Post-Election Results: What the Next Administration Can Do to Support Americans with Disabilities

Collage of 3 photos: staff member Alex presents on ABLE, staff members Tom and Kat meet with a visiting Swedish Delegation, staff members Loretta and Elizabeth pose in front of WID's Disability Concierge DeskAs with many Americans, we at the World Institute on Disability (WID) are concerned with how the 2016 election results will impact the disability community and all diverse communities. Over the past several decades, the progress around the rights of people with disabilities—including increased accessibility of services, improved public accommodations, and recent legislation, such as the ABLE Act, which helps young people with disabilities gain true financial independence and saves taxpayer dollars—has boasted significant milestones for our community nationwide.

We are committed to continuing this progress, and we recognize that there is still much more to be done.  However, we also see that there is constant pressure to roll back many of these advances in disability rights under the assumption that to do so would save money.

Reduction of services, resulting in exclusion of people with disabilities, is extremely costly in financial and human terms. Certain healthcare and benefits proposals can endanger the health, independence, and financial security of people with disabilities. Some broader issues, such as climate change, will have a drastic impact on our community unless people with disabilities are included in the planning and preparation.

We are committed to working with the next administration to support disability rights in all its forms and to prevent any changes that would negatively affect people with disabilities across the U.S. and around the world.

Collage of 3 photos: staff member Bryon presents on DB101, four staff members pose in front of registration desk at Policy Summit, staff member Marsha presents on Disability FEAST website

High priority areas for attention include:

Benefits reform that enables people with disabilities to work while still maintaining benefits to offset the high cost of disability;

Expanded employment opportunities with special attention to ensuring that employees with disabilities are appropriately accommodated and welcomed in the workplace;

Healthcare and personal assistant services that fully support people with disabilities’ health needs, including access to quality affordable medical care; medication and durable medical equipment; and fitness and nutrition resources, all equal to that of other Americans;

Disability discrimination, which must be combated in all its forms, including employment, education, and housing;

Climate change policies that include people with disabilities in planning and preparation; and

Representation by people with disabilities in all aspects of government.

Collage of 3 photos: WID's youngest service dog Alabama, staff member Tom shows two international fellows Muir Woods, WID's retired service dog Carrera

Now more than ever, we hope you will consider supporting our efforts — you can donate via Network for Good as a one-time donation or schedule monthly/quarterly donations.

Also, consider adding WID as your AmazonSmile Charity. Amazon will donate 0.5% to WID on your behalf as you do your holiday shopping this season and all year round. Every gift counts!

Wishing you a a joyful, healthy holiday season and a happy New Year from the WID family!

Nine people with various disabilities stand in front of a disability painting

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WID Releases First of Its Kind Findings: Students with Disabilities & Internships

For Immediate Release

Berkeley, CA, USA–The World Institute on Disability, the lead partner in the California Consortium’s Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s ADD US IN grant, releases a five-year body of field research from the Consortium’s model “Disability Inclusive – Diversity smALL Business Initiative.”

Several different groups joined forces to recruit small businesses, in addition to veterans and college and university students with disabilities for summer internships. These groups were the Consortium’s business partner National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; the Consortium’s youth resource partners California Department of Rehabilitation and California Foundation for Independent Living Centers’s Youth Organizing! (YO!) Disabled & Proud; along with the Consortium’s communication partner EIN SOF Communications, Inc.

The field-based evidence is discussed in the Consortium’s Disability Inclusive – Diversity smALL Business Initiative Reflections with Case Illustrations of Successes and Challenges, which can be found under “Project Findings” on the Add Us In page. The employment internship model designed, implemented, and evaluated by the Consortium produced the first of its kind findings that will significantly add to the existing body of knowledge for employing people with disabilities.

