President Trump has proclaimed October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  During the month, the country celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and highlight the skills and talents they bring to the workplace.  

Read full proclamation

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The Job Accommodation Network released the 2017 update to its annual “Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact” study. The research indicates that the majority of workplace accommodations cost nothing, while for those that do, the typical small expenditure pays for itself multiple-fold in the form of reduced insurance and training costs and increased productivity and morale.

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They seem to be ongoing questions: how can employers maybe the workplace inclusive for people with disabilities and how can companies ensure that training complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act?  This article discusses the concept of "universal design," ADA compliance, and how technology plays a role in making the workplace inclusive.

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A program in Eau Claire aims to prepare young adults with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 21 for life after high school graduation. The activity, called the Amazing Race to Employment, is funded through a Transition Improvement Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.  It allows students to collaborate with business owners.

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Wisconsin farmers with disabilities have been able to access fewer services through the state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation during the past year and a half, and officials at the AgrAbility of Wisconsin program aren’t happy about it. The AgrAbility of Wisconsin program provides assistive services to farmers and their families living with an injury, disability or limitation. Due to a new DVR business policy, farmers with disabilities often aren't getting the help they need.  The requirements under the new policy make it difficult for farmers to qualify for services.

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The American Association on Health and Disability ( is accepting applications for the Frederick J. Krause Scholarship for undergraduate (junior/senior status) and graduate students with disabilities who are majoring in a field related to disability and health.  Please feel free to distribute to your colleagues.

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM CRITERIA: The AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability is awarded annually to deserving students with a disability,pursuing undergraduate/graduate studies (must be at least enrolled as a Junior in college) in an accredited college or university. Preference is given to students majoring in a field related to disability and health, to include, but not limited to  public health, health promotion, disability studies, disability research, rehabilitation engineering, audiology, disability policy, special education and majors that will impact quality of life of persons with disabilities.

Applicant must have a disability Applicant must be enrolled  FULL TIME as an undergraduate student (junior standing and above) or enrolled PART TIME or FULL TIME in a graduate school Preference is given to students majoring in a field related to disability and health (see Scholarship  Program Criteria above) Applicant must be a US citizen or legal resident living in the US and enrolled in an accredited United States university Funds are limited to under $1,000

FUNDING INFORMATION: Funds are limited to under $1,000. The AAHD Board of Directors Scholarship Committee will evaluate each of the applicants and make a decision in December of each calendar year.  The 2017-2018 Scholarship Award will be awarded January 2018.  It is the discretion of the Scholarship Committee to determine how many scholarships will be awarded each year and the amount of each scholarship. 


  • Applicant must provide a Personal Statement (maximum 3 pages, double spaced), including brief personal history, educational/career goals, extra-curricular activities, and reasons why they should be selected by the AAHD Scholarship Committee. This statement must be written solely by the applicant
  • Applicant must provide two (2) Letters of Recommendation (One must be from a teacher or academic advisor). Letters may be sent by U. S. mail or by email attachment as pdf and should include the signature of the teacher or advisor, and the name of student should appear in the subject line of the email.
  • Applicant must provide an official copy of college transcript, which should be mailed to AAHD in a sealed envelope.
  • Applicant must agree to allow AAHD to use their name, picture and/or story in future scholarship materials.

Applications are due November 15, 2017.

APPLICATION FORM: PDF" rel="noopener">
Please attach your application, supporting materials, etc. and email to: Place “2017-18 Scholarship” in subject line. (Please use MS Word for your personal statement and MS Word, if at all possible, and/or PDF for all other documents that are emailed as attachments).  If this is not possible, please mail documents to:

Scholarship Committee
American Association on Health and Disability
110 N. Washington Street, Suite 328-J
Rockville, MD 20850

Only completed applications will be considered and must be postmarked and/or received by email no later than November 15, 2017.

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This is an interesting article written by a Representative from Mississippi about the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act.  The bill would eliminate the ability of employers to get special certificates so they can pay subminimum wages to people with disabilities.  The TIME Act will phrase out and repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act without raising minimum wage.  The Representative created this bill  because he feels that people with disabilities should not be paid less than minimum wage.  He also has a personal connection because his son has a disability.

