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Month: January 2022

$500 Million Dollars for an Inclusive Recovery in California – Will It Help People with Disabilities?

Sacramento, CA, January 20 – This week, the government of California completed a request for information (RFI) for public feedback, ideas, and innovations on how to spend more than $600 million dollars that are part of the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF). In response to this request, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“The CERF and other financial investments under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represent unprecedented new resources for efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s new Chairman. “Now, as the pandemic continues to reshape our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.” 

There are more than 1.9 million working age (18-64) Californians living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, only 38.2 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that new federal investments to drive post-pandemic recovery reflect the perspectives of individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Perez Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, January 20 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and former Chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

Perez is the fourth candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

Maryland Democratic Party Gubernatorial Candidates Fail To Address Disability Issues At Education Forum

Annapolis, MD, January 18 – Earlier this month, seven of the Democratic candidates for Governor of Maryland gathered online for a forum on education issues affecting Marylanders. The event, which was hosted by Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Yvette Lewis, was an opportunity where the candidates could have addressed issues for the 98,188 students with disabilities enrolled in Maryland’s K-12 school system. However, disability issues were not specifically discussed and none of the candidates mentioned the word disability during the forum.

Said Philip Kahn-Pauli, who leads candidate outreach for the disability nonprofit RespectAbility, “Sadly, all of the Maryland Democratic candidates for Governor earned an “F” today due to their failure to address the issues that impact students with disabilities.” Of the students with disabilities enrolled in Maryland’s K-12 school system, there are 257 American Indian or Alaska Native students with disabilities, 2,991 Asian students with disabilities, 40,262 Black or African American students with disabilities, 16,203 Hispanic/Latino students with disabilities, 103 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander students with disabilities, 4,372 Biracial students with disabilities, and 34,000 White students with disabilities. Continued Kahn-Pauli, “Recognizing the barriers and complexities that impact these students is a crucial responsibility for the next governor.”

While the candidates at the Forum did not directly address the disability community, many of the issues discussed have a direct impact on people with disabilities. Former nonprofit executive and federal official Baron called for vaccine requirements for Maryland’s teachers. Former Attorney General Doug Gansler also called for mandatory vaccinations for teachers, but keeping schools open as much as possible. He claimed it was “unfair” for students from poor environments to rely on technology and online school. Former US Secretary of Labor and Former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez specifically talked about supporting mental health professionals. Other issues discussed at the forum included broadband access, financial literacy, discrimination, and career readiness programs.

Baron Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more. Annapolis, MD, January 7 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former nonprofit executive and federal official Jon Baron responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does…

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Connecticut on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Hartford, CT, January 3 – This week, the Connecticut Governor’s Workforce Council met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Nutmeg State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 202,632 working age (18-64) Connecticuters living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 42.9 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that the Governor’s Workforce Council listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.