National Disability Institute celebrates 32 years of advocacy and inclusion
Thirty-two years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. Passed with bipartisan support, the ADA was the first set of comprehensive civil rights and protections for people with disabilities.
A note from Thomas Foley, NDI Executive Director
As we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we recognize the people, organizations and allies that labored tirelessly for the passage of this watershed legislation. And while we can, and should, reflect upon the measurable successes of our past, we must also look to the future and take intentional steps to increase our authentic inclusion efforts, particularly for people with disabilities in Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.
The ADA reads, in part, “the Nation’s proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals.” These are not just goals or platitudes, but a promise. A promise for civil and economic justice, that inclusion and opportunity should, simply, be available to everyone. We will only accomplish this by working together. Corporations, government, allies and disability advocates all working toward the shared goal will make the promises of the ADA a reality for all people with disabilities. The ADA is not something to reflect upon only once a year, but it is an obligation, a shared responsibility, a vow, to what will be!
We, at National Disability Institute, will continue our 17-year commitment to building a better financial future for all people with disabilities. Join us.
Read the Blog: Reflections on the Past; Hopes for the Future — NDI Staff Celebrate the 31st Anniversary of the ADA, a compilation of our staff’s thoughts on the ADA and the profound effect it has had on the work we do.
For more than 15 years…
National Disability Institute has worked to fulfill the ADA’s promise of economic self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities.
NDI envisions a society where people with disabilities have the same opportunities to achieve financial stability and independence as people without disabilities. We’re the first and only national organization exclusively focused on improving the financial health and wellness of all people with disabilities.
Essential Resources to Fulfill the Promise of the ADA
These resources, which focus on the employment and economic inclusion of people with disabilities, are essential supports to fulfill the promise of the ADA. We encourage you to check back for new items and share this online resource guide with others.
- Disability and Employment eLearning Modules
- DEI Best Practices Highlights
- Employment Network (EN) Tools and Resources
- DEI Seen & Heard Series
- DEI Seen & Heard Innovation Series
- Quick Reference Guides: Serving Returning Citizens with Disabilities
- Interactive Data Visualization Tool: WIOA Disability-Related Reporting
The Disability and Employment eLearning Task Force in collaboration with the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) released three eLearning Training Modules to help support the professional development needs of the workforce development staff across the country. These modules are designed to help support American Job Centers provide more effective and efficient services to individuals with disabilities and businesses using our services.
In 2021, the eLearning modules were updated to include new Reflect, Relate, and Apply activity sheets for staff and a Manager’s Toolkit to support AJC leaders.
Module 1: Serving Individuals with Disabilities – A Day in the Life of an American Job Center
Module 2: Working Across Partners – A Day in the Life of an American Job Center
Module 3: Providing Inclusive Business Services – A Day in the Life of an American Job Center
This page contains mini-brief summaries of disability and employment best practices currently being implemented by Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) grantees. This series helps to translate knowledge to the field on disability and employment best/emerging practices currently being implemented by DEI grantees. Overall, it has been found that the implementation of DEI strategies have resulted in an increase in the enrollment of individuals with disabilities at American Job Centers.
An Employment Network (EN) is an entity that enters into an agreement with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to either provide or coordinate the delivery of services to Social Security disability beneficiaries. The U.S. Department of Labor encourages public workforce system entities to become active ENs as part of its comprehensive effort to expand the capacity of the American Job Center network to serve people receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Participation as a workforce system in the Ticket to Work program has resulted in positive outcomes in two key areas by: 1) providing a source of income to help the American Job Center enhance services; and 2) helping job seekers with disabilities who are receiving SSA benefits return to or enter the workforce. The following technical assistance resources can support workforce entities in learning more about the EN process.
Launched in September 2019, this series highlights the work of local and state-level Disability Resource Coordinators (DRCs) to the national workforce system. It was created to help humanize and individualize the work of the disability and workforce experts in the field and the impact of DEI strategies. It represents a one-page spotlight that includes responses to personal and work-related questions plus a mini success impact story they helped to make happen.
Thanks to the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), Disability Resource Coordinators (DRCs) across the country have served on the front lines to help strengthen the capacity of American Job Centers (AJC) to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
As AJC services have been forced to move into primarily virtual and remote formats, workforce systems across the country, including those that were a part of DEI, have started implementing new and creative ways to continue providing quality service delivery that includes customers with disabilities. To help put a spotlight on these innovations, WorkforceGPS expanded its Seen & Heard series to highlight how DEI has helped the public workforce system adapt to this new environment while continuing to ensure full access and inclusivity.
These quick reference guides include statistics, tips, and resources to help American Job Center staff serve returning citizens with disabilities as they enter the workforce.
The quick reference guides include strategies for improving disability disclosure, leveraging partners to secure wrap-around support services, and providing reasonable accommodations that will help individuals receive the resources they need to be successful.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that locals and states report on ten disability-related data elements. Often those in the field do not know what their data looks like, and how comprehensive their reporting is, this interactive data visualization tool can assist you in better understanding who you are serving. The WIOA reporting tool allows you to see data related to people with disabilities in your state, county or Employment & Training Administration (ETA) region.
National Disability Institute understands the short and long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on the financial and personal health of people with disabilities and those with chronic health conditions, as well as their families and communities. The Financial Resilience Center website provides users with trusted answers to their frequently asked questions, including assistance help you manage their finances. The FRC’s partnership with LifeCents gives users access to free online financial wellness training, and free professional financial counseling is offered by AFCPE.
ABLE savings accounts can have a positive impact on the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities and their families. The ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) is the leading source of objective, independent information about federal and state ABLE programs and activities, including guidance on tax-advantaged ABLE savings accounts. Founded and managed by National Disability Institute (NDI), the ABLE NRC’s website has become the go-to source for all information on ABLE for people with disabilities and their families, as well as employers, state and federal agencies, service providers, tax practitioners, financial planners and attorneys.
Assistive Technology – hearing aids, communication devices, wheelchairs and home or vehicle modifications – can be expensive to purchase. National Disability Institute can help people with disabilities find and afford assistive technology. NDI’s Assistive Technology (AT) Loan Program provides affordable loans of $500 to $30,000 to residents of New Jersey and New York.
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may be entitled to more income than you think. This video explores some of the myths regarding your eligibility to receive SSI or SSDI cash benefits while working and earning an income.
The ADA provided the first comprehensive set of civil rights and protections for individuals with disabilities. The ADA mandates accessibility and accommodations for those with disabilities in public facilities, employment, state and local government services, transportation and communication. In the years following the ADA, the Assistive Technology Act was signed into law to help states sustain and strengthen their ability to provide individuals with access to assistive technology.
This blog outlines the ways that individuals can use Alternative Finance Programs to find and afford assistive technology (AT).
Sixteen years after it was founded, National Disability Institute has grown to include over 30 staff members from across the nation with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences of disability. In celebration of the 31st anniversary of the ADA, this blog is a compilation of our staff’s thoughts on the ADA and the profound effect it has had on the work they love to do.
This blog was written by Kate Brouse, a disability advocate for national nonprofit NTI, the leader in helping Americans with disabilities train for and find work-at-home jobs. In this blog, Brouse highlights the ways in which remote work benefits inclusion and people with disabilities.
Americans with Disabilities Act: Countdown to the 30th Anniversary