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Employment Network News: September 2017

By Employment Network, 2017-09-19

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Time is Running Out...Register Today!

There is still time to register for the 10th annual Self-Determination Conference. This conference ​works ​to ​empower ​people ​with ​disabilities ​in ​Wisconsin ​to ​have ​more ​control ​over ​their ​lives. ​More ​than ​600 ​people ​each ​year ​participate ​in ​the ​conference ​to ​learn ​more ​about ​self-determination ​and ​self ​directed ​supports ​so ​they ​can ​live ​independently, ​be ​members ​of ​their ​communities, ​and ​use ​public ​funds ​efficiently. ​The ​conference ​participants ​include ​people ​with ​disabilities ​and ​their ​family ​members, ​direct ​care ​providers, ​and ​professionals ​from ​Wisconsin’s ​disability ​community.  View this year's conference brochure and register today

Diehard Award Nominations

Do you know someone who goes above and beyond to improve community supports for individuals with disabilities? Do they support self-determination? Nominate them for a Diehard Award! A Diehard is an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advocacy work here in Wisconsin. A diehard is someone with a steadfast commitment to the principles of community integration and self-determination. Diehards go above and beyond to make sure everyone is counted. Awards will be presented at the Self-Determination Conference on November 3rd at the Kalahari Resort and Conference Center in the Wisconsin Dells. Nominations are due on Friday, October 6th. Nominate someone today!


The Employment Network includes some very talented members and we want to help you to get to know each other a little better.  In September, the Employment Network is shining the Spotlight on Deb Thompson.   When she’s not reading or spending time with her grandchildren, this Vocational Specialist loves helping people with disabilities find employment.  She encourages people to take risks and not to become discouraged when looking for employment. Stop by this month's Member Spotlight to get to know more about Deb! 

Do you know an Employment Network member who we could shine a spotlight on next?

128 Stacy’s Journal

Lately, it seems like all of the news coverage has been about the catastrophic storms that are happening around the world. Back to back major hurricanes in the south, wildfires in the west, earthquakes in Mexico… it seems endless. This month, Stacy discusses what extra steps people with disabilities have to take when Mother Nature throws curve balls.  We encourage you to share your experiences as well.

Take five minutes to check out what's happening on the Employment Network:

  • Be Inspired:  The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion recently published two new profiles of Workforce Recruitment Program participants on its Success Stories webpage.  Read the stories and learn about the program.
  • Changing Attitudes about Employing People with Disabilities:  Although people with disabilities are still largely under represented in the workplace, new data suggests that corporate attitudes are shifting.  Find out what companies are finding.
  • Embracing Inclusion:  According to a new report which was part of the 2017 Disability Equality Index, a growing number of businesses are actively recruiting people with disabilities.  Learn about how many employers have disability focus groups and many have senior executives working on the effort.
  • Five Common Factors: The National Organization on Disability released aggregated results of its 2017 Disability Employment Tracker, revealing five common attributes shared by companies making the most progress on disability inclusion.  Find out what those factors are.
  • Call for Proposals:  Proposals to present at the 2018 National ADA Symposium are now being accepted.  The submission deadline is September 30th.
  • The Results are In:  The U.S. Business Leadership Network and the American Association of People with Disabilities announced the results of their 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI) survey, an annual effort to gather information about best practices for disability inclusion across industries.  Find out which businesses earned top ratings.

calendar.jpegUpcoming Events 

Here's a sample of upcoming events listed on the Employment Network:

Post your event on the Employment Network and it can be included in future Network News emails to members! Questions? Contact Stacy Ellingen.  


The Employment Network is powered by In Control Wisconsin and supported financially by our members and Sponsors. We couldn't keep this Network going with you! Find out how you can support the Network!

USBLN.ORG: 2017 Disability Equality Index Results

By Employment Network, 2017-09-13

In July,  the U.S. Business Leadership Network and the American Association of People with Disabilities announced the results of their 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI) survey, an annual effort to gather information about best practices for disability inclusion across industries. Roughly 100 companies participated in the DEI this year, with a record 68 earning the top rating of 100 percent. 

