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The RespectAbility Report Posts

Government Looks to Add New Disability Data Questions: RespectAbility Responds

Washington, D.C., August 11 – This past week, the nonpartisan disability advocacy nonprofit RespectAbility submitted comments to the US Department of Labor (DOL) regarding the possibility of adding new supplemental disability data questions to the Current Population Survey (CPS).

Administered by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the basic monthly CPS is “the source of official government statistics on the unemployment rate and other labor market measures.” Although it has existed since the 1940s, it only began tracking disability status in June of 2008. The subsequent data has “revealed large disparities in labor market outcomes between people with and without disabilities,” but lacked the specific information that could be used to help understand and address these disparities. As a result, the Census Bureau and BLS have conducted three supplemental surveys to the CPS regarding disability employment issues (2012, 2019, and 2021), and plan to conduct a fourth in 2024. 

On June 24, the Department of Labor published a notice stating that they were “seeking information from the public… to gather information to aid in revising this [fourth] CPS Disability Supplement and to inform its general disability employment research agenda.” 

RespectAbility made suggestions for new questions to ask, as well as new answer options for existing questions, such as including “reliance on family members” as a category of transportation commuting modes, in order to collect a more nuanced dataset which takes into account the experiences common for those with disabilities. 

RespectAbility Joins National Dialogue on Long COVID Policies and Solutions

Washington, D.C., August 10 – Given widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in the United States, millions of workers are now facing the prospect of infection and potentially developing Long COVID. In order to address the long-term consequences of the pandemic and how it is reshaping the nation’s workforce, the U.S. Department…

RespectAbility Responds to Proposed Regulatory Changes to Support Disability Entrepreneurship

Washington, D.C., August 9 – This past week, the national disability inclusion organization RespectAbility submitted key testimony supporting regulatory changes that would enable more people with disabilities to become entrepreneurs, access credit, and be more financially stable.

Until the end of last week, the federal government was seeking public comment on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) around proposed updates to the  Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. The CRA is in place for financial institutions to provide economic development and support in historically marginalized communities. Together, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) are examining ways to use CRA to better address the inequities of today’s society.

Wes Moore Wins Maryland Democratic Primary, Faces Dan Cox in November

Annapolis, MD, July 26 – Author, entrepreneur, and veteran Wes Moore has won a hotly contested primary campaign to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for Maryland’s next Governor. At the same time, House of Delegates member Dan Cox won the Republican Party’s nomination. Cox will face Moore this fall in a closely watched gubernatorial election.

Moore is one of seven Democratic candidates who responded to RespectAbility’s Disability Voter Questionnaire for Senate and gubernatorial candidates. His responses outlined his vision of why he should be the candidate to follow up Larry Hogan’s tenure as Governor of the Old Line State. At same time, while RespectAbility has reached out multiple times to their staff, only one Republican candidate in the race responded to the nonpartisan questionnaire.

Sivalingam Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in New Hampshire Senate Race

Concord, NH, June 30 – New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Tejasinha Sivalingam 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 183,112 people living with some form of disability in New Hampshire and their votes could be crucial in deciding who will represent them in the United States Senate. 

Sivalingam is the second candidate in the upcoming New Hampshire 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. 

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.