Archive for 'News'

Dec 13

Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights (VCDR)

Winter Board of Governors’ Meeting

Friday, December 15, 2017 

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Location:   Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 60 Kimball Ave, South Burlington, VT

10:00 – 10:30 Steering Committee
10:30 – 12:00 BOG Discussion and Adoption of the Platform
Please Join Us for LUNCH – All Invited
and an Afternoon Panel Discussion
with Advocacy Organizations

PLEASE RSVP to [email protected]

or  [email protected]

Call In for Morning Steering and BOG Platform Discussion Only:
VCDR call-in number is: 1-800-444-2801 9627172#
Agenda can be found here:
We are excited to be joined by organizations that intersect with the work of VCDR membership. What are the advocacy issues of these organizations? How can we work together on these important issues that intersect with the disability community? Come and have a chance to hear about the different advocacy issues organizations are working on and how you as a VCDR member might be able to connect to the groups.
Confirmed Organization’s Include:
  • Justice for All
  • Rights and Democracy – James Haslam
  • VT Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence – Karen Tronsgard-Scott
  • Main Street Alliance – Ashley Moore
  • VT Low Income Advocacy Council – Karen Lafayette
  • VT Workers Center – Kate Kanelstein
  • Black Lives Matter
  • VT Affordable Housing Coalition – Erhard Mahnke
  • VT Care Partners
Other Organizations Invited:
  • Vermont Early Childhood Alliance
  • Voices for Vermont’s Children
  • Human Rights Council

Submitted by Karen Lafayette [email protected]


Nov 21

Released November 21, 2017 –

Public Comment Session for Adult Protective Services (APS)

On behalf of DAIL Commissioner Monica Caserta-Hutt and Steve Pouliot, Chairperson of the APS Committee of the DAIL Advisory Board:

The Adult Protective Services (APS) Committee of the DAIL Advisory Board will hold a public comment session on Thursday, December 14th, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The session will be in the Sally Fox Conference Center, Cherry Conference Room, at the Waterbury State Office Complex.  You are invited to attend to provide any feedback on your experience with Vermont’s APS program.  This feedback will help guide the committee and APS as they jointly work together to improve our program.

Directions to the Waterbury State Office Complex are below.  The complex is a secure facility.  If you RSVP to [email protected], your name will be provided to security staff, which will expedite your entrance into the complex.  You may still attend if you don’t RSVP in advance but give yourself some time to get through security at the front door.  All attendees must bring a government issued photo ID.  All visitors must enter through the main entrance of the complex as described below.

The comment session will be held in the Cherry Conference Room.  After checking in with security, you will enter the Atrium of the complex.  Take the elevator or stairs in the Atrium to the 2nd Floor.  The Cherry Conference Room is part of the Sally Fox Conference Center, which is above the main entrance you arrived through.  There will be signs.

If you are unable to attend the comment session and would like to provide feedback, please email your feedback to [email protected] or mail it to:

APS Committee, Care of APS
HC2 South, 280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-2060

If you plan to attend and need accommodations to participate, please contact Joe Nusbaum at [email protected] by the end of the day Friday, December 8th, so that we can arrange those in advance.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to any interested parties.

Directions to the Waterbury State Office Complex

(Note: At this time, OnStar, Google maps, and most GPS units do not show State Drive in Waterbury.)

Coming to Waterbury from the North via I89:

If coming from I89, take Exit 10 (Waterbury Exit) and bear right.

Drive into Waterbury Village.  At the second traffic light, take a right onto Park Row– this will bring you down a short street, bear left at the end of this street – this is State Drive and where the Waterbury Complex is located.  Drive until you see the big gray building – this is the main entrance to the complex.  Come in the front door of the complex and check in at the security window to the right.

Coming to the Waterbury Complex from the South via I89:

If coming from I89, take Exit 10 (Waterbury Exit) and bear left. Drive into Waterbury Village.  (Follow the same steps as above)

Coming to the Waterbury Complex from the South via Route 2:

Take Route 2 to Waterbury Village.  After the intersection of Route 2 and Route 100 (the intersection is just before crossing the bridge into Waterbury), drive approximately 4/10ths of a mile and take the left onto State Drive (this will be the 2nd street on your left, after the intersection).  Continue driving until you see the big gray building – this is the main entrance to the complex.  Come in the front door of the complex and check in at the security window to the right.

May 15

President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.

Every year the key programs that form the pillars of WIOA help tens of millions of job seekers and workers to connect to good jobs and acquire the skills and credentials needed to obtain them. The enactment of WIOA provides opportunity for reforms to ensure the American Job Center system is job-driven—responding to the needs of employers and preparing workers for jobs that are available now and in the future.

WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the timeframes for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment.

Oct 16

This bill, which will reauthorize the Rehabilitation Act, was passed out of the Senate HELP committee on July 31st.  The proposed changes within S.1356 are a bipartisan effort to strengthen employment opportunities, research and independent living services. We are focused on three significant changes to current law:  the creation of an Independent Living Administration (ILA), moving Vocational Rehabilitation to the Department of Labor and Section 511 of the Rehab Act.

Most disability advocates agree that the creation of an ILA is long overdue. However, moving VR and especially Section 511 have become contentious among some of our allies. Everyone can agree that paying subminimum wages to our brothers and sisters with disabilities in sheltered workshops is unconscionable, but many believe that Section 511 has the “potential” to funnel people into just those circumstances.