A few of the most revealing findings are as follows:

  • In-person internships were generally more mutually beneficial than remote positions. In-person internships offer an opportunity to creatively and collaboratively engender real-world “workplace accommodations” and “productivity tools.” Remote jobs don’t provide a “disability awareness” impact for the employer community; this impact benefits potential interns, as well as their co-workers who learn from real-world interaction with a colleague who has a disability. Employers that hosted in-person interns also required less technical assistance and expressed greater satisfaction with the work product and experience in general—as did the students involved in these in-person internships.
  • Disabled students generally expressed wanting jobs more closely aligned with their career goals, rather than simply seeking general employment to build their resumes. Students tend to spend no more than two or three seconds per email they receive, which limits their willingness to thoughtfully weigh the value of a $12 to $15 per hour internship versus the benefits they receive. As a result of this, they may miss the opportunity to learn soft skills in jobs not aligned with their career trajectories.
  • Word choice matters for business. Any initiative or program that intends to connect business owners to employable candidates with disabilities must be prepared to speak the language of business. Business owners generally have well-defined fears that can be triggered unintentionally by using unfamiliar, non-business oriented language. Fears and concerns must be addressed upfront in order to establish trust. Safe space conversations are critical in the process of developing a business relationship.

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Anita Aaron speaks at the 13th Annual Ever Widening Circle event

Save the Date: Critical Issues Forum & Ever Widening Circle Reception 2016

WID is excited to welcome one and all to our annual event, the Critical Issues Forum, at the Ed Roberts Campus October 28, 2016! The topic of the day: ABLE Accounts.

The ABLE Act is the new tax-advantaged savings opportunity that allows eligible persons with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking federal disability benefits. Read more about WID’s work with the ABLE Act here.

After the Critical Issues Forum, we will have the Ever Widening Circle Reception, during which we will network and enjoy light refreshments.

If you’d like to join us, RSVP!

Critical Issues Forum

  • ABLE Accounts Informative Session: Learn the nuts and bolts of the 3 currently available national ABLE programs, as well as hear from the director of California’s ABLE and provide your input to help shape the program.
  • ABLE Accounts Interactive Session: With guidance from WID staff members, go through the process of opening an ABLE account in real time and learn about how you can help advocate to improve the ABLE Act through important pending legislation.

Ever Widening Circle Reception

The Ever Widening Circle Reception will allow WID to connect with our supporters and disability community leaders and will create a space for continuing the discussions begun during the forum presentations in a more casual environment.

Be sure to RSVP to WID’s annual event today!

Schedule at a Glance

  • 9:00am-9:30am: registration/check-in (Osher Rooms)
  • 9:30am-11:30am: ABLE Accounts Informative Session
  • 11:30am-1:00pm: Lunch (catered for those who RSVP)
  • 1:00pm-3:30pm: ABLE Accounts Interactive Session
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm: Reception (Ramp Circle)

Recap

  • What: Policy Summit and Ever Widening Circle reception
  • When: Friday, October 28, 2016; 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Where: Osher Boardrooms in the Ed Roberts Campus (3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703; above Ashby BART station)

Don’t forget to RSVP!

Thank you to our generous sponsors for their support of this event: AT&T, Chevron, IBM, JPMorgan Chase & Co., PG&E, and Stanley Yarnell & Victor Rowley (listed in alphabetical order).

AT&T logo Chevron logoIBM logo JPMC logoPG&E logoStanley Yarnell and Victor Rowley logo

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Two young people present a PowerPoint and address a crowded room

Short-Term 2016 YALI Fellows Reflect on Time at WID

It has been an exciting and educational experience hosting our short-term fellows from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) program another year. We had two motivated and ambitious fellows who arrived driven to learn about disability inclusion, advocacy and how to change and implement policies to better their organizations and their countries at large.

Our fellow from Zimbabwe, Feri Gwata, works in the water and sanitation sector as a Partnerships Officer back home, and she came curious to learn how to bring disability awareness and inclusion to her organization. Our other fellow, Temitope Okupe works with children with disabilities in Nigeria. He was fired up about changing policies and increasing disability empowerment and advocacy.

Please, see the letters written to WID’s Executive Director about their experiences and what they learned below:

A young woman stands before a projector, her PowerPoint on the screen
Feri presents to the Goldman School of Public Policy | Photo credit to Charity Peets

Dear Anita,

Thank you very much for affording me the opportunity to participate in the YALI Fellowship at the World Institute on Disability (WID). Thanks are also due to Sudha Shetty, Assistant Dean for International Partnerships and Alliances at the Goldman School of Public Policy for facilitating my placement at WID. It has been a great pleasure meeting the dedicated staff at WID and learning about their first-hand experiences with disability through our many insightful discussions.

