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Disability Inclusion Project
Disability Inclusion and Outreach
Millions of Americans live with disabilities, and many other Americans will become disabled at some point in their lives. To integrate people with disabilities more fully into every aspect of life, much effort is being exerted to advance greater freedoms at work, in national service, schools, and throughout communities. By expanding opportunities and fighting false perceptions that hinder people living with disabilities from participating in their communities, our communities are strengthened and a more inclusive environment for all can be fostered.
On February 1, 2001 the New Freedom Initiative was signed into legislation that ultimately expanded upon the landmark reforms of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since then, the Initiative has increased access for people with disabilities through technology, provided additional educational opportunities for youth, and integrated more Americans into the workplace. Since that date, a greater effort has been re-committed to empowering all people to reach their full educational, social, and professional goals.
AmeriCorps and People with Disabilities
Inclusion refers to the active engagement of people with disabilities as service members and volunteers in all levels of national and community service.
Disability inclusion and outreach is an essential element of AmeriCorps' success! National service is for everyone because everyone has something of value to offer. Among AmeriCorps' goals is the full and proactive inclusion of individuals with disabilities in service. AmeriCorps Members with disabilities gain valuable experience and skills, and provide communities with the opportunity to work closely with persons with disabilities. Disability outreach and inclusion is vital to the success of our national and community service initiatives. Join our service family and show your community what you have to offer!
Disability-Related Effective Practices
Creating an Inclusive Environment: A Handbook for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities in National and Community Service Programs is a thorough resource for national service programs including in-depth information on inclusive service environments, inclusive service descriptions, inclusive interviewing, inclusive recruitment and outreach, accommodations, management and retention, collaborations, and government benefits. Also offers a glossary, self-evaluation check-list, and tips for presentations to people with disabilities.
National & Local Resources
The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP), a program of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, focuses on including individuals with disabilities in national service programs, such as AmeriCorps.
On June 17, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 6081, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 ("the HEART Act"), making AmeriCorps more accessible to people with disabilities. The new law directs the Social Security Administration to ignore an individual's receipt of AmeriCorps benefits for purposes of SSI eligibility. The Heart Act excludes "any benefit (whether cash or in-kind)" and so covers the living allowance, health insurance, child care, and the education award (and related interest payments).
ADA (American with Disabilities Act) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal. Disability is defined as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." The determination of whether any particular condition is considered a disability is made on a case by case basis.
The Alaska Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired acts to make sure that vision loss is not the barrier to Alaskans meeting their vocational goals or living safely and independently in retirement. The Center offers job development and placement, on-the-job technology assessments, and coaching for retention.
Disability.gov is the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide. The site links to more than 14,000 resources from federal, state and local government agencies; academic institutions; and nonprofit organizations. Disability.gov connects people with disabilities to the information and resources they need to actively participate in the workforce and in their communities.
Easter Seals Alaska provides services to individuals with disabilities to help ensure equal opportunities in all types of activities. They also specialize in benefits planning for individuals with disabilities.
National Organization on Disability (NOD) expands the participation and contribution of America's 54 million men, women, and children with disabilities in all aspects of life.
Job Accommodation Network provides information about employing individuals with disabilities and the ADA among a wealth of other topics, look no further than the. A free, professional consulting program hosted by West Virginia University.
The Alaska Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education connect the public with policymakers to ensure services for individuals with disabilities Anchorage, Alaska.
Vocational Rehabilitation, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is committed to assist individuals with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment.
Civil Rights Office, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities is committed to promoting equality in transportation service and ensuring transportation services are provided in a non-discriminatory manner.
Alaska Centers for Independent Living (CIL) are guided by an Independent Living and Self-Determination Philosophy that promotes people first language, individual choice and responsibility, self-advocacy and programs available to persons with all types of disabilities. The majority of CIL board, staff and volunteers are individuals who have disabilities.
Alaska Statewide Independent Living Council, the primary purpose of the Council is to encourage and advocate independent living for Alaskan's with disabilities throughout the state. The SILC office is centrally located in Anchorage, Alaska. At this location reside the executive director and support staff to accommodate the operational aspect of the organization.