of CSG’s continued disability employment policy initiative and an outgrowth of the National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities.

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Advice for States on Improving Disability Employment from Oregon Representative Gene Whisnant

By Matthew Shafer

Individuals with disabilities are major contributors to the modern workforce. However, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities is almost double  the unemployment rate of the general population according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Taking the proper steps to provide workers with disabilities the appropriate accommodations could reduce this high unemployment rate, and provide opportunities to thrive at work. Employment is the most direct and cost-effective means to empower individuals to achieve independence, economic self-sufficiency, and a sense of dignity and self-worth.

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Workforce Development Efforts for People with Disabilities: Entrepreneurship, Tax Incentives and Procurement

By Elizabeth Whitehouse

The Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures assembled a national task force to focus on workforce development efforts targeting people with disabilities in the states. This task force had four subcommittees composed of state policymakers along with non-voting stakeholders from the private sector and academia. The last in a four-part series that coincides with the subcommittee topics, this CSG policy brief highlights the recommendations from the Entrepreneurship, Tax Incentives and Procurement, or ETIP, subcommittee of the National Task Force on Workforce Development and Employability for People with Disabilities. This research brief builds on the work of the ETIP subcommittee by further exploring the role that states can play in supporting entrepreneurs with disabilities through education, training and technical assistance strategies.

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