Collaboration - Empowerment - Capacity-building

Welcome to the RAISE e-news letter, designed to identify and share resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.

Executive Editor: Peg Kinsell

In This Issue

RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the TA provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.

RAISE is funded by the US Department of Education to provide technical assistance to, and coordination of, the 7 state-level PTI centers (RSA-PTIs). It represents collaboration between SPAN, the Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the six Regional PTACs.

Find your Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

National Disability Employment Month in October

Working together to expand employment opportunities, Acting Assistant Secretary for ODEP Jennifer Sheehy (left) and Principal Deputy Administrator for the HHS' Administration for Community Living Sharon Lewis (right) signed an interagency agreement in early October.

The document describes ways in which the agencies will align policy, practice, and funding toward outcomes related to competitive, integrated employment, independent living, and improved socioeconomic experiences for people with disabilities. Building on a partnership that started in 2012, the agreement solidifies continued collaboration with HHS' Administration for Community Living.
PERSPECTIVE: Dr. Josie Badger 

With equal parts wit and intellect, RAISE's own Dr. Josie Badger reminds us that exceptionality comes from the choices you make and how you share that with others.

"Living with a disability is not an accomplishment. Nor is it a deterrent."

Upcoming RAISE Webinars

November 17th at
2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT

A New Vision for Career Development

This webinar will discuss career development for young people, including youth with disabilities.  The webinar will cover three phases of career development, highlight Individualized Learning Plans as a tool for facilitating career development, and offer families strategies for how to be involved.

January 19th at
2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT

Helping Youth Learn Work Skills

This webinar will address the need for all youth, including youth with disabilities, to acquire work skills such as communication, interpersonal, and decision making skills.  It will also address how families can help develop these skills and the role of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Summary of Performance (SOP) in recording work skills.

February 16th at
2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT

Helping Youth Learn Soft Skills

This webinar will discuss the soft skills needed for success in the work place for all youth, including youth with disabilities.  Families can be very helpful in practicing soft skills with their children from an early age.  Soft skills include often unspoken workplace rules about communicating, getting along with others, and deciding what to do when they are given responsibility.

Do you have a question about
workplace accommodations?
Ask JAN.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

Do you have an hour to learn more?

Learn about disability etiquette, assistive technologies, management techniques, and the latest on accommodations and the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  JAN Webcasts are available at no cost. They begin at 2 pm eastern time and run for an hour.
En JAN estamos firmemente comprometidos en servir a la fuerza laboral hispanoamericana. En un esfuerzo por dedicarnos a dicha población incluimos entre nuestros servicios la consultoría y asistencia técnica en español.


Here is a tool that is easy to use and family friendly. It comes to us from Northeast Indiana Cadre of Transition Leaders. Their   Transition Assessment Matrix allows users to select area, grade and disability, and then suggests appropriate assessments, which can be downloaded.

How can young people with disabilities plan for, and decide about, disability disclosure?  We love this simple communications-planning tool produced by Seattle Children's Hospital, Center for Children with Special Needs. While it is designed around those with health conditions, it can be used by anyone.

Disability Disclosure at Work

There are five opportunities an applicant or employee has to disclose their disability to an employer:
  1. The Job Application
  2. The Interview
  3. After the job offer
  4. After you have started working
  5. If a problem exist in the workplace
Did you know:
  1. Most experts advise that job applicants NOT disclose on an application.
  2. People who did NOT disclose during an interview -- even those who had obvious disabilities -- were more likely to be hired.
  3. The worst time to disclose, of course, is after you've been fired.

On the other hand, you may never choose to disclose...

Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the only logical reason to disclose is if you need to request a reasonable accommodation from your employer to perform an essential function of the job.

"The only appropriate time to disclose on an application is if the employer is actively recruiting employees with disabilities."

- Ed R. Williams, Program Coordinator of the STEPS Program
at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock

ExploreVR gives state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies easy and convenient access to a range of VR and related data for planning, evaluation, and decision-making. This new data-sharing effort seeks to increase knowledge about the VR program and its role within the larger employment and disability service systems.

Learn ANYTIME: Check out the archived webinars.

Do you have questions about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act?

Download the presentation by David Hoff, project director at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

"... the days  of  students  with disabilities leaving  school  poorly  educated, with no  employment  experience, no  job  prospects, living  lives  of  poverty and  too  often  ending  up  in  segregated  day  programs need  to  come to  an end."

Disability Employment Initiative Grants Awarded to Six States

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded grants totaling $14,911,243 to six states to increase employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities. The grants to Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, New York and Washington are part of the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), a joint initiative of DOL's Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Disability Employment Policy. This is the sixth round of DEI funding. Since 2010, DOL has awarded grants worth more than $95 million through the initiative to 43 projects in 27 states to improve education, training, and employment outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities.

Grantees of this year's awards will use the funds to:
  • Improve employment outcomes and increase the number of individuals with disabilities who earn credentials.
  • Provide more and diversified job-driven training opportunities.
  • Facilitate academic and employment transition among youth.
  • Incorporate flexible approaches to designing and providing training and supportive services, including customized employment strategies to help jobseekers with significant disabilities.
  • Build effective community partnerships and collaborations across multiple service delivery systems and the effective blending and braiding of resources.
  • Promote more active engagement with the business sector.

Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Submits Interim Report

The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (the Committee) submitted its Interim Report to the Secretary of Labor and Congress on September 15, 2015. The report summarizes the progress of the Committee and provides interim findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Among the preliminary recommendations...  
  • Increase opportunities for early work experiences for all youth with disabilities, including beginning transition at age 14, and conduct research of effective transition practices resulting in CIE for youth.
  • Increase nationwide opportunities for postsecondary education for youth with significant disabilities which includes competitive integrated work experiences.
  • Address family expectations for CIE at early ages.
  • Create seamless transition and systems integration in policy and funding for transition across related federal agencies; and
  • Improving professional supports and incentives by improving school and provider competencies and providing technical assistance to states.