March 4, 2014
We post our bi-weekly bulletin to keep you up to date on disability-related resources, news, and other items of interest. Make sure to also check our "News" section to find significant updates from previous bulletins that are still relevant. This information is being provided solely for non-commercial, nonprofit educational purposes, including news reporting and research. It is not intended for commercial purposes. Further, we understand that our readers generally read the articles and information online, at the Web sites provided in the hypertext links, rather than relying solely on our synopses or copies. We are not responsible for the accessibility or the content of other Web sites. Please be aware that some links provided are time sensitive, and may become inactive at any time.
We include links to articles, editorials and opinion pieces, press releases, and other materials that represent diverse perspectives. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of any products, services, sources, information, or opinions expressed in these materials.
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is currently recruiting for three positions, Office Administrator, Training Coordinator, and Project Specialist.
The Federal Communications Commission recently unanimously approved new, more comprehensive rules for TV closed captioning to ensure that viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing have full access to programming. This action resolves decade-long concerns from deaf and hard of hearing communities to improve captioning quality and provides much needed guidance to video programming distributors and programmers. The new standards, including accuracy, timeliness, and on-screen placement of closed captions will ensure full access to TV programming for Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. The new rules apply to all television programming with captions. Specifically, the Order adopts quality standards for accuracy, synchronicity (timing), program completeness, and placement of closed captions.
The US Business Leadership Network® (USBLN®) is now seeking applications for its new Executive Education Scholarships for certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBE®s) to attend the Tuck School at Dartmouth University for a week-long educational program. These five scholarships, underwritten by Wells Fargo, underscore the role that executive education plays in providing business leaders innovative learning tools for the continuous improvement of their companies. Applicants must be DOBE®s and meet the selection criteria, including USBLN® certification, 3-10+ years in business, and the ability to articulate a future vision and business direction. Applications deadline is March 10.
Federal Communications Commission Accepting Nominations for Third Annual Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility – Deadline March 31
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking nominations for the third annual Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. The awards honor outstanding private and public sector initiatives that advance accessibility for people with disabilities. Awards will be given in several categories. The contest is open to any individual or entity in the public or private sector, or a combination thereof. Self-nominations and those made by a third party will be accepted. Winners and honorable mentions will receive their awards from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in June 2014. Nominations must be emailed by March 31.
Amy Goldman Appointed to the National Joint Committee for the Communication needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities
Amy S Goldman, Co-Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities, has been appointed to the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Communications Disabilities. The committee advocates for persons with intellectual disabilities (including those with multiple disabilities) who have significant communication needs; it coordinates policy development efforts as well as the development of position statements and guidelines on assessment, service delivery, continuing education, and preparation, among other priorities.
Justice Department Finds Pennsylvania State Prison’s Use of Solitary Confinement Violates Rights of Prisoners Under the Constitution and Americans with Disabilities Act
The Justice Department issued a findings letter detailing the results of its investigation into the use of solitary confinement on prisoners with serious mental illness at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Cresson in Cambria County, Pa. The department found that Cresson’s use of long-term and extreme forms of solitary confinement on prisoners with serious mental illness, many of whom also have intellectual disabilities, violates their rights under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The NIDRR-funded AbleData project recently released Tips for Choosing Assistive Technology (AT) Products for Yourself (PDF). The guide offers advice on determining what type of assistance is needed and finding appropriate AT solutions that offer the best performance, comfort, cost, and reliability.
In January 2014, the employment rate of people 16-64 years of age was 24.1% for persons with disabilities compared with 70.4% for persons without a disability. The gap between the employment rate of persons of 16-64 years of age with and without disabilities was 46.3%, not seasonally adjusted.
The NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC) and the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Individual-Level Characteristics Related to Employment Among Individuals with Disabilities (IC-RRTC) released National Trends in Disability Employment 2013 Review/2014 Preview, a special edition of the Trends in Disability Employment (TIDE) National Update. The report includes a year-end review of employment trends for people with disabilities and a look forward to the job picture for 2014.
