Archive for 'News'

Jan 09
Vermont Interpreter Referral Service (VIRS) Coordinator

The Vermont Interpreter Referral Service (VIRS) is a program that links American Sign Language interpreters with the scheduling needs of consumers. The VIRS Program Coordinator will manage the business operations of the program as well as provide outreach and education to the Deaf community, requestors, and interpreters.  Ideal candidate must understand Deaf Culture and be ASL proficient. 

This is a great opportunity for individuals looking to enhance their career in the human services sector. 

You will further your skill development in: 

• Running a fast-paced program processing over 1,100 requests per year, producing timely and accurate invoices, following up on collections for older receivables, maintaining the VIRS website and preparing quarterly grant reports.
• Coordinating and communicating to meet the needs of the Deaf community, businesses and interpreters.
• Developing and maintaining a list of licensed, professional, ethical, available interpreters using the eRSP database.
• Building profiles on Deaf/Hard of Hearing customers to ensure preferences are considered.
• Communicating with interpreters to determine availability and preferences.
• Serving on and contributing to a strong Advisory Committee and empowering a strong Deaf culture throughout Vermont and improving access for all Vermonters.
• Overseeing the billing data and invoicing of services.
• Supervising the Program Specialist staff.
• Exposing the benefits of VIRS as part of a team through outreach to businesses, medical providers, legal partners, etc.
• Providing Technical Assistance on Deaf Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
• Working with a team to plan educational opportunities and raise money for interpreting needs not covered under the ADA.

This 32-hour-a-week position in Montpelier, VT is open to the full VCIL benefit package including: 14.5 paid holidays; two-week vacation time at hire; 80 percent paid medical insurance, 100 percent dental, vision, life insurance, short/long term disability for employees; 10 sick days; three personal days; three bereavement days.

To apply, send resume to:

Sue Booth, VCIL                                                                                                                                                                                                  11 East State Street                                                                                                                                                                                    Montpelier, VT 05602

 or EMAIL: [email protected] by Friday, January 25, 2019.

VCIL is an EOE/affirmative action employer. We provide reasonable accommodations in the recruitment and employment of persons with disabilities.

Submitted by Karen Lafayette, VCDR Coordinator  for VCIL


Jan 09

VCDR 2019 Weekly Summary of Legislative Activities, Committee Agendas and Calendar of Events

Wednesday January 9th– January 11th,  2019


The 2019 Legislative Session begins this week.


What is happening this week at the Legislature?


2019 House of Representatives Tentative Schedule.

First Week of Session


Wednesday, January 9, 2019


10:00 a.m. The House is called to order for the 75th biennial session of the General Assembly by James C. Condos, Secretary of State.


A. Devotions and Pledge of Allegiance

B. The Secretary of State calls the roll of the members elect.

C. Election of a Speaker

D. Oath of office administered to Speaker by Secretary of State

E. Election of the Clerk of the House

F. Oath of office administered to Clerk

G. Oath of office administered to members-elect by the Clerk

H. Appointments announced by Clerk

I. Oath of office administered to Assistant Clerks

J. Adoption of House Resolutions (H.R. 1 will be the rules for the session)

K. Committee appointed to inform Governor the House is organized for business

L. Adoption of Joint Senate Resolutions

M. Recess until 1:30 in the afternoon


Afternoon Session

A. Seating of new members

B. Election of Canvassing Committee

C. Oath of office administered to Canvassing Committee by the Clerk

D. Adjourn until Thursday, January 10, 2019


Canvassing Committee meets with the Secretary of State at 3 P.M. in Room 11


Thursday, January 10, 2019

9:30 a.m. Speaker calls the House to order


A. Devotions

B. Adoption of Resolutions if any

C. Announcements

D. Joint Assembly at 10:00 a.m. to receive the report of the Canvassing Committee.

E. Recess until 1:25 p.m.


1:30 p.m. Joint Assembly for administering Oath of Office to Governor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor of Accounts and Attorney General.