Admittedly, given my professional background in economics and water and sanitation, my understanding of the challenges facing people with disabilities was extremely limited prior to my experience at WID. My narrow view was compounded by the sad reality that disability continues to face extreme stigmatization in Africa, so much so that until my time at WID, I had never met a person with a disability who is employed in a formal work environment. It was interesting to note the inclusive participation of persons with disabilities in day-to-day life here in the U.S., as we got to interact with several other professionals (many with disabilities) from the different organizations housed at the Ed Roberts Campus.

Recognizing the importance of achieving universal access to water and sanitation as reiterated in the Sustainable Development Goals, the organization I work for back in my home country (the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development – IWSD) has embarked on a strong drive to mainstream disability in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). To that end, I was particularly keen to understand the specific needs of persons with disabilities in accessing WASH services, how to effectively advocate for inclusive WASH in my home country and how best to engage various stakeholders on the issue.

Below are a few of my key takeaways from my experience at WID (and more broadly, the ED Roberts Campus):

  • Ensuring people with disabilities have physical access is a fundamental starting point in improving their quality of life. While it is undoubtedly important to create employment for people with disabilities and provide in other ways, it is a futile exercise if they do not even have the means to get themselves out of the house or to their places of work.
  • Advocacy: I learned about the critical role of research as a source of evidence in lobbying policy-makers for change. In spite of my professional experience, I had been of the somewhat naïve view that “strong emotions” were a sufficient tool in pushing for change. My host, Kat Zigmont, explained at length the importance of conducting extensive research to inform whatever position I bring to the table. This was very instructive.
  • I also learned that change in the policy framework is incremental, and therefore, while tenacity is critical, it is important to be patient with the process, as it normally takes time (years) to amend or develop policies.
  • Coalition building is critical and in particular, cross-disability coalitions, to foster greater bargaining power with policy-makers. In addition, it is important to offer policy-makers possible solutions to the issue to avoid being viewed as though you are complaining but rather that you are trying to assist them in addressing particular gaps.
  • Identify and educate a policy champion i.e. someone who has the authority to assist you to push your policy changes through.

Thank you very much for all your support and guidance during my time at WID.

I trust that this is the beginning of a long working relationship.

Best wishes,
Feri Gwata

Mandela Washington Fellow 2016
Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California, Berkeley


A young man addresses the room, his PowerPoint presentation behind him on a screen
Temi discusses disability stats in his home country | Photo credit to Charity Peets

Dear Anita,

It has been wonderful being here at the World Institute on Disability (WID) for my fellowship. I had a wonderful experience, and also, thank you all for sharing your resources and talent with me during the process of my fellowship.

I realize a lot of issues are being addressed on people living with disabilities in different ways. I will be able to highlight some issues I learned during my 4 weeks (once a week fellowship) at WID. The first that I will discuss is the amazing building and the location of the building; to some it’s just a building. To me, it’s a home–a building that brings everyone living with disabilities (us) together as a big family.

One major focus at WID that caught my attention was how climate change affects people with disabilities, which varies in different aspects due to different geo-political zones; also, the issues involving climate change in terms of different strategies that can be adapted in different locations caught my attention. For example, in Nigeria, we discussed how planting trees impacts climate change, and there has also been some discussion around how people with disabilities may have to migrate when there are natural disasters.

At WID during the fellowship, I had an opportunity to visit various organizations at the Ed Roberts campus, such as Through the Looking Glass, which gave me a reflection on bringing parents and families with children living with disabilities together to form a collective voice.

Another aspect learned during my stay at WID is how research is necessary to know how effective disability laws are or not, what can be done through awareness and how policies are formulated. Talking to Neil Jacobson at WID gave me a broader idea of how to empower people living with disabilities. It gave me the understanding that when working with an NGO, we should not be afraid of putting on our thinking hats to make money for ourselves. Creating awareness through advocacy was also one of the issues discussed.

