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Another week has raced by and here we are on the eve of Labor Day weekend.  Did the seasons always pass this quickly?  It seems like yesterday that we were writing about Memorial Day weekend.  In three weeks, it will be fall, and then Thanksgiving, the holidays, and before you know it, we will be in Phoenix for the ACCSES Winter Summit.  On the upside, the fall conference season is teeing up, and we are looking forward to visiting with our members in New Jersey, Kansas, and Wisconsin in the next couple of months.  (We are delighted to note that airfares this fall and at least through January are far more reasonable than they were earlier this year.)  It still feels a little strange to be out and about so freely, but it is terrific seeing people again.  We have gone through so much change over the past year, no wonder this summer feels like a bit of a time jump! 
 
On that note, let’s “jump” into the News. 
 
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The eve of Labor Day weekend seems an optimal time for the U.S. Bureau of Statistics to issue the August jobs report.  And at precisely 8:30 this morning, that is what happened.  The August numbers were not anticipated to be as strong as those announced in July and the report did not disappoint, coming in slightly higher than predicted but significantly under the July figures.  The report, which reflects a continued trend of job growth, is being favorably received by the media and the White House.  The BLS reports, “Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 315,000 in August, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent.  Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade.”  Read the full report here
 
As always, we turn to the Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, for the disability employment statistics: 
 
August 2022 Disability Employment Statistics Ages 16 years and over:
  • Labor Force Participation Rate
    • People with disabilities: 22.5%
    • People without disabilities: 68%
  • Unemployment Rate
    • People with disabilities: 7.7%
    • People without disabilities: 3.6%
In comparison to July’s numbers, the Labor Force Participation Rate for people without disabilities is down slightly from 68.3 percent, and the Labor Force Participation Rate for people with disabilities is down a tenth of a point from 22.6 percent.  The Unemployment Rate for people without disabilities remained flat month-to-month in ODEP’s analysis, while the Unemployment Rate for people with disabilities improved by a tenth of point from 7.8 percent in July. 
 
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If you are interested in what the Department of Labor is doing to increase employment opportunities, check out its Labor Day webpage.  Somehow, we forgot to include in our recent ACCSES Matters the ODEP announcement of the theme for this October’s NDEAM.  Let us make up for that now.  “In recognition of the vital role people with disabilities play in making the nation’s workforce diverse and inclusive, ‘Disability: Part of the Equity Equation’ has been chosen as the theme for October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2022.”  Read about it here.
 
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In keeping with the Labor Day theme, this week, the Department of Labor announced “the award of a four-year cooperative agreement to operate a policy development center focused on employment for people with disabilities.  The awardee—the National Disability Institute—will work with its partner, Social Policy Research Associates, to develop and manage the center, which will build upon the work of the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities Center.  Over the four-years, ODEP anticipates funding the center at approximately $2 million annually, subject to the availability of federal funds.”  Read the press release.
 
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Yesterday, the White House issued the First Annual Report On Progress Towards Implementation of the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan.  The report focuses on what is described as “four key goals”:  (1) protect against and treat COVID-19; (2) prepare for new variants; (3) prevent economic and educational shutdowns; and (4) continue to treat the world.  If you do not have time to read the report, the White House prepared a Fact Sheet.  There was an excellent webinar hosted by the White House on this topic yesterday afternoon, which was recorded.  We have reached out to the White House to see if that will be made available and will share it in a future update if it is. 
 
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This is a bit outside our day-to-day work, but ACCSES has a Health, Aging, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia Committee, led by the estimable Dr. Thomas Buckley, so we keep an eye out for stories that we think might be of interest generally and that could impact the individuals we ultimately serve.  This week, there was a little good news from the National Institutes of Health, which reports that “a surgical team successfully implanted a patch of tissue made from patient cells with the goal of treating advanced ‘dry’ age-related macular degeneration (AMD), also known as geographic atrophy.  Dry AMD is a leading cause of vision loss among older Americans and currently has no treatment.” 
 
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ACCSES is proud to be a member of the Item Coalition, which of late has focused its energies on encouraging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to cover seat elevation systems in power wheelchairs and power standing systems.  CMS has opened a National Coverage Analysis with respect to elevation systems in power wheelchairs, although it has delayed consideration of coverage of power standing systems.  Public comment closes on September 14.  The Item Coalition has done a lot of work in this area and its Rise4Access website makes the commenting process very easy.  We urge you to submit a public comment on this significant and often overlooked concern.
 
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The AADMD is hosting a webinar, Healthcare for Ukrainians with IDD:  A Country in Crisis, on Tuesday, September 20 at 12:00 Noon EASTERN.  The webinar will discuss the difficulties Ukrainians, and particularly Ukrainians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, are experiencing in receiving healthcare.  Our friend, Dr. Seth Keller, will be among the presenters.  Register here.
 
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Register now for a September treat!  Scott de Fasselle, co-author of Heart, Hope, and Honesty: How I/DD Providers can Attract & Retain Amazing Direct Support Professionals and Thrive Despite the DSP Crisis, is returning with an afternoon of great ideas for on-boarding and retaining DSPs.  The Workshop is open to anyone who is interested, and ACCSES members may attend for $69 per person.  The fee for non-members is $139 per person.  We have had great reviews for Scott’s Workshops and the ideas he will share translate beyond DSPs to recruitment, retention, and on-boarding new employees generally.  Register for the Workshop here.
 
That’s a full lid for this week.  We will be back next week.  As always, if there is anything we can do for you, we are here.  We want to wish you a happy and healthy Labor Day weekend. 

Stay well,
 
Kate and Sarah
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