Inaugural Address of the Governor

Adjourn until Friday morning



Friday, January 11, 2019

9:30 a.m. House called to order by Speaker


A. Devotions

B. Memorial Service

C. Adoption of Resolutions, if any, and announcements

D. Adjourn until Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.


Listen to the proceedings:


You can listen on VPR:

Listen to House and Senate activity when they are in session


Also happening on opening day:


Opening Day People Power Lobby

Facebook event


Date: Wednesday, January 9th

  • @9:30am – Rights & Democracy leads Intro to People’s Lobby (Room 10) 
  • @11am – People’s Panel with ACLU-VT, Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, Green Mountain Self-Advocates, Justicia Migrante/Migrant Justice, Rights & Democracy, Rutland Area NAACP, Vermont Coalition For Disability Rights, Vermont Conservation Voters, 350Vermont (Room 10) 
  • @12:45pm – New Voices, Bold Solutions Press Conference & Rally (Cedar Creek Room)



The Legislative Calendar for the Year:




New Year’s Day – State House Closed…………………………. January 1, 2019

First Day of Session ……………………………………………..January 9, 2019

Joint Assembly for Canvassing Committee Report at 10 A.M…. January 10, 2019

(Time Subject to Change)


Joint Assembly to receive Inaugural Message of Governor at 1:30 P.M. ……………………………………………………………………January 10, 2019

(Time Subject to Change)


Martin Luther King Day – State House Closed…………………. .January 21, 2019

Joint Assembly to receive Budget Message of Governor at 2:00 P.M. ……………………………………………………………………..January 24, 2019

(Subject to Change)


House Bill Drafting Request Deadline – Standard Form *……   January 31, 2019

Presidents’ Day – State House Closed …………………………February 18, 2019

House Bill Approval Deadline * ……………………………….February 21, 2019


Joint Assembly to provide for election of Sergeant at Arms, …..February 21, 2019

an Adjutant and Inspector General, and three Trustees of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College at 10:30 A.M.

(Subject to Change)


Town Meeting Break to be Announced

Town Meeting Day – State House Closed……………………….. March 5, 2019

Joint Assembly to vote on retention of Superior Judges………….. March 21, 2019

and Magistrates at 10:30 A.M.

(Subject to Change)


* For more information, contact the House Clerk’s office: House Clerk’s Office: [email protected]

Sergeant at Arms PHONE:  (802) 828-2228        FAX: (802) 828-2424




Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights

Beginning next week, VCDR will publish a weekly Legislative Calendar of events, committee schedules, and floor activities during the 2019 Legislative Session. This is first year of the two year legislative biennium.

These weekly alerts contain summaries of legislative activities, committee agendas, and House and Senate Calendar items that would be of interest to the disability community. The complete committee schedules will not be found here, but a link will be provided for the complete Legislative Committee agendas, the Legislative Calendar and Journal Page, and the Legislative Web-Site.                                                   

You will find highlights of the week’s Legislative activities for specific committees, public hearing notifications, and calendar activity of interest in this weekly report, as well as a listing and brief explanations of legislation introduced at the end of the committee schedules when available.

The Committee Schedules are generally published on Monday of each week, but is subject to change throughout the week. Please check the calendar online, on the Vermont Legislative web page for updates.


Submitted by Karen Lafayette [email protected]

VCDR Email: [email protected]


VCDR 2019 Legislative Activities_Opening Week.docx
Jan 04

Hiring People With Disabilities Is Good Business

Microsoft, Bank of America and CVS are just a few big companies that profit from their proactive employment practices.

By Ted Kennedy Jr.

Mr. Kennedy is a disability rights lawyer and a state senator in Connecticut.

When it comes to employment, we have failed to live up to the promise of the Americans With Disabilities Act.CreditCreditHuntstock/Getty Images

For years, companies have maintained low expectations about hiring people with disabilities. Most of these companies believed that employees with disabilities could not perform well in the workplace and that actively hiring them would drag company performance and profits down.

