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The Then, The Now and the "Where are we Going with Disability Inclusion?"

by Teresa Turner, Synchronized Resources, Inc./HRMA Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Kimberly Lackey, Paraquad; edited by Lisa Kaiser, The Kaiser Law Group PLLC
Please join Paraquad, the STLBLN, and members of Synchronized Resources, Inc.'s Business Alliance Network on March 23rd, for a candid, collaborative dialogue, "Disability Inclusion vs. Disability Compliance - Understanding the Difference and why it Matters." Additional information about this collaborative session can be found here.

The Then
March 24, 2014 is a significant date for many people for a multitude of different reasons. A wedding, a birth of a child, a loss of a loved one to name a few. If you are a Veteran or an Individual with Disabilities, that date signifies the implementation of revised regulations that set a new standard in affirmative action planning requirements for Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities.

Previously, these affirmative action programs (unlike the affirmative action program (AAP) for females and minorities) were, for the most part, paper work exercises. More likely than not, the planning process was a relatively simple one; letters went to a few targeted agencies and recruitment sources annually, we used Voluntary Self-ID forms to collect information on Veteran and Disability status, and we posted a notice in our facilities letting everyone know they could make an appointment to review the AAP for Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities and that, in a nut shell, was that! Job well done... Whew!

Sine March 24, 2014, AAPs for Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are required to include aspirational goals and benchmarks. After tracking proposed regulations for years, professionals in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Affirmative Action, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as members of the Veteran and Disability communities were elated. These communities viewed the changes as the next BIG step for not only garnering full support for inclusion in Corporate America but additionally requiring more to be done.

The Now
When dealing with compliance, if the government wants to slow down the impact of enforcement activities on the contractor community, they simply cut budgets and headcount at the enforcement agencies thereby weakening enforcement reach. Pretty good approach that works just about every time...like now.
  • Affordable Care Act Repeal Attempts - After taking office, the current administration pursued an agenda that could have huge consequences for individuals with disabilities as each proposal to repeal generally included cuts to Medicaid, the main health insurer for adults and children with disabilities. The backlash from the disability community has been fierce with an article from TIME indicating the president, "Inadvertently Sparked a New Disability Rights Movement."
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Education and Reform Act of 2017 - intended to crack down on the number of lawsuits under the ADA (which have almost tripled since 2013) by amending the existing 1990 law to require a "notice and cure" period.
Where are we going?
According to Kimberly Lackey, Public Policy Team Manager from Paraquad, "When a company has successfully created a culture of inclusion for people with disabilities, compliance with laws and regulations is a natural result of that process."

To learn more about these important issues, please join Paraquad, the STLBLN, and members of Synchronized Resources, Inc.'s Business Alliance Network, on March 23rd, for a candid, collaborative dialogue, "Disability Inclusion vs. Disability Compliance - Understanding the Difference and why it Matters." Additional information about this collaborative session can by found here.