We support Section 511 because while not perfect, it is a vast improvement over current law because of the barriers and checkpoints it creates to prevent people from being automatically directed towards sheltered workshops. Current law does not prevent that from happening.

The problem is not Section 511. The problem is Section 14(c). Section 511 moves us in the right direction, creating meaningful obstacles to prevent people with disabilities from being shuffled into segregated, noncompetitive, subminimum wage employment. Attention should instead be focused on Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This anachronistic and discriminatory legislation continues to be an embarrassment to justice and inhibits the ability of our brothers and sisters to live independently.

It is important to remember that language for Section 511 is offered by Senator Tom Harkin, one of the most respected champions of disability rights this nation has known. Section 511 stands as the most realistic and effective solution in this tough political climate to decrease the number of workers with disabilities who are currently being used and degraded.

We stand with Senator Harkin in support of Section 511 and believe this section will do more to keep people out of sheltered workshops and subminimum wage employment than doing nothing at all.

Oct 16

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa delivered the following statement on S.1356, the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 during a recent executive session in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. NCIL thanks Senator Harkin for his steadfast dedication to America’s Independent Living Program the rights of Americans with Disabilities.

Today we will mark up the Workforce Investment Act of 2013, a bill to reauthorize our nation’s primary workforce development system. Our actions today are crucial and long overdue – the last reauthorization of this law expired in 2003. With this mark-up we have the opportunity to strengthen the foundations of the existing system while modernizing it further to help workers get the service and skills they need and to help our businesses grow.

I am proud that the bill we are considering today is a strongly bi-partisan product, representing years of hard work by our committee. In particular, I would like to recognize the tireless and always-constructive efforts of Senators Murray and Isakson, who led this process for our committee and have been long-time champions of reauthorization.

I also want to thank the Ranking Member of the Committee, the distinguished Senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander and his staff. We worked together in good faith to update amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, title V of this bill. We both share a strong commitment to helping individuals with disabilities achieve success in the labor market, and to improving outcomes for transition-age youth with disabilities. I am pleased to have worked with him in this effort and am glad we have a product before us today that we both can be proud of.

I know that members on both sides of the aisle have interests that may not be represented in this bill. At the end of the day, that’s what bi-partisanship is all about. We each gave a little to reach an agreement to move us forward. In the end, it’s this bi-partisanship that will set our work apart. I think we all recognize that it is past time to update the law. It’s important to help ensure job seekers have access to the services they need. This bill will also help our businesses grow and strengthen our regional economies. On a broader scale, this work is critical to America’s overall economic strength and ability to compete in the global market place in the long term.

As we have worked to modernize WIA, we’ve worked to maintain a balanced system that ensures a strong role at the local level to meet the evolving demands of regional labor markets. The bill that Senators Murray and Isakson have brought before us today strikes the right balance in achieving those goals. That’s why the changes this bill makes to strengthen accountability are critical.

For jobseekers and workers, a reauthorized bill means access to the training and employment services they need to find good jobs or advance. I appreciate that this bill responds to the calls for a more streamlined system in a thoughtful way. It requires states to develop and submit one unified plan to the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Labor, covering all of the programs authorized under WIA – job training, adult education, employment services, and vocational rehabilitation – streamlining administrative processes at the state level in a thoughtful way. It eliminates several unfunded programs and provides for an innovation fund that will help the system to identify and replicate the most effective strategies for workforce development. It also includes provisions to support better data and evaluations that can be used across all core programs, including common definitions and performance indicators.

Finally, I would like to focus on the improvements this bill makes to vocational rehabilitation programs and other provisions under the Rehabilitation Act, amended by WIA. We have a number of provisions designed to improve services to young people with disabilities while they are in school and as they are entering the workforce for the first time. These include a new definition of pre-employment transition services, a requirement that states spend at least 15 percent of their State VR allocation on transition-age youth, and strengthened national technical assistance to the states to help them do a better job serving this population.

Last Friday, we celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is a sad reality that, today, more than two decades after the employment non-discrimination provisions of the ADA took effect, more than two in three working age adults with disabilities are still outside the labor force—not working and not looking for work. For young adults with disabilities between ages 25 and 34, the gap in labor force participation rates is currently nearly 41 percentage points: 83.1 percent of young adults without disabilities are in the labor force, compared to just 42.2 percent of young adults with disabilities). Because of this gap, we pay special attention to youth with disabilities in the VR title, providing them with more opportunities than ever to experience competitive integrated employment and to reinforce high expectations for youth with disabilities. I am confident that the changes we are proposing for the VR title of WIA will help to close this gap in the coming years.

Another significant change in the VR title involves realigning some of the critical programs that serve people with disabilities in order to provide for better coordination and collaboration across federal agencies. Specifically, our draft moves the Rehabilitation Services Administration from the Department of Education to the Department of Labor; it moves the independent living program from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services; and it moves the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services. These changes, coupled with other provisions in the overall bill, will result in better coordination between vocational rehabilitation and the broader workforce investment system; and also better coordination and emphasis on the importance of independent living and disability-related research in the agency – HHS – that is best equipped to guide those efforts.

This is a very good bill and I am proud of our efforts. We owe it to America’s workers, businesses and communities to produce a bi-partisan workforce development law that supports States and regions while providing opportunities for advancement to the most vulnerable, especially those who face barriers to employment or the classroom.