AWB Institute Granted Employment Network Status by Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has granted the AWB Institute status to operate as an Employment Network within the Ticket to Work Program.  The mission of the Ticket to Work program is to assist Social Security beneficiaries in becoming self-sufficient, and no longer relying on their disability benefits, or significantly reducing their reliance on SSA disability benefits.

Employment Networks (ENs) are organizations that have entered into an agreement with the SSA to provide employment support services to SSA disability beneficiaries.

Employers (particularly federal contractors and sub-contractors) can benefit from Ticket to Work as well in the form of hiring incentives to cover training or accommodation costs. AWB Institute will provide EN administrative support for individual employers and assist with compliance based on a memorandum of understanding, allowing the employer to receive Ticket to Work funds. According to AWB Institute Project Manager, Mike Hudson, “Ticket to Work can offer an incentive to employers to hire people with disabilities. By working thought the AWB Institute Employment Network a business can receive funds to offset the cost of training or providing accommodations.”

Watch this space to see how the AWB Institutes Employment Network can help your business recruit, hire and maintain people with disabilities and earn an incentive for your business through the Ticket to Work Program.

Governors Task Force Releases Initial Strategy List

Governor Inslee’s Task Force on Disability Employment has released its initial list of strategies.

Redefining the Inclusive Workplace: The Graying Effect

The “graying” effect. It’s a significant human capital issue that is prompting America’s employers to rethink the way they approach age and work. Every day, more and more workers turn age 65, but instead of retiring, many are choosing to stay on the job longer due to economic considerations and shifting expectations about retirement.

This is good news for employee retention. However, many of these skilled, experienced workers will develop disabilities as they age, or existing disabilities will affect them more. So to retain their talents and maintain productivity, employers are learning to implement a variety of inclusive workplace practices, most of which benefit all workers.

So called “older workers” may not realize that disability policies apply to them, but they know that they need or want to work. They also know what tools they need to do their jobs — whether it be a computer screen magnifier, an ergonomic chair or a flexible schedule to accommodate medical appointments. Similarly, employers may not be thinking about their talent management strategies as disability management responsibilities, but they’re probably using similar strategies to retain valued workers with and without disabilities and ensure they are productive.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy offers a range of resources related to older workers as well as practices to help retain them, such as flexible work arrangements and accommodations. Such inclusive practices enhance corporate continuity efforts. What’s more, they foster innovation by adding age-diverse perspectives when confronting business challenges to achieve success.

For additional news and resources, sign up for ODEP’s e-mail updates.

Analysis and Discussion of OFCCP’s New Regulations

Walking a Fine Regulatory Line analysis and discussion from Human Resource Executive Online of the OFCCP’s new regulations for hiring veterans and people with disabilities by government contractors.

Fed’s New Disability Hiring Rule And It’s Possible Affects

Cleveland plain Dealer: Fed’s new disability-hiring rule could broadly affect businesses, some worry

Society for Human Resource Management criticizes rule modifying federal contractors

New Section 503 Disability Regulations, Susan Schoenfeld: OFCCP issues new Section 503 disability regulations: What changed?

Labor Department Announces Final Rules

US Labor Department announces final rules to improve employment of veterans, people with disabilities

Final Rule: Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act

Final Rule: Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act

Washington Post; Labor Department rules to increase hiring of veterans, disabled workers

HR Policy Association calls DOL new disability/veteran regulation part of an “Aggressive Agenda”

The Spirit of Adaptability

Darwin Got It Right, Everybody Else Got It Wrong

Al tho he didn’t coin it, Charles Darwin certainly popularized the term, “Survival of the fittest.” He knew what he was talking about. Darwin

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

meant it as a metaphor for “better adapted for immediate, local environment”,unfortunately, most people took it to mean “in the best physical shape”. (Which in later years would evolve [pun intended] into  the eugenics movement as “only the strongest should survive.”)

Is Your Company Strong Enough To Adapt?

Gary Karp, founder of Modern Disability is a nationally know author, speaker, and trainer. Gary has been a wheelchair user since he fell out of a tree when he was 17 years old. He recently published a post on his blog titled: The Spirit of Adaptability. It is something that every business needs to understand or pay the consequences.