During my program at Goldman School of Public Policy, I was able to understand how to make policy and take steps that should be put into consideration, such as:

  • Defining the problem,
  • Gathering your evidence,
  • Identifying the cost,
  • Evaluating the existing policy ,
  • Developing solutions,
  • Weighing benefits and costs,
  • Selecting the best solution,
  • Observing political strategies, and
  • Remembering the importance of evaluation after making the policies, which could be within 6 years to 1 year and continuous evaluation.

Branding is one of the things I learned from Goldman; coming from a business background, I used to think branding is all about advertising a product in a specific way, but at Goldman, I realized there are various steps that make a good brand, such as being original, identifying your target market etc. This made me understand that advertising is the last medium when it comes to the branding process, and costs and benefits should be considered in this process, as well. I also gained a brief understanding about strategic planning, as well as equality in employment; this process makes organizations and co-workers understand that people are the same, despite things like their race, sexual orientation or disabilities, which helps promote equality.

Temitope Okupe

Mandela Washington Fellow 2016
Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California, Berkeley

Three people stand in front of a plaque that says, "International House"
Feri, Temi, and Projects Coordinator, Charity, stand in front of Berkeley’s International House before a presentation

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WID Annual Report of 2015

Introduction

Welcome to the 2015 Annual Report of the World Institute on Disability (WID).

The mission of the World Institute on Disability (WID) in communities and nations worldwide is to eliminate barriers to full social integration and increase employment, economic security, and health care for persons with disabilities. WID creates innovative programs and tools; conducts research, public education, training and advocacy campaigns; and provides technical assistance. An internationally recognized public policy center founded in 1983, WID’s work focuses on issues that directly affect people’s ability to live independently. A majority of the board of directors and staff are persons with disabilities.

Our 2015 Annual Report is a combination of narrative descriptions of our program initiatives and more detailed video presentations of several of the major initiatives. The report also includes financial information for the 2015 fiscal year. WID works through our board, staff, and community leaders to identify critical issues facing individuals with disabilities, to analyze existing policies and practices related to those issues, and to conduct research and field work to identify new and updated mechanisms to impact the well-being and economic inclusion of all individuals with disabilities.

We hope you find this report useful and informative as we share our work toward access and inclusion for all. Here are our 2015 highlights:

EQUITY

2015 saw the publication of EQUITY: Asset Building Strategies for People with Disabilities, A Guide to Financial Empowerment. Funded in part by a joint project with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), EQUITY is the first and only wealth-building book specifically targeted toward people with disabilities. With chapters ranging from credit and debt to homeownership, small business development, and retirement savings, EQUITY provides an asset building overview with specific strategies and opportunities for people with disabilities to build a better financial future.

Watch our “WID Report: Equity” for more information:

Employment and Disability Benefits Initiative (EDBI)

Disability Benefits (DB101) helps people with disabilities and service providers understand the connections between work and benefits. DB101 expanded its online presence to serve residents with disabilities in eight states in 2015. Vets101 offers free online career planning tools and information services for veterans, their families, and their circles of support. EDBI is expanding to develop Housing Benefits 101 (HB101) and Achieving a Better Life Experience 101 (ABLE101) in 2016. EDBI’s training and information services build relationships with state partners that bring insight and a rich background to WID’s policy initiatives.

CareerACCESS

The CareerACCESS policy initiative will reform the current Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) in order to significantly increase the employment rate of people with disabilities aged 18-30. CareerACCESS will establish pilot programs in up to five states. Because these programs will pivot on the idea that disability benefits are offsets to the high costs of disability rather than subsidies for the inability to work, they will provide required support and services for young adults to shape their careers while building assets and retaining disability benefits.

Watch our “WID Report: SSDI and CareerACCESS” for more information:

ABLE101

An outgrowth of WID’s work toward passage and now, implementation of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), ABLE101 will join WID’s cast of online information tools and calculators. First introduced in 2006 and signed into law in December 2014, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an onset of disability before age 26) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence, and quality of life without endangering government benefits.

Add Us In (AUI)

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), AUI is designed to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. Over the past four years, WID and our partners have worked to place many interns at a variety of National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) small businesses.