Thankfully, over time, many employers have come to understand that these perceptions are untrue. And new research strongly suggests that the opposite — that hiring people with disabilities is good for business.

A recent study has shown, for the first time, that companies that championed people with disabilities actually outperformed others — driving profitability and shareholder returns. Revenues were 28 percent higher, net income 200 percent higher, and profit margins 30 percent higher. Companies that improved internal practices for disability inclusion were also four times more likely to see higher total shareholder returns.

These findings, presented in a report from Accenture, in partnership with Disability: IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities, give companies a new reason to hire people with disabilities. The results are based on an analysis of the financial performance of 140 companies that averaged annual revenues of $43 billion and participated in the Disability Equality Index, an annual benchmarking tool that objectively rates company disability policies and practices.

What exactly are these exemplary companies doing?

Well, Bank of America brought together 300 people with intellectual disabilities to create a support services team to manage fulfillment services and external client engagement. Microsoft built a successful disability hiring program specifically for people on the autism spectrum. The program, designed to attract talent, is a multiday, hands-on academy that gives candidates an opportunity to meet hiring managers and learn about the company as an employer of choice. And CVS Health refocused its training programs to capitalize on characteristics — creativity, problem-solving ability and loyalty — that people with disabilities often demonstrate.

The new research identifies five common denominators among such organizations. First, they hire people with disabilities, ensuring that they’re represented in the workplace. Second, they carry out practices that encourage and advance those employees. Third, they provide accessible tools and technologies, paired with a formal accommodations program. Fourth, they generate awareness through recruitment efforts, disability education programs and grass-roots-led initiatives. Fifth, they create empowering environments through mentoring and coaching initiatives.

I lost my leg to bone cancer at age 12. Since then, I have fought, as a citizen, attorney and legislator, for the civil rights of people with disabilities. All of us deserve to be valued equally and provided the opportunity to participate fully in our society.

I was brought up in the disability rights movement. My uncle, President John F. Kennedy, left an important legacy on this front. Influenced by his experiences with his sister, Rosemary, President Kennedy witnessed firsthand how differently she was treated — how often she was ignored and excluded. He became the first president to make equality and social justice for people with disabilities a priority for his administration.

The last law that he signed before he died was the Community Mental Health Act, which called for an end to “custodial isolation” and created America’s network of community mental health centers. Congress has since passed more than 120 laws expanding disability rights, forever changing public attitudes.

But it was only when I went to college in the 1970s that I came of age politically and really thought about the issue of disability rights. It happened after I heard Judith Heumann, a disability rights advocate who contracted polio as an infant, give a speech and call disability a civil rights issue. I’d never heard that comparison before. I realized that millions of disabled people were unjustly being left out of daily life. Ms. Heumann inspired me to become an advocate myself.

I committed myself to this cause because of people like Joseph Pabin. He graduated from college with a degree in computer science and a 3.5 grade point average, an impressive résumé that easily got him in the door for job interviews. But once he showed up, interviewers noticed his speech impediment and told him they doubted he could successfully interact with customers. Mr. Pabin looked for a full-time job for three years without finding one, and his self-esteem plummeted. Ultimately, he contacted Bender Consulting Services, a career placement company that recruits, screens and hires people with disabilities for professional positions with private sector and government employers. Highmark offered him a full-time position in information technology. He has thrived at the company, working directly with customers, for four years now.

As we head into the new year, it’s important to recognize how far we’ve come. Twenty-eight years ago, the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. I still remember standing alongside my father in the Rose Garden watching President George H.W. Bush sign the bill into law, forever engraving it into his legacy.

But when it comes to employment, a cornerstone of the American dream, we have failed to live up to the promise of this historic law. Many employers have yet to recognize that people with disabilities can contribute economically if sought out and accommodated. Americans with disabilities — a population of 50 million people, more than one in every five — still face numerous challenges in entering and participating in the work force.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29 percent of Americans ages 16 to 64 with a disability were employed as of June 2018, compared with nearly 75 percent of those without a disability. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities who are actively seeking work is 9.2 percent — more than twice as high as for those without a disability (4.2 percent).

