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The RespectAbility Report Posts

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Nebraska on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Lincoln, NE, June 10 – This week, the Nebraska Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Cornhusker State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Ollie Cantos, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 110,000 working age (18-64) Nebraskans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 50.8 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Nebraska’s Workforce Development Board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Los Angeles Mayor’s Race Advances to November Runoff – What Voters with Disabilities Need to Know

Los Angeles, CA, June 8 – The race to replace Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will continue this fall, with Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) facing off against billionaire real estate mogul Rick Caruso in a November runoff election. Despite weeks of hard campaigning, neither candidate secured more than 50 percent of the vote. This means that Angelenos will have one final chance to choose their next mayor on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

“Los Angeles faces a major turning point when it comes to picking their next mayor,” said Nelly Nieblas, RespectAbility’s Los Angeles-based State and Federal Policy Associate. “Both candidates need to lay out a clear vision for what they would do to earn the votes of the 1 million Angelenos living with a disability.”

The Los Angeles Mayor’s race garnered national attention and featured a crowded field of diverse candidates, each pitching their vision for the future. Over the past several months, RespectAbility has actively engaged with the different mayoral campaigns to educate them about the key issues facing Angelenos with disabilities.

RespectAbility Disability Voters’ Guide: Maryland

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, and more

Annapolis, MD, May 31 – Ahead of the upcoming primary election, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest Maryland Voter Guide. According to the 2021 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are approximately 694,317 people living in Maryland with some form of disability. The disability community makes up 11.6 percent of the state’s population.

Nationwide, one-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group.  It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. 

RespectAbility has asked Democratic and Republican candidates the same key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, education, and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns in order to solicit responses to the questionnaire.  Below, you can read responses from candidates on the ballot in Maryland who have already taken the time to address the concerns of voters with disabilities.   

King Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, May 31 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Secretary of Education John King responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are more than 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

King is the seventh candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Alaska on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Juneau, AK, May 25 – This week, the Alaska Workforce Development Board will meet to discuss the status of workforce practices in the state. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Ollie Cantos, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 40,730 working age (18-64) Alaskans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, only 39.1 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Alaska’s Workforce Development Board listens to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Arizona on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Phoenix, AZ, May 24 – This week, the Arizona Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the state. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Ollie Cantos, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 488,802 working age (18-64) Arizonans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, only 38 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Arizona’s Workforce Development Board listens to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Fetterman Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Pennsylvania Senate Race

Harrisburg, PA, May 10 – Democratic Senate candidate and current Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are more than 1.8 million people living with some form of disability in Pennsylvania and their votes could be crucial in deciding who will represent them in the United States Senate. 

Fetterman is the second candidate in the upcoming Pennsylvania Senate race to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to key Senate and gubernatorial campaigns on both sides of the aisle and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report. 

New Small Business Administration Equity Action Plan Overlooks Unique Challenges Faced By Disabled Entrepreneurs

Washington, D.C., May 3 – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced a new equity action plan, focusing on strengthening entrepreneurs from underserved communities. The action plan addresses barriers to diversity and inclusion for small business owners, in conjunction with the executive order EO (13985), “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” The new SBA initiative aims to facilitate access to financial resources, products, and consultation services for underserved populations so that they can start, run, and grow their own businesses. However, people with disabilities face unique challenges with starting their own business, raising capital, dealing with technology, managing credit, and approaching business counseling, and unfortunately, the SBA’s Equity Action Plan does not fully take these challenges into account.

Facilitating Access to Capital

The SBA action plan discussed the gap in capital access for business owners who are seeking less than $150K in funding, and especially loans under $10,000. The SBA plans to bridge this gap by launching smart e-loan programs, such as the “Community Advantage” and “Lenders Match,” to become more inclusive. These integrated online platforms will target the credit and technical assistance needs of small businesses in underserved markets. However, the plan did not speak to the accessibility of using such online platforms, nor the potential effect on matching borrowers with disabilities and their organizations with potential lenders.

RespectAbility Disability Voters’ Guide: New Hampshire

Concord, NH, May 3 – Ahead of the upcoming primary, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest New Hampshire Voter Guide. According to the 2021 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are approximately 183,000 people living in the Granite State with some form of disability. The disability community makes up 13.4 percent of the state’s population. 

Nationwide, one-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. 

RespectAbility has asked Democratic and Republican candidates the same key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, education, and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns in order to solicit responses to the questionnaire. Below you can read responses from candidates on the ballot in New Hamsphire who have already taken the time to address the concerns of voters with disabilities.  

RespectAbility Disability Voters’ Guide: Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, PA, May 3 – Ahead of the upcoming primary election, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest Pennsylvania Disability Voter Guide. According to the 2021 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are approximately 1.8 million people living in Pennsylvania with some form of disability. The disability community makes up 14.5 percent of the state’s population. 

Nationwide, one-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. 

RespectAbility has asked Democratic and Republican candidates the same key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, education, and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns in order to solicit responses to the questionnaire. Below you can read responses from candidates on the ballot in Pennsylvania who have already taken the time to address the concerns of voters with disabilities. 