Disability FEAST (Food Education, Access, Support, & Training)

A culmination of 3 years’ worth of research under the NEW DOOR project, Disability FEAST is an online “cookbook plus” for people with disabilities and seniors. WID staff stuffed the site with 50 easy and healthy recipes, plus dozens of tip sheets and links to external resources for shopping, cooking, and eating as a person with a disability.

Watch our “WID Report: Disability FEAST” for more information:

Climate Change and Disaster Preparation

WID staff members currently serve on the American Red Cross (ARC) National Diversity Advisory Council and have worked closely with ARC Disaster Response leaders. As a direct result, ARC will include a disability education component in all California Disaster Institute trainings in 2016. WID is also involved in training with the Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST), which focuses on serving people with disabilities during California-specific disasters.

New Earth Disability (NED)

As climate change moves forward, people with disabilities are arguably the single most vulnerable group worldwide; New Earth Disability (NED) addresses that threat. Started in late 2014, NED investigates how people with disabilities will experience all aspects of climate change, such as extreme weather events, food insecurity, and climate-related migration. The NED initiative also includes several recommendations for collective actions that will protect the disability community.

Watch our “WID Report: New Earth Disability” for more information:

New Leaders Fellowship Initiative

This initiative is built on WID’s role as a host organization for fellows from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). WID staff members oversee the fellows’ time at WID, facilitating opportunities to share best practices, to start dialogues about common issues around disability, and to view the bigger picture of disability worldwide.

Watch our “WID Report: Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI)” for more information:

Accessibility Consulting

Over the last six months, WID has secured several new clients and contracts in the financial, investment, technology, educational software, and consulting arenas; WID’s feedback focuses on both accessibility and usability.

Banking/Financial Surveys

In collaboration with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and the Associated Professional Rural Independent Living Centers (APRIL), our Banking and Financial Services Access research project is nearly complete. Research results will be shared at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) National Convention, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Annual Convention, and Pacific Rim Conference in 2016.

Watch our “WID Report: Grit and Financial Services” for more information:

Conference Accessibility Initiative (CAI)

In 2016, we plan to assist a dozen national conferences with a total attendance of more than 20,000 people. Our goal is to make these conferences accessible and relevant for people with disabilities, while also educating the conference organizers about disability barriers and accommodations.

Technology Usability Project (TUP)

This year, we will continue to focus on webpage accessibility, mobile phone and tablet usability, and signage review and evaluation in order to provide information to developers, distributors, and users and to further inform WID’s research on accessibility and usability of products.

WID 2015 Finances:

Revenue

Government Grants and Contracts: 70.83%  $1,248,083
Private Grants and Contracts: 15.36%  $270,671
Foundation and Community Grants: 0.92%  $16,127
Contributions: 9.72%  $171,310
Training and Honorarium Fees: 3.07%  $54,051
Sales and Other: 0.11%  $1,961
Total: $1,762,204

Pie chart of WID's 2015 revenue

Expenses

Program services: 79.54%  $1,371,101
Management and General: 17.77%  $306,359
Fundraising: 2.69%  46,425
Total: $1,723,885

Pie chart of WID's 2015 expenses

WID 2015 Organizational Documents:

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CareerACCESS Takes Over Washington, D.C. in July and Reaches New Milestones

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C., USA–CareerACCESS has found a federal agency that wants to be its lead agency. Bob Williams, the Deputy Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, stated at four different events that his agency will do all they can to help pilot CareerACCESS. At an event with people from CareerACCESS, Bob had ten of his staff learn why CareerACCESS was important. As the keynote speaker at the closing plenary, Bob stated his commitment to CareerACCESS, and at a NCIL board meeting he said that Annette Shea will be our liaison. Right after the board meeting, Bob met with some of us to strategize steps.

Jennifer Sheehy, acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, also expressed real interest in seeing that CareerACCESS gets piloted. She appointed Andy Arias as the liaison to CareerACCESS.

We had a meeting with members from the CareerACCESS National Advisory Committee including Bob Zdenek, Jack Mills, and Michael Morris to brainstorm how we might begin piloting without engaging SSI. Much more discussion is required.

