LEAD On! Newsletter – Disability Rights are Civil Rights

July 2022

Disability Rights are Civil Rights

Access promising practices from the field.

In this Issue:






Strategies and Practices to Support the Spirit and Vision of Olmstead and the ADA

The LEAD Center has long focused on promoting competitive integrated employment outcomes, financial self-sufficiency, and equity for people with disabilities, all of which align with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which seeks “…to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency…” and whose vision drove the Olmstead decision. This quarter, we celebrate the ADA and Olmstead anniversaries by highlighting promising practices and strategies that enable people with disabilities, and the staff and systems that support them, to live full, independent, and empowered lives. For example, under “On Cue” in this newsletter, we focus on the webinars LEAD Center offered in the past year on topics like cross-system collaboration, financial capability and empowerment, accessibility and equal opportunity, and reentry.

All the webinars include perspectives from leaders, people with lived experience of disability, and staff on the ground who implemented strategies that have led to positive outcomes for people with disabilities in employment and financial capability.


A person holding a smartphone in a board-room setting

Using Effective Workforce/Bank Partnerships to Expand Financial Empowerment for People with Disabilities

To learn about effective partnerships between workforce systems and banks, including expanding financial empowerment and career pathways for people with disabilities, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is conducting pilots in three local workforce development areas: New York’s Capital Region (Albany, New York), Michigan Works! Southwest (Kalamazoo, Michigan), and CareerSource Broward (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). These pilot sites possess strong leaders committed to innovative approaches, informing practice in the field, and sustainability.

Why bank partnerships? To meet Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements, banks must conduct activities that help meet the needs of a bank’s community, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals. Banks can meet these requirements through community development activities that improve employment opportunities. ODEP is interested in strategies to build capacity within the workforce system to leverage bank investments in disability employment for low-income individuals who are primarily people of color.

Adam Slagle, Business Services Coordinator (Capital Region), said of the pilot, “Through our participation in this pilot, we’re motivated to increase the financial capability of people in our community that are underrepresented in the workforce. One of our goals is to support them in having the same access to financial services available to everyone – such as credit repair coaching – through a greater partnership with banks and a better understanding of the Community Reinvestment Act.”

To learn how the CRA can support people with disabilities and other underrepresented populations in the workforce, please read the LEAD Center FAQ: Workforce Systems Can Leverage Bank Resources to Improve Economic Self-Sufficiency and Employment Outcomes for Low- and Moderate-Income Individuals. The FAQ provides examples of workforce/bank partnerships, explains the focus on people of color with disabilities, and details the kinds of activities banks can engage in to increase career success and financial security for customers of the workforce development system.

Access the September 2021 webinar archive, How Workforce Systems Can Leverage Bank Resources to Enhance the Lives of Low- and Moderate-Income Individuals, to hear subject-matter experts and workforce professionals from the field discuss how to leverage the CRA to provide financial coaching, financial assistance for entrepreneurs, workforce training, credit assistance, career preparation, and other activities.


ICYMI LEAD Center Webinars

LEAD Center webinars provide implementation information on identified best practices to improve the capacity of American Job Centers and other workforce partners to serve job seekers with disabilities, to improve their employment and economic advancement outcomes. We encourage you to access and share the following practices related to cross-system collaboration, financial capability and economic empowerment, accessibility and equal opportunity, and reentry.

Cross-system Collaboration

Seven hands piecing together a jigsaw puzzle

Building Cross-System Alignment into Your Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) System

In this two-part webinar series, the LEAD Center welcomed guests from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Maryland to uplift several practices for building equity and inclusion in two critical areas: (1) collecting, sharing, and reporting data that benefit individuals, communities, and policies; and (2) system coordination and alignment.

Part 1: Building Equity and Inclusion into your WIOA Data System (January 11, 2022)

Data systems enable workforce agencies and their partners, operating under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to understand how people move through education and training programs and into the labor market. Carol Rogers from Indiana University, and Jessica Cunningham from Kentucky Center for Statistics, discuss how states can advance data-sharing partnerships, use occupational data to develop targeted career pathways, and engage employers in the collection and use of workforce data.

