Front Page Blog

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 09:22

College and Work: Students with Disabilities Can Do Both

By Jayme Pendergraft

September is College Savings Month—a month to remind and encourage people to start a 529 Plan.  Section 529 plans make it easy and affordable for the average family to plan ahead for the cost of college attendance and are available in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Across the nation, many activities are held during September to recognize the importance of saving for college.

Today, a college education is a costly, but often a necessary qualification to get a job. For those whose families didn’t save, it’s still possible to get that degree. Students with disabilities and their family members have some important resources available...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 13:42

Guide Dogs Enhance Independence and Offer Companionship

By Jonathan Cohn

September is National Guide Dog Month and celebrates the work of guide dogs in the United States, raising awareness, appreciation, support and money for guide dog schools and organizations.

In 1929, The Seeing Eye ( became the first organization in the U.S. to breed, raise and train guide dogs. Today blind citizens and their guide dogs form teams that are protected by the American with Disabilities Act. In July, 2007, I entered the program at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Portland, Oregon. After four weeks of training, I returned home to the Washington, DC area with a 60 pound Yellow Labrador named Sultan. 

Sultan has been with me every day, except for...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 11:09

By Ebony Smith

August 26th is Women’s Equality Day, a national observance started in 1971 to commemorate the 1920 ratification of the 19th amendment, giving U.S. women the right to vote. While 94 years may seem like a lifetime, and a lot of progress has certainly been made, there is still work to be done. Women’s Equality Day is great opportunity to call attention to women’s ongoing efforts toward achieving full equality. 

Strong women begin as empowered girls, and whether they are rocking the vote or rocking an instrument, everyone benefits from a sense of shared experience, friendship, community and support. That is why I am part of an organization known as Girls Rock! DC. Founded in 2007, Girls Rock! DC is an annual week long music camp designed to empower a diverse collective of female youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Campers from across the Washington, D.C. area participate in themed workshops, instrument lessons, and band rehearsals all...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 09:10

By Ben Spangenberg, Project Coordinator

It's August and everyone is ready to hit the road, or the air, or the rails. A summer break from the routine of life’s challenges is a right that many Americans take for granted, but it is not so simple for Americans with disabilities to exercise that right. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into effect over twenty years ago, the United States has become a much friendlier landscape for people with disabilities. Still, for people who use crutches, walkers or wheelchairs, travelling can be quite a challenge.  

I use a wheelchair and I have travelled to more than half the states and three foreign countries. I love to travel! Every trip is different, and every trip is an adventure. Probably the most challenging trip I took was when I went alone to Italy. Yes, there were cobblestone streets and buildings without ramps or elevators in Florence and Rome, but nothing was as difficult to maneuver as the...

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 09:16

Is the 24 year old Americans with Disabilities Act all grown up?

By Chris Law, PhD, Senior Accessibility Analyst

If the ADA were a person, it should be graduating college by now and looking for a job. However, workplace equality for people with disabilities is where the least progress has been made in the last quarter century, according to an informal poll of webinar attendees during “24 Years of the ADA: Progress, Pitfalls and Possibilities” hosted by Cornell University and the Northeast ADA Center on July 9, 2014. Where has the most progress been made? According to attendees polled, it is in the accessibility of physical spaces. Examine your workplace and you’ll find evidence of both. Are there accessible entranceways and accessible signs? Sure. How many of your co-workers have disabilities? Is the number representative of the...

Monday, July 21, 2014 - 15:46

Meeting OFCCP Guidelines for Hiring People with Disabilities: Makes for a Better Business Culture

By Shelia Newman, President, New Editions Consulting, Inc.

New Editions was named a “2014 Top Workplace” in the Washington Post last month. Washingtonian magazine named New Editions Consulting, Inc. one of the “50 Great Places to Work” in 2013. In addition to winning these awards, we have grown the business base by $1M per year for the past 12 years. Clearly, we are doing something right in our small company. We believe our success is directly related to the diversity and inclusiveness of our personnel who are the faces of the company and the keys to our success. We believe that as Federal contractors begin to hire people with disabilities to reach the goals of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, they are likely to see that their organizations’ culture improves.

In March, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal...

Monday, July 14, 2014 - 10:37

Never Go to College? Why Not?

By Cherie Takemoto, MPA, Project Manager

Most parents dream that one day their children will go to college. But such dreams may grow distant and seem unrealistic when a child is born with a developmental disability. It could have been that way for us. Our son, Pete was born with an undiagnosed genetic syndrome that affected his motor skills, feeding, heart, and almost every aspect of his development. He was labeled “failure to thrive” because he couldn’t keep enough food down to grow. He cried, fussed, and struggled through therapy and doctor visits. Because of his very complex care needs, we requested a multidisciplinary coordination meeting to manage his care. The chair opened the meeting by stating, “Well, we may not know what Peter has, but one thing we do know is that he will never go to college.”

Never go to college? If he didn’t know what Pete had or how to treat his complex needs, how dare he draw...

Monday, June 23, 2014 - 09:53

Having Trouble Finding Summer Job Candidates?

By Tyler Matney, Project Manager

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over the past few years the population of young adults and teenagers in the U.S. has participated less in the workforce. Analysts have suggested that the causes are varied, but include stronger competition from older, unemployed workers and an increased focus among younger adults and teenagers on volunteerism and skills attainment instead of employment, to name a few. Recently the unemployment rate has decreased, so if you’re looking to hire teenage and young adult employees this summer, it’s likely that you’ll have increased difficulty in finding them.

If you’re like most employers, you begin your seasonal, summer recruitment cycle in early Spring. Still, you may have difficulty filling – and keeping filled – your summer openings due to myriad reasons such as competition from other employers, candidates...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 14:36

By Martha Simmons, B.S., Nursing, Registered Nurse Reviewer

Men’s Health Week was established by Congress in 1994 and is celebrated every year the week before Father’s Day. This year we celebrate on June 9-15, 2014.

To quote Congressman Bill Richardson (Congressional Record, H3905-H3906, May 24, 1994): “Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.” The celebration of this week gives us all an opportunity to bring a heightened awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. As a nurse, wife and mother, I know men’s health and wellness is a serious matter.

According to the Men’s Health Network web site: ( ), men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 17:07

Technology Accommodations for Older Workers: The Latest Is Not Always the Greatest

By Kristen Smith, Accommodations Specialist & Chris Law, PhD, Senior Accessibility Analyst

The country is aging and so is the workforce. According to the 2012 Census, there were over four million full time workers age 65 and older. The aging process can bring with it a gradual decrease in vision, hearing, and physical abilities. Jobs that were once easy for a 30 or 40 year old to perform can become challenging for a 60 or 70 year old. For example, in our work, some veterans have told us that war wounds sustained in the 1960s and 1970s are only now starting to take their toll, inducing new mobility and dexterity limitations. For the older worker, there can be a blurry line between preferring to continue doing a task with difficulty, and realizing an accommodation would be helpful.

When older employees reach a point where a reasonable accommodation is...