We met with David Hoppe, Chief of Staff for Paul Ryan, and Ted McCann, legislative analyst. They were happy to hear that Senator Leahy from Vermont included provisions in the Senate Appropriations Bill that would allow a CareerACCESS type of program to be studied. They were very clear that no Appropriations Bill would be approved until next year. They wanted to know that we had consensus from the Developmental Disability Community. Although they made no commitments, they invited us to keep in contact.

A group of seven, six people in wheelchairs, all smiling
Photo (from left to right): Frances Isbell, Andy Arias, Bob Williams, Eric Glunt, Barbara Butz, Neil Jacobson, and Daniel Mellenthin.

More than 100 people attended the CareerACCESS workshop at the National Council on Independent Living’s Annual Conference. Enthusiasm was very high. Andy Arias and Daniel Melthimin did an excellent job leading the workshop. Mary Margaret Moore from Massachusetts and Kathy Hoell from Nebraska did a wonderful job talking about their states’ desire to pilot CareerACCESS. The CareerACCESS workshop followed a dinner the night before that was attended by over 20 young adults with disabilities from all over the country that spoke enthusiastically about working with us to get CareerACCESS implemented.

We spoke with Gene Sterling from the Urban Institute who discussed the need for CareerACCESS in order to create a workers pipeline to fill the workers shortage that they expect will happen in the very near future. We also spoke with Mike Murphy and Corbin Evans from the Center for Responsible Federal Budget. They may be interested in working with us on developing a Return on Investment for CareerACCESS.

We had a good meeting with Yoni Ben Shalom from Mathematica. He recommended we look into the LADDER Act and see where CareerACCESS might intersect with it. We met with two young adults with disabilities interested in the CareerACCESS Project Manager position.

We met with the PolicyWorks Board. One of the Board members noted that CareerACCESS was a revolutionary idea whose time has come. All in all, it was a very productive week. CareerACCESS is clearly on the national radar. We are coming home with a slew of follow-up items. Now is the time to forge ahead and Go! Go! Go!

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WID Hosts Summer 2016 YALI Mandela Fellows

For Immediate Release

Berkeley, CA, USA–The World Institute on Disability (WID) is proud to partner with IREX and UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy in welcoming this year’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela fellows! In the past, we have hosted Mandela fellows from Liberia, Kenya, the Gambia, Uganda, and Ethiopia, and this year we are excited to host two new fellows from Nigeria and Zimbabwe. It is WID’s mission to eliminate barriers to full social integration and increase employment, economic security, and health care for persons with disabilities in communities and nations worldwide; one of the ways we work toward this goal is by hosting international fellows with disabilities, as well as fellows who are interested in disability advocacy. Our fellows have the opportunity to learn how we promote accessibility and inclusion in the U.S., while WID is able to increase our international understanding of disability.YALI logoIn general, our previous fellows have been interested in entrepreneurial and advocacy efforts surrounding disability and have founded, co-founded, and contributed to important organizations like African Youth with Disabilities Network (AYDN), Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI), Positive Exposure, and Start Now. Additionally, the work they have done falls all over the disability spectrum, including advocacy for people with visual, neurological, and mobility disabilities. Temitope, one of our current fellows from Nigeria, is supervising a skill-acquisition program for children with disabilities, and he is hoping to make strides towards policy reform that will make a positive and much-needed impact. Feri, our fellow from Zimbabwe, tutors young women in her community and hopes to learn more about disability advocacy in order to make vocational training more inclusive of people with disabilities.

Headshots of WID's two summer 2016
Temitope, left, and Feri, right

The immense value of the YALI program perhaps lies in mutual edification. While our fellows come here to increase their skill sets, they bring with them an invaluable international perspective which allows us at WID to make our work comprehensive. Because of this, we encourage you to attend the presentations Feri and Temitope will give on the work they are doing in their countries. The presentation will be held on Wednesday, July 13 in the Ed Roberts Campus in Osher B. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. Please, feel free to ask questions and share any information you may have that you believe may be useful to our fellows. We look forward to seeing you there!

