the advocacy monitor

Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living


National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which is an opportunity for the US to recognize the vital role disabled people play in the workforce, kicked off earlier this month with the signing of a proclamation by President Joe Biden.  This year’s theme, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” rings especially true as the Independent Living (IL) network continues to engage in conversations regarding inclusion gaps in our own spaces.  We at the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) appreciate that the White House has an awareness of the challenges multiply-marginalized disabled people experience as members of the workforce:

Despite the progress our Nation has made in recent decades, people with disabilities are still too often marginalized and denied access to the American dream.  Americans with disabilities — particularly women and people of color — have faced long-standing gaps in employment, advancement, and income.  The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these inequities, as people with disabilities have faced heightened risks — particularly the disproportionate share of people with disabilities employed in the hardest-hit industries.  Our Nation will never fully recover and rebuild unless every single community — including disabled Americans — is fully included.

NCIL’s commitment to inclusion with an intersectional lens continues into NDEAM in a few exciting ways: this month, our executive director will speak to 1,000 Microsoft employees about her nearly twenty years of experience as first a participant-in-then-provider-of competitive integrated employment supports to disabled jobseekers.

NCIL continues to advocate at the federal level for Better Care Better Jobs Act, which would permanently reauthorize Money Follows the Person (MFP) and address systemic gaps in Home and Community Based Services (HCBS).  HCBS funds many services that support community living for people with disabilities, including competitive and integrated employment supports for countless jobseekers in the US. See our latest Advocacy Monitor post on the Reconciliation Package for more information.

And, to wrap up NDEAM at NCIL, we will be holding a panel feature three prominent employment experts from IL and beyond. The panelists will use their experiences and knowledge to discuss tips and tricks on getting the job and maintaining employment as a person with a disability. This intersectional and intergenerational panel will feature Moderator, Antoine Hunter, and Panelists, Bronna Crase, Brian Dennis, and Marie Dagenais-Lewis.  More details, including how to sign up for the panel, will be released soon.

Employment is essential to living independently- for everyone, including people with disabilities.  IL can play a pivotal role in the lives of those who are seeking to attain- and maintain- employment.  If your and/or your Center for Independent Living (CIL) have an IL-specific success story pertaining to disability and employment then we would love to share it!  Email us at [email protected] to share your story or for more information.