RespectAbility Disability Voters’ Guide: Los Angeles

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, homelessness, and more

Los Angeles, CA, April 30 – Ahead of the upcoming primary, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest Los Angeles Disability Voter Guide. According to the 2021 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. The disability community makes up 9.9 percent of the population in Los Angeles County and fully 11.3 percent of California’s state population. 

Nationwide, one-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. 

RespectAbility has asked Democratic and Republican candidates the same key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, education, and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns in order to solicit responses to the questionnaire. Below you can read responses from candidates on the ballot in Los Angeles who have already taken the time to address the concerns of voters with disabilities.

Wilson Completes Los Angeles-Area Disability Candidate Questionnaire

Los Angeles, April 30 – Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles Mel Wilson has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. 

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. 

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.  

Wilson is running in the nonpartisan primary for Mayor of Los Angeles.

Niou Completes Candidate Questionnaire on Disability Issues

New York, NY, April 29 – New York State Representative and State Senate primary candidate Yuh-Line Niou has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. In total, there are 2.3 million New York State residents living with some form of disability and the disability community makes up 12.3 percent of the Empire State’s population.

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.

Niou is running against incumbent state Senator Brian P. Kavanagh in the Democratic primary to represent New York’s 26th State Senate district. Kavanaugh has not yet replied to RespectAbility’s questionnaire.

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Oklahoma on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Oklahoma City, OK, April 28 – This week, the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development (GCWED) met to discuss the status of workforce practices in Oklahoma. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 373,359 working age (18-64) Oklahomans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 37.8 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Oklahoma’s Workforce Development Board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Montana on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Helena, MT, April 28 – This week, the Montana State Workforce Innovation Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in Montana. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 73,328 working age (18-64) Montanans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 41.6 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Montana’s Workforce Development Board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.

Coalition Partners Offer Key Solutions to Work Disincentives

Washington, D.C., April 27 – This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) closed public feedback via a Request for Information (RFI) about key disability topics, benefit system challenges, and economic mobility questions. In response, several national disability advocacy organizations, acting as part of the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD), joined forces to develop a thorough set of recommendations to CMS about how to support people with disabilities who want to work. 

The Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD) is the largest coalition of national organizations working together to advocate for federal public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.

The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), RespectAbility, and the United Spinal Association, operating under their joint work as the CCD Employment and Training Task Force, collaborated to offer employment-focused policy ideas. Members of the CCD Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) Task Force offered their own comments with a strong focus on rights, independent living, and continued access to key life-saving benefits. 

ADA Co-Sponsor and Retired Senator Orrin Hatch Dies at Age 88

Washington, D.C., April 25 – This past weekend, former Senator Orrin Hatch died in Salt Lake City, Utah. Originally elected in 1976, Hatch would go on to represent Utah in the United States Senate for seven terms, making him the longest serving Republican Senator in American history. Hatch authored or co-sponsored more than 750 pieces of legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. 

In a public statement, President Joe Biden highlighted the character of the Utahan Senator he worked with for so many years: “Orrin…looked out for the people who often didn’t have a voice in our laws and our country. I saw this in his efforts to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

Reflecting on the passing of Sen. Hatch, RespectAbility’s Chairman Ollie Cantos said “Orin Hatch was a man whose achievements are eclipsed only by his strength of character and heart of platinum. As one grateful to have spent individual time with him along with my boys, I will greatly miss him.”

Vasquez Completes Los Angeles-Area Disability Candidate Questionnaire

Los Angeles, April 22 – Candidate for the L.A. City Council Dulce Vasquez has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. 

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. 

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.  

Vasquez is running in the primary to represent the 9th District in the L.A. City Council.

Yebri Completes Los Angeles-Area Disability Candidate Questionnaire

Los Angeles, April 18 – Candidate for the L.A. City Council Sam Yebri has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. 

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are approximately one million people living in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with some form of disability. 

Polls show that the majority of voters have either a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs – and the actions campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing.  

Yebri is running in the primary to represent the 5th District in the L.A. City Council.

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Utah on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Salt Lake City, UT, April 14 – This week, the Utah Workforce Development Board met to discuss the status of workforce practices in the Beehive State. In response to this meeting, RespectAbility, a national, non-partisan nonprofit organization, submitted testimony on how to implement best practices, advocate for greater inclusion and improve the standing of people with disabilities in the workforce.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s Chairman. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to devote significant attention to supporting the economic advancement of students, job-seekers, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.”

There are more than 187,000 working age (18-64) Utahans living with some form of disability. Before the pandemic, 47.5 percent of the working age population of people with disabilities were employed. It is critical that Utah’s Workforce Development Board listen to the individuals with disabilities and advocates impacted by these unemployment rates. In order to make the workforce more inclusive, and to find practical ways to make the workforce more accessible for the entire population, RespectAbility collects, summarizes, and publicizes ideas on key workforce solutions. To learn more about RespectAbility’s advocacy work, please visit our Policy website.