Where: Ed Roberts Campus (3075 Adeline Street), Osher B room
When: July 13, 2016 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
RSVP (appreciated but not required): Charity Peets at charity@wid.org or 510-225-6400

Read our flyer for more information: Mandela Fellows Presentation Invitation (PDF)

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In a suit and tie and in front of an audience, WID's Deputy Director, Tom Foley, presents about ABLE accounts

WID Hosts ABLE Accounts Seminar on July 8

For Immediate Release

Berkeley, CA, USA–WID is very excited to host a seminar about ABLE accounts on July 8 from 9:00am to 12:00pm in the Osher Boardrooms at the Ed Roberts Campus (3075 Adeline Street in Berkeley).

What are ABLE accounts?

They are brand new, tax advantaged savings accounts that allow eligible persons with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking federal disability benefits and up to $300,000 without risk to their Medi-Cal services.

Does this sound like it would be helpful to you or a loved one?

Join noted estate planning attorney Steve Dale and WID’s deputy director Tom Foley for a morning of questions and answers, as well as tips and insight. There will also be a light breakfast of bagels, coffee, and tea served.

Please, RSVP to Kat at kat@wid.org. We look forward to seeing you there!

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JPMC logo

WID’s Accessibility Partner JPMorgan Chase Kicks Off New Conference Accessibility Initiative

Increases access to 10 major community development and civil rights conferences for people with disabilities

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C.–JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), in collaboration with the World Institute on Disability (WID), today launches its Conference Accessibility Initiative. Through this initiative, 10 of the largest community development and civil rights conferences in the United States, including the NAACP, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Housing Conference, National Urban League and the Corporation for Economic Development, will for the first time, be fully inclusive of people with disabilities and enable them to both attend and fully participate in conference sessions.

“People with disabilities experience economic hardship at rates that exceed the national average. At JPMorgan Chase, we believe that the private sector has both a responsibility and role to play in helping address economic and social challenges,” said Naomi Camper, Head of the Office of Nonprofit Engagement at JPMorgan Chase. “Through the Conference Accessibility Initiative, JPMorgan Chase is excited to create more inclusive advocacy and community development conversations and expand the way people think about diversity and inclusion.”

Highlights of the Conference Accessibility Initiative include:

  • Concierge services for conference participants with disabilities
  • Scholarships provided for people with disabilities, including travel and registration costs
  • Integration into conference plenary sessions, panel discussions and awards (i.e., subject-matter experts on panels, presenters with disabilities and closed captioning)
  • Encouragement of organizations to have panel discussions on disability-related topics

“We are so excited to be part of this Conference Accessibility Initiative,” said Tom Foley, WID’s Deputy Director. “There are civil rights and community development organizations doing some amazing work to help to create opportunity for low and moderate income communities. And we know—we absolutely know—that when we’re talking about these communities, we are talking about people with disabilities. Thanks to the partnership with JPMorgan Chase, people with disabilities will be able to attend these conferences. We will be at the table and part of the conversation!”

Large civil rights and community development conferences help to set the economic opportunity agenda. The conferences that JPMorgan Chase has selected attract key decision makers from the nonprofit, business and public sector communities. The Conference Accessibility Initiative aims to fully integrate disability access issues into the content and enable people with disabilities to fully participate in these critical national discussions of economic opportunity and inclusion.

For more information about the JPMorgan Chase Conference Accessibility Initiative, visit http://worldinstituteondisability.org/consulting/conference-accessibility/.

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its JPMorgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

About World Institute on Disability

The World Institute on Disability (WID) is a policy, research and consulting organization committed to the elimination of barriers to full social integration and the development of employment, economic security and health care for persons with disabilities. WID creates innovative programs and tools; conducts research, training, public education and advocacy campaigns; and provides consulting services.

Disclaimer: This press release has been replicated with permission from WID’s accessibility partner, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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A wall of tiles, painted with disability themes

WID’s Current Initiatives: 2016

For Immediate Release

Berkeley, CA, USA–WID focuses cutting-edge issues facing people with disabilities. Though our work changes over time, it always remains directly connected to our mission of eliminating barriers to full social integration by increasing employment, economic security, and health care for persons with disabilities.

