AAPD works to eradicate discrimination against people with disabilities by advocating for vigorous enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and including employment opportunities for people with disabilities in job creation measures and federal investments.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014
With the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Congress has reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), including the Rehabilitation Act, through 2020. What does this 300-page legislation mean for people with disabilities? Major highlights include:
- A much larger role for public vocational rehabilitation (VR) as people with disabilities make the transition from school to adult life.
- Efforts intended to limit the use of sub-minimum wage.
- Required agreements between state VR systems and state Medicaid systems, and state intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) agencies.
- Enhanced roles and requirements for the general workforce system and One-Stop Career Centers in meeting the needs of people with disabilities
For more information about changes to the WIOA, read the Department of Labor fact sheet.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions with more than 15 employees and prohibits discrimination in employment against any qualified individual with a disability. A qualified individual with a disability is someone who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
The ADA was amended in 2008 to restore the civil rights of Americans with disabilities and overturn four Supreme Court decisions that had inappropriately narrowed the protections of the ADA. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, signed by the President on September 25, 2008, emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis.
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination based on disability in any programs conducted by federal agencies, receiving federal funds, in federal employment and in the employment practices of federal contractors.
- Section 501: Requires affirmative action and nondiscrimination in employment by federal agencies of the executive branch.
- Section 503: Requires affirmative action and prohibits discrimination by federal government contractors and subcontractors of more than $10,000.
- Section 504: Prohibits discrimination based on disability in any programs conducted by federal agencies or receiving federal funds. This includes accessibility requirements and reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
- Section 508: Requires federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees.
National Defense Authorization Act
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides the annual authorization for the Department of Defense. The NDAA includes provisions for disability retirement pay for individuals who are disabled from being wounded in action. AAPD monitors reauthorizations of the Act and promotes benefits for disabled veterans.
Work-Life Balance Study
AAPD is a collaborative partner on Cornell University’s Work-Life Balance Study at the Employment and Disability Institute. This field-initiated research project is designed to explore the intersection of work and life for employed individuals with disabilities, in order to inform individuals with disabilities, employers and disability service professionals about effective policies and practices that can be utilized to improve and enhance employment and work-life outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
University of New Hampshire
AAPD also partners with the University of New Hampshire on their Annual Compendium on Disability Statistics and Research to Policy Roundtable.
Campaign for Disability Employment
AAPD has partnered with the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, other disability organizations, and business organizations on the Campaign for Disability Employment “to promote positive employment outcome for people with disabilities.”
Finding Employment and Accommodations
- JAN’s Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) allows you to search for various accommodation options for people with disabilities in work and educational settings.
- Disability Business Technical Assistance Centers are regional centers that provide technical assistance on the ADA.
- Local Protection and Advocacy agencies are disability rights organizations mandated by Congress.
- GettingHired.com allows people with disabilities to search for a job right for them.
- Ability Jobs is a resume bank and job search site for people with disabilities.
- This reference sheet from the Department of Labor provides information on small business employment and self-employment for people with disabilities.
- This reference sheet from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) within the Department of Labor provides information on the Ticket to Work program.
National Youth Transitions Collaborative
AAPD is a proud member of the Youth Transitions Collaborative, a powerful community of more than 45 organizations that share a common mission: to empower youth and young people with disabilities as they enter adulthood and the world of work. Learn more.