Part 2: Cross-System Coordination and Programmatic Accessibility (January 19, 2022)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act facilitates system coordination, integration, and alignment across a broad collection of public-serving agencies. Lisa D. Jones from Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, and Lauren Gilwee from Maryland Department of Labor, share intake, referral, and service delivery processes, improving cross-system services, forming interagency workgroups, and coordinating training and resources.

How Blended, Braided or Sequenced Funding Can Help Drive Employment, Equity, and Inclusion (March 22, 2022)

Demand for workplace talent is high. The flexibilities provided to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic may be with us to stay. These conditions may result in expanded access to workforce activities for people with disabilities.

To ensure that workforce programs are ready to meet this demand, leverage new workplace flexibilities and support job seekers and career changers equitably, programs often need to draw on a range of different funding sources. The ability to blend, braid, or sequence one funding source with others becomes an essential ingredient to support employment, equity, and inclusion. Yet, each source of funding usually comes with specific goals, target populations, and performance indicators. The first part of this federal interagency webinar series, hosted by the LEAD Center, features examples from Colorado, North Carolina, and Arizona. Hear state and local practitioners across the workforce system discuss how they successfully apply innovative, collaborative resource sharing that benefits both business and job seekers with disabilities.

Celebrating Olmstead: How Blending, Braiding, and Sequencing Leads to Integrated Employment (June 29, 2022)

State and local agencies and partners are eager to help people with disabilities enter high-quality jobs and careers. As they support people through their employment journeys, they want to do so in the most effective and efficient way possible. Blending, braiding, and sequencing of funding and resources are three strategies that can achieve those goals. This webinar is the second in a series of webinars on blending, braiding, and sequencing resources and funding to support employment outcomes, and to promote equity and inclusion for people with disabilities.

In this webinar, guests from Maryland share promising practices at the state and local levels, including lessons learned and tools they use to sustain their partnerships. Featured speakers include Maryland’s: Governor’s Workforce Development Board, Division of Rehabilitation Services, Behavioral Health Administration, and Anne Arundel County Workforce Development Corporation.

Financial Capability and Empowerment

A Black family putting money into a piggybank

The Racial Wealth Gap: Financial and Other Resources for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) (April 19, 2022)

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) understand the importance and consequences of wealth-building based on historical racial privilege. It is critical that people understand the implications of the widening wealth gap in America’s economy in order to take actions that improve economic outcomes for all, including Black youth and young adults with disabilities. Systemic barriers, policies, procedures, and practices, such as redlining, appraisal bias, and credit discrimination, prevent people of color with and without a disability from participating in wealth-building.

This webinar features speakers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor who discuss the unique challenges to economic growth that many Black Americans encounter on their journey to financial well-being; a review of effective, accessible, and inclusive financial education, resources, and tools found in DOL’s “Secure Your Financial Future Toolkit;” a state-by-state scan of programs, policies, resources, and initiatives that support students with disabilities transitioning to employment during and after the COVID-19 pandemic; and an overview of DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship HBCU apprenticeship initiatives.

Accessibility and Equal Opportunity

A standard computer keyboard and an assistive keyboard device

The Promise of Universal Design and Its Application to Inclusive Work-based Learning (November 2021)

Universal design for learning (UDL) training for faculty and staff has increased student success at Onondaga Community College (OCC) among students with disabilities. OCC shares how UDL creates consistency in coursework, integrates adaptive technologies, and removes learning barriers for all students. This LEAD Center presentation, from the National Career Pathways Network 2021 Conference, held November 4-5, 2021, also provides information and resources for workforce professionals from the Roadmap to Inclusive Career Pathways to help people with disabilities achieve employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Effectively Serving Native Americans with Disabilities – Inclusion and Partnerships (May 4, 2022)

This webinar presents information on effective inclusion-focused practices and program partnerships to better provide employment services to participants with disabilities. On May 4, 2022, at the 42nd National Indian and Native American Employment and Training Conference (NINAETC), nonprofit and tribal grantees who serve large numbers of people with disabilities share promising practices and stories from the field.


A person with a disability and two other people seated at a conference table

Disability Awareness Behind & Beyond Our Prison Walls (October 20, 2021)

This webinar explores best practices in working with individuals that have been involved in our justice systems who are facing and overcoming obstacles to learning and attaining employment, including a discussion on how we can help those with disabilities behind and beyond our prison walls. Special guests include Rose Warner from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy and Sean Addie from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education.


Upcoming Webinars