Current initiatives include:

EQUITY

Funded in part by a joint project with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), “EQUITY: Asset Building Strategies for People with Disabilities, A Guide to Financial Empowerment” is the first and only wealth-building book specifically targeted toward people with disabilities. With chapters ranging from credit and debt to home-ownership, small business development, and retirement savings, “EQUITY” provides an asset building overview with specific strategies and opportunities for people with disabilities to build a better financial future.

Employment and Disability Benefits Initiative (EDBI)

Disability Benefits (DB101) helps people with disabilities and service providers understand the connections between work and benefits. DB101 will soon expand to serve residents with disabilities in eight states. Vets 101 offers free career planning tools and information services for veterans, their families, and their circles of support. This program is expanding to develop Housing Benefits 101 (HB101) and ABLE101 in 2016. EDBI’s training and information services build relationships with state partners that bring insight and rich background to WID’s policy initiatives.

CareerACCESS

The CareerACCESS policy initiative will reform the current Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) in order to significantly increase the employment rate of people with disabilities aged eighteen to thirty. Career ACCESS will establish pilot programs in up to five states. Because these programs will pivot on the idea that disability benefits are offsets to the high costs of disability rather than subsidies for the inability to work, they will provide required support and services for young adults to shape their careers while building assets and retaining disability benefits.

ABLE101

An outgrowth of WID’s work toward passage and now, implementation of the Achieving Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), ABLE101 will join WID’s cast of information tools and calculators. First introduced in 2006 and signed into law in December 2014, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an onset of disability before age twenty-six) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence, and quality of life without endangering government benefits.

Add Us In (AUI)

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), AUI is designed to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. WID and our partners have worked to place many interns over the past four years at a variety of National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) small businesses.

Disability FEAST (Food Education, Access, Support, & Training)

A culmination of three years’ worth of research under the NEW DOOR project, Disability FEAST is an online cookbook+ for people with disabilities and seniors. WID’s Director of Research and Training, Marsha Saxton, Ph.D., and Projects Coordinator, Elizabeth Layman, stuffed the site with fifty easy and healthy recipes, plus dozens of tip sheets and links to external resources for shopping, cooking, and eating as a person with a disability.

Disaster Preparation

WID’s Deputy Director, Tom Foley, currently serves on the American Red Cross (ARC) National Diversity Advisory Council, and he has worked closely with ARC Disaster Response leaders. As a direct result of this work, ARC will include a disability education component to all California Disaster Institute trainings in 2016. Foley is also involved in training with the Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST), which focuses on serving people with disabilities during California-specific disasters.

New Earth Disability (NED)

As climate change moves forward, people with disabilities are arguably the single most vulnerable group worldwide; New Earth Disability (NED) addresses that threat. Started in late 2014 by Alex Ghenis, WID’s Policy and Research Specialist, NED investigates how people with disabilities will experience all aspects of climate change, such as extreme weather events, food insecurity, and climate-related migration. It also includes several recommendations for collective actions that will protect the disability community.

New Leaders Fellowship Initiative

This initiative is built on WID’s role as a host organization for fellows from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). Global Initiative Assistant Director, Kat Zigmont, oversees the fellows’ time at WID, facilitating opportunities to share best practices, to start dialogues about common issues around disability, and to view the bigger picture of disability worldwide.

Accessibility Consulting

Over the last six months, WID has secured several new clients and contracts in the financial, investment, technology, educational Software, and consulting arenas.

Banking/Financial Surveys

In collaboration with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and Associated Professional Rural Independent Living Centers (APRIL), our banking and financial services access research project is nearly complete. Research results will be shared at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) National Convention, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Annual Convention, and Pacific Rim Conference in 2016.

Conference Accessibility Project (CAI)

In 2016, we plan to assist ten national conferences with a total attendance of more than 20,000 people. Our goal is to make these conferences accessible and relevant for people with disabilities, while also educating the conference organizers about disability barriers and accommodations.

Technology Usability Project (TUP)

This year, we will continue to focus on webpage accessibility, mobile phone and tablet usability, and signage review and evaluation in order to provide information to developers, distributors, and users and to further inform WID’s research on accessibility and usability of products.

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