The United States labor market is at its strongest in decades, and possibly ever. But all too many people with disabilities remain without jobs. The Accenture analysis reveals this inspiring statistic: Hiring only 1 percent of the 10.7 million people with disabilities has the potential to boost the G.D.P. by an estimated $25 billion.

Once companies are aware of these potential economic benefits, they should be motivated to bring persons with disabilities into the work force to thrive as never before. Hiring them also gives companies fresh insights into developing and marketing products and services that meet the needs and preferences of consumers with disabilities — the third-largest market segment in the United States, according to the Office of Disability Employment Policy. To start, corporations should participate in the Disability Equality Index.

As a New Year’s resolution for corporate America, it’s hard to do better than to pledge to hire people with disabilities. Yes, we can do it because it always feels good to do what’s right. But now it turns out that reaching this next frontier for corporate social responsibility is also good business.

Ted Kennedy Jr., a Democratic state senator in Connecticut, is a health care lawyer and civil rights activist for people with disabilities and chairman of the American Association of People With Disabilities.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.



Dec 28

You are invited to the “WINTAC Pre-Employment Transition Services Webinar: Overview of Pre-Employment Transition Services”

This is a pre-recorded webinar providing an Overview of Pre-Employment Transition Services. This WINTAC webinar is hosted by The George Washington University, Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education. This 1.5 hour pre-recorded session can be viewed at any time, and provides an overview, includes applicable definitions, outlines the scope of services, providing or arranging for pre-employment transition services, required, coordination and authorized pre-employment transition service activities.

Closed Captioning will stream during the recording. A copy of the transcript is also available upon request. Presentation materials are available for download once registered. Please be sure to complete the evaluation located in the Weblinks pod on the site. CRC credits (1.5) will be awarded upon completion and submission of your evaluation.

Event: Overview of Pre-Employment Transition Services

When: This Webinar is pre-recorded and available on demand which means participants can view this recording at any time. (Note: Disregard the date and time that is displayed on the registration page as that is the date it was recorded.)

To register and view this recorded webinar, please visit the following link:

If you have any questions or need additional information please contact Brenda Simmons @ [email protected] or at 816.739.7648.

This webinar was developed by the WINTAC, a project funded under # H264G15005 of the U.S. Department of Education (Department). The information contained in this document does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Melissa P. Diehl M.A. Ed. CRC
Project Director WINTAC Pre-Employment Transition Services
The George Washington University
Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education (CRCRE)
Suite 310
(410) 430-9244
[email protected]

Dec 13


To the Editor:

The passing of President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, gave me pause to reflect upon a time when bipartisan spirit and compromise – at least on select issues – drove constructive and meaningful action forward.

Specifically, President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law on July 26th, 1990. He brought together progressives and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. Included in the signing ceremony on the White House lawn were people of all persuasions. Amongst them was Justin Dart, President Bush’s friend and confidante from Texas, wealthy entrepreneur who himself was a wheelchair user.

At the signing ceremony, President Bush uttered words oft repeated, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” Indeed, years later, he looked upon passage of the ADA as one of his proudest accomplishments as President.

What has happened since? At this time, there is an effort to weaken the ADA. Corrections to unforeseen consequences need to occur but not by weakening a very important and impactful piece of civil rights legislation. Indeed there is animosity and distrust to the point where very little appears to come to fruition in our nation’s capital – even in areas where there should be mutual agreement and relatively easy compromise.

May the spirit of President George H.W. Bush prevail over time. May reasonable compromise and moderate views and a willingness to work together on a practical level to achieve what is right for all Americans win out. I remember this as President Bush’s legacy. Hopefully many others do also and indeed devote their energies to preserving that legacy.

Sam Liss,