On February 20, 2014, the FCC proposed rules to provide 911 emergency call centers with more accurate information about the location of people who call 911 using cell phones or smartphones.FCC rules currently require some outdoor location information about wireless callers to be sent automatically to 911 emergency call centers. The FCC wants to require more information about the location of wireless callers who are indoors – to identify the building, the floor, and perhaps the room, office, or apartment where the wireless call originated. These requirements will rely on the advancing capabilities of indoor location technology. Improving location accuracy for wireless calls to 911 may be particularly important for individuals with disabilities and for people who are not able to provide their address or describe their location to the emergency call center. Comment deadline dates will be announced after the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register.
Baptist Health South Florida, Inc., one of the largest health care organizations in South Florida employing approximately 14,000 individuals at eight facilities, will pay $215,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency recently announced. The EEOC's suit alleged that Baptist Health South Florida and Doctor's Hospital discriminated against a general practitioner when they reversed their decision to accommodate the doctor's epilepsy by permitting her to limit her workday to eight hours a day. Ultimately, the EEOC said, the company fired her because of her disability. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to reasonably accommodate disabled employees unless it causes an undue hardship.
On February 11, 2014, a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied United Parcel Services, Inc.’s (“UPS”) motion to dismiss in EEOC v. UPS, Inc., a lawsuit alleging that UPS violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) with respect to an “unidentified class” of individuals for maintaining a leave policy providing that employees will be administratively separated from employment after twelve months of leave. The ruling is significant for all employers dealing with sick, injured, and disabled employees.
Trainings and Webinars
The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center invites interested speakers to share their experience and expertise with their colleagues at the 21th annual Mid-Atlantic ADA Update conference on September 17 and 18, 2014 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel near Baltimore, MD. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Update is the region's leading conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The 2 day conference features 20 breakout sessions covering 4 topical tracks and a plenary panel session with invited representatives from, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Justice, Federal Transit Administration, and the United States Access Board. Deadline to submit proposal is March 14, 2014.
The NIDRR-funded Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center is seeking veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while serving on active duty for a study of health information needs. The study includes a 60-minute telephone interview and questionnaire. Qualified participants will be compensated $75 for their time. For questions or to volunteer, call 202/403-5600 or email email@example.com.
Disability.gov is currently seeking participants for its second "No Boundaries" photo project, which will profile four individuals who embrace the theme of "living well with a disability." Participants will be chosen to represent diversity in age, ethnicity and nature of disability. The photo shoots will take place the week of April 7 in the Washington, D.C. area. Anyone can apply, but no monetary compensation or reimbursement for travel expenses can be provided.
Think Beyond the Label will hold an online career fair on March 5, 1:00-4:00 PM EST. The event will connect companies to qualified candidates with disabilities from Think Beyond the Label's online community of candidates and its partnerships with employment services agencies and student organizations nationwide. Job seekers will have the opportunity to engage with recruiters one-on-one in this real-time forum. Registration is free for job seekers. Think Beyond the Label is a public-private partnership that delivers information, outreach and resources to businesses, job seekers and the public workforce system to ensure greater recruiting and hiring opportunities for job candidates with disabilities.
The HSC Foundation’s Advocates in Disability Award Program is Seeking the Next Generation of Disability Advocates
The Advocates in Disability Award (ADA) program, funded by The HSC Foundation and the Sarah Beth Coyote Foundation, awards and encourages a young adult with a disability between the ages of 14 and 26 who is dedicated to positively affecting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. The program also supports an innovative project developed by the recipient to serve and empower individuals with disabilities. The selected recipient is awarded $3,000 in recognition of his or her disability advocacy and receives up to an additional $7,000 in funding support for a project to benefit the disability community. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application submission and recipient selection. Applications must be received by 5:00 PM EST on April 11, 2014.
The 2014 Maryland Youth Leadership Forum (YLF), a unique career and leadership program that provides high school students with disabilities the opportunity to develop their leadership, independence and self-advocacy skills, has been scheduled for June 7 and June 24-25, 2014. Conducted under the direction of Independence Now, Inc., a center for independent living serving Montgomery and Prince George's counties, the forum is open to Maryland students in their final two years of high school. The Youth Leadership Forum is designed to provide students a taste of college life while offering them opportunities to increase their independence, explore and develop personal and career plan and listen to guest speakers discuss topics ranging from the history of the disability rights movement and self advocacy, to careers and technology. Approximately 30 students with a variety of disabilities will be selected to participate in this year's forum. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center is one of the Forum sponsors. Deadline to apply is March 15, 2014.