The Spirit of Adaptability

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Disability & Culture, Disability and Employment, Disability and Work | 0 comments

When the spirit of Modern Disability is infused into your workplace culture, profound effects flow into your organization. This first-in-a-series article looks at a core, foundational piece of this influential spirit: adaptability.

People with disabilities of all kinds and all degrees who are out there living their lives fully will tell you that they have learned an essential fact of being human: we are innately adaptable beings. This adaptability is not something we see only in rare, inspirational figures who “overcome” their disabilities. It’s just how they do what they do. It’s common.

We adapt in a functional sense, finding ways to do what we need to do. I can’t walk, so I adapt by becoming skilled as a wheelchair user. A blind person uses screen reader technology to use a computer. A person who is deaf communicates with sign language, forming an actual culture of expression and art with it. People innovate and design and develop low- and hi-tech solutions. And so on.

We also adapt with acceptance. It’s our nature to find a frame where we feel alright about ourselves. People discover that having a disability doesn’t preclude high self-esteem, confidence, and valuing ourselves as precious individuals. Again, this is not a rare thing. It’s a common thing for people with disabilities who choose to embrace their lives.

These are extremely powerful qualities to be modeled in the workplace. When people with disabilities are part of the team, everyone else witnesses this universal spirit of adaptability. They see that it as a way of life for them.

What’s the essence of adaptability at its core? Problem solving. For people with disabilities, their orientation is to look for what’s possible, and how to make it happen. They tend to look at things in terms of “how can we?,” not “we can’t.” They are oriented to possibility, not limitation.

This is an especially important view to have infused in the thinking of existing employees. When someone acquires a disability, and they understand that disability is something to which we first attempt to adapt, the process that follows works much better — for the individual and the employer.

This is a matter of law; when someone reports a disability, the “Interactive Process” is set in motion. The worker and employer attempt to design a transitional work program in response to the disability. They seek to adapt.

Transitional work programs are designed to spare an organization from losing a valuable employee — and they work. Employment has been proven to be rehabilitative. The more people think in terms of adaptability, the more of a commitment they will make to a collaborative process of finding out how to stay at work or return to work as effectively as possible.

This doesn’t succeed simply because some legislation imposes a requirement on the workplace. The interactive process is far more likely to produce success when an employee understands disability as adaptability. That person will make a deeper commitment to the process, and not be as slowed by doubts about their ability to work with their disability.

A hiring manager who sees disability as an adaptable thing rather than a limiting thing is far more likely to recognize the value of a job candidate who happens to have a disability. What matters is finding people who will make the best contribution to the goals and mission of the organization. That manager is going to better assess a candidate with a disability if they are tuned into their adaptable, problem-solving nature.

The spirit of adaptability that disability awareness brings to a workplace is extremely good business. It fosters creativity and a greater willingness to search for solutions to problems. It keeps good people on the job rather than going off “on disability” and collecting benefits. It saves organizations from a degree of recruiting and rehiring and ramping up of a new person — who might not work out then you have to do it all over again — when a valued existing employee acquires a disability.

The spirit of adaptability helps your organization attract and keep good people, contributes to success, and saves tons of money.




Governor Signs Executive Order On disability Hiring

Governor Signs Disability Employment Executive Order

gov signsGov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order directing state agencies to improve their efforts in hiring people with disabilities. At a press conference after the signing, Inslee said, “This executive order recognizes that the state has a vested interest in working to reduce discrimination in hiring and promoting a diverse workforce that is reflective of the diversity of our population.” The executive order only applies to state hiring and the governor recognized that private industry has done a better job of hiring people with disabilities than state government. However, the current unemployment rate for people with disabilities (willing and able to work) is more than 60 percent.

The AWB Institute is a partner in the Department of Labor/Employment Security Department’s Disabilities Employment Innovation grant. Supporting the grant, AWBI has created a website, WA HireAbility Spotlight, highlighting the efforts of employers in hiring people with disabilities.

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