View results

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Stacy's Journal: Weathering Storms

By Stacy Ellingen, 2017-09-11

Lately, it seems like all of the news coverage I’ve seen has been about the catastrophic storms that are happening around the world.  Back to back major hurricanes in the south, wildfires in the west, earthquakes in Mexico… it seems endless.  It’s true—disasters like these bring out the best in humanity.  The stories of survival and of people helping one another are truly amazing.  Having said that though, thousands of people’s lives have been turned upside-down.  Watching all of this has really made me think about what extra steps people with disabilities have to take when Mother Nature throws curve balls.

I’ve seen a couple of different posts on social media about extra precautions people with disabilities need to take when major storms hit.  Of course, needs widely vary depending on individual circumstances, but it’s recommended that everyone—especially those with disabilities—have a plan.  Obviously, it’s important to have things like extra food, water, and batteries on hand, but it’s often critical for people with disabilities to have items like extra generators and extra medication ready.  For people who rely on ventilators, backup generators are a must.

People who depend on others to help with personal cares needs have additional worries.  What if your care assistants can’t get to you?  How will you survive if nobody can get to you?  The answer to these questions again depend on individual situations, but it’s important that people have a backup plan in place.  People with mobility issues also need to think about how they would physically evacuate or take shelter if a major storm were to come.  It’s a lot to think about, but it’s so important to have a plan in place. 

In Wisconsin, it’s very rare that we get a real catastrophic storm.  It seems like every few years a part of the state gets hammered with a huge blizzard or a major thunderstorm/tornado.  While these storms aren’t usually too major, often times, they can cause some major obstacles for people with disabilities.  Personally, I think winter is the worst.  Between the bitter cold temps and the snow, I find it challenging to get out.  I don’t have this problem anymore, but when I was at UW-Whitewater, I never wore a coat or gloves—even in the dead of winter.  Yes, people thought I was crazy, but I didn’t have a way to bundle/unbundle when I got to class and home.  I hate being hot, so I wasn’t going to sweat to death waiting for my next care shift.  I usually got rides to/from class, but, admittedly, it wasn’t very smart.  Snow brings another whole set of challenges for people who use wheelchairs.  Sidewalks, curb cutouts, and ramps are often not cleared in a timely manner.  Depending on how much snow there is, it can be nearly impossible to get anywhere.

Summer thunderstorms and tornadoes can bring on obstacles as well.  Many people with disabilities rely heavily on electricity.  Whether it’s charging a power scooter, charging a communication device, or using it to keep a ventilator running, electricity is crucial for sustaining life for people who have disabilities and illnesses.  For me, when the power goes out, the first thing I worry about is my door to my apartment.  It’s an electronic door, so when the power goes out, I can’t open the door to let my staff in (I have a clicker on my chair that I push to open the locked door).  I do have a keybox outside of my apartment in case I’m unable to let people in, but it’s a matter of getting ahold of the person who is coming ahead of time, so they know what to do.

Tornado warnings are another interesting event when you have physical limitations.  Fortunately, there haven’t been too many tornado warnings since I’ve been living in my apartment.  There isn’t a basement where I live, so when there’s a tornado, I just go in the innermost room in my place which happens to be the bathroom.  If something were to really happen where I needed help, I always have my phone on my chair.  Another thing I have to worry about is when the weather gets bad (both in winter and summer), is whether people going to be able to get to my place to my help me.  Fortunately, I’ve never had somebody not be able to get to me due to weather conditions.  People have been really late because of the weather, but they eventually did make it.  If things were to get really bad where it was going to be really dangerous for people to travel, I’d probably make arrangements beforehand to either have somebody stay with me or to stay with someone so I could get the help I needed.

Major storms can cause havoc for everyone; people with disabilities often just have some extra things to figure out.  Planning and acting ahead of time can definitely help.  It’s known how unpredictable Mother Nature can be; it’s best to have an action plan in place! 

***The views expressed here are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of InControl Wisconsin, the Network or any of our sponsors.

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