It is with great excitement that I introduce the National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD).
Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office on Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), LEAD’s goal is to improve employment and economic advancement opportunities for people with disabilities and support their full inclusion in our workplaces. With direct input from the disability community and other key stakeholders, the Center will identify and share best practices and policy solutions that can improve the lives and low workforce participation rates of these workers.
LEAD, however, is much more than a resource for disability information. The Center will also provide training and technical assistance to the myriad of systems in both the public and private sectors striving to fully integrate people with disabilities into the workforce. Importantly, LEAD will bring together innovative business leaders, policymakers, organizations, and individuals to create new strategies for expanding economic opportunities for people with disabilities and improving the talent available to America’s businesses.
The Center’s website will employ the latest social media tools so that it can serve as hub for providing timely and useful information on those successful employment strategies that benefit jobseekers, employers and service-providers in the workforce system. The site will feature guest blogs from thought leaders, resources on promising practices, and an interactive events calendar to encourage vigorous participation.
I am proud that the National Disability Institute will head the LEAD Center consortium and that it has gathered key partners such as the U.S. Business Leadership Network, the Employer Research Consortium, the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, Cities for Financial Empowerment, the National Council on Independent Living, TASH, and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.
ODEP funded LEAD through a five-year cooperative agreement and I know that together we can help create a world in which people with disabilities have unlimited employment potential.
Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor for Disability Employment Policy