Along the Boston Marathon course each year, some spectators are there just to see Dick and Rick Hoyt—Team Hoyt, they’re called, and they’ve been Boston Marathon stalwarts since 1981.
But last year, after three decades of competing in the race, Dick and Rick Hoyt decided 2013 would be their last. They never made it to the finish, though; they were among the almost 6,000 runners stopped on the course when the bombs went off. This year, Team Hoyt ran one last race, this time in honor of all the people killed and injured in the bombings. They didn’t imagine becoming such VIPs back when they first raced together when Rick was 15 years old. Rick has cerebral palsy, the aftermath of oxygen being cut off to his brain when he was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Rick’s mind is intact but he can’t speak or control his limbs. He did attend school, and one day he used his computerized voice to tell his dad about a charity road race. It was for a student lacrosse player who’d been badly injured in an accident.
“When Rick came home he told me all about it,” Dick recalled, “he said, ‘Dad, I have to do something for him. I want to let him know life goes on even though he’s paralyzed. I want to run in the race.’”
Rick is a graduate of Boston College and lives in his own apartment.
Employees who care for children with disabilities may be aware of recent data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Studies, which states that while more Americans are graduating high school, only 61% of students with disabilities obtained diplomas in 2011-2012. Students with disabilities make up about 13% of all students nationally. The report also indicated that the success rate of students with disabilities varies by state. Students with disabilities who do move on to college may benefit from the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a database of college students with disabilities, including veteran students seeking internships and full-time employment.
Kathleen Martinez, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, wrote a blog post explaining why this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme is “Expect, Employ, Empower.” She explains how the 3 Es are part of a cycle of inclusion that everyone, especially employers, must embrace.
US LABOR DEPARTMENT’S OFFICE OF DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT POLICY SIGNS ALLIANCE AGREEMENT WITH THE PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL ATHLETIC TRAINERS SOCIETY
ODEP’s latest alliance aimed at increasing the employment of people with disabilities is with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. PBATS sees this alliance as an opportunity to use the “power of baseball” to help change the public perception about the value of employing individuals with disabilities.
EMPLOYMENT HURDLES REMAIN FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Even though the jobless rate for people with disabilities has gone up in May from the previous month, the Labor Department is reporting that more people with disabilities were employed in May. This disparity is believed to reflect the growing number of people with disabilities included in monthly employment figures.
A new white paper has been prepared for the US Department of Labor. It examines the evolution of ideas from ODEP research and concludes that marketing, among others, is one of the critical components needed for an effective employer engagement strategy for engaging with the business community and encouraging the hiring of people with disabilities.
NEW RULES MAY MEAN JOBS FOR NEARLY 500,000 WITH DISABILITIES
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which went into effect in March, prohibits the discrimination in employment on the basis of disabilities, and sets an aspirational goal for federal contractors to employ 7% of individuals with disabilities. It is expected to have a significant impact on the employment rate of this untapped labor force. This article discusses some of the perceived obstacles to achieving this goal. For example, many companies probably are near the 7% goal already, but employees do not feel comfortable self-identifying. The goal is for employers to make their places of business a disability-friendly environment and promote a culture of diversity and inclusion.
EARN STAFF TO PRESENT AT SHRM ANNUAL CONFERENCE & EXPOSITION
Judy Young, Director of the National Employer Technical Assistance Center (NETAC) and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), and Kathleen Lee, Project Coordinator and NETAC Business Outreach Specialist, will be presenting a concurrent session at the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition held June 23-25 in Orlando, FL. The presentation, scheduled for June 25 at 10:00 a.m., is titled “From War to Workplace: Strategies for Recruiting and Hiring Veterans with Disabilities” and will provide resources and practical strategies for hiring, retaining, and accommodating veterans with disabilities in the workplace. Ms. Young is also the Associate Director of Training and Development at the Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) in Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
*In May 2014, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 25.8% for persons with disabilities compared with 71.7% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 45.9%, not seasonally adjusted.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND DISABLED VETERANS:MAKING WORK HAPPEN ONLINE TOOLKITS
Making Work Happen is now offering tutorials specifically for employers and service providers to help with accommodating employees and veterans with disabilities. The toolkits focus on strategies for inclusiveness in employment.
SENATE MOVES CLOSER TO PASSING MEASURE ON VETERANS JOBS, TAX BREAKS EXTENSION
Senate lawmakers have advanced legislation that will encourage employers to hire veterans. The Hire More Heroes Act allows employers to exempt veterans from the total count of employees when it comes to providing health insurance since veterans already have government-provided health insurance. Basically, employers with businesses with less than 50 employees will be able to hire veterans without worrying about going over the 50 employee limit that would necessitate providing affordable insurance for all their employees.
INDIANA ADDS VETERAN PROTECTION TO CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
Starting July 1st in Indiana, veterans will now be included as a group under the protection of the Indiana Civil Rights Act. A veteran under the ICRA includes not only someone who served in the U.S. armed forces, but also a member of the Indiana National Guard or a reserves component of the armed forces. Employers in Indiana need to assess their policies and practices to make sure there is no discrimination against veterans.
PARTICIPATE: CORNELL SURVEY ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE & DISABILITY
Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute is conducting survey research related to the work-life balance of adults with disabilities/chronic health conditions. Tell us about the culture/climate of your workplace, how you manage the demands of work and other aspects of your life, and how disability may impact the strategies you use to manage responsibilities at work and in your personal life.
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE TO PROVIDE $15M IN GRANTS FROM US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
In recognition of the fact that people with disabilities have an enormous contribution to make to the workforce, the Disability Employment Initiative is providing $15 million in grant funding to state workforce agencies. The goal is to develop strategies to increase the participation of people with disabilities in existing career pathways programs in the public workforce system.
AT JOB CENTERS, VETERANS ‘GO TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE’
BloggerSecretary Perez of the US Department of Labor announced at a recent conference that veterans are to get “priority of service” at the nation’s 3,000 American Job Centers, where their skills, abilities and employment needs are assessed and they are connected to a much broader network of employment opportunities. Read more here.
WORKFORCE RECRUITMENT PROGRAM SEEKS FEDERAL EMPLOYEES TO RECRUIT STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. The WRP is the primary pipeline bringing students and recent graduates with disabilities into federal employment. Volunteers are needed to act as WRP recruiters for the upcoming recruitment season, which runs from October 20 through November 19, 2014. Recruiters must be federal employees who can commit to conducting at least 10 30-minute phone interviews with students from across the country, and to evaluating each student candidate in writing. The required recruiter training is conducted online and can be completed in about 90 minutes. Registration is open until August 22, 2014.