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Introducing PEATworks.org 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has launched PEATworks.org—a comprehensive web portal spearheaded by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT).

From educational articles to interactive tools to expert interviews, PEATworks.org has something for everyone. We encourage you to stop by, explore, and get excited about accessible technology.



Assistive Technology Training Available

for South Dakotans who are Blind or Visually Impaired


The Division of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired is offering training to access mobile devices and personal computers for South Dakota citizens with vision loss.  The instruction will address built in accessibility options for those with low vision or who are blind.  The training is free to adults and high school students with vision loss.  No devices, applications or software will be purchased through the program and training is individualized with up to five hours of instruction per program participant.  For more information contact any Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired office http://dhs.sd.gov/sbvi/address.aspx or contact the SD Rehabilitation Center for the Blind at 605.367.5260 or call toll free: 1-800-658-5441.



Building Inclusion

Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, kicks off National Disability Employment Awareness Month by discussing this year's theme: Expect. Employ. Empower.






National News

Grants to Expand Job Opportunities for

People with Disabilities

Six states — California, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and South Dakota — were awarded $14.8 million to improve employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities. The grants will allow these states to expand access to programs that offer career pathways and encourage greater partnerships between educational institutions, business owners and disability advocates. This is the fifth round of funding for the Disability Employment Initiative, which supports 37 projects in 26 states. "Breaking down barriers to employment for people with disabilities is important in order for our country to field a full team and ensure that no worker is left behind," said Secretary Perez.

Read the News Release at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20141764.htm



SSA to Resume Mailing Social Security Statements 




 Stay at Work - Return to Work

New fact sheet from Office of Disability Employment Policy




Are You Employable?


Have you ever wondered about pursuing a federal

career? Are you interested in public service? Would you

like to gain valuable work experience and help move the

needle on education issues in this country?

The Department of Education may have opportunities that match your interests – and we’re currently accepting applications for interns!

2014 National Disability Employment Awareness

Month Theme Announced

The U.S. Department of Labor’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month’s (NDEAM) theme for 2014 is “Expect. Employ. Empower.” NDEAM is observed each October. It is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The department's Office of Disability Employment Policy chose this year’s theme by holding a national online dialogue for which hundreds of people registered to send in their ideas.

Do you have questions about other issues such as where to get help with your job search, how working may affect your Social Security disability benefits, employment programs for Veterans or where to get help writing your resume? Read Disability.gov’s Guide to Employment for information on these and many other employment-related topics.


What's New

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Signed into Law

President Obama signs the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act July 22, 2014. Secretary Perez (far left) witnesses the signing. (Official White House). Click for a larger photo.

President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, and congressional and workforce leaders came together on July 22 as the president signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act into law. The signing came after the bill's passage in Congress with strong bipartisan majorities in both houses. The new law marks the first major update to federal job training programs in more than 15 years and will help to streamline and coordinate workforce and adult education programs at the federal, state and local levels. That same day, Vice President Biden released his report, "Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity," which lays out specific actions the administration is taking to ensure federal investments in skills training are leading people toward good jobs. Many of the principles in the report were incorporated into WIOA, and those principles will serve as the foundation for future job training investments. Perez thanked several thousand stakeholders in the workforce development communities the next day for their work leading to the development of the law and acknowledged the important work ahead to effectively implement it. On July 24, Perez joined Obama on a visit to Los Angeles Trade Technical College to discuss how WIOA will expand the role of community colleges in preparing workers for in-demand jobs.

Read the Blog Post
Learn About WIOA
Learn About Job-Driven Training



Social Security Administration Publishes


Disability Awareness Initiative

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has newly published their disability education and awareness initiative, "The Faces and Facts of Disability." This program integrates videos, factsheets, and quizzes to teach the public regarding what the Social Security Disability insurance is, while dispelling any fallacies about the program or what disability is about. The videos demonstrate how individuals with disabilities are able to live happy lives, fully integrated into the world of employment. Additionally, there are outreach materials, including social media content and web widgets, for groups and organizations to become more informed. To read more, visit:

If you are a person with a disability who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both? Do you wonder how employment might impact these and other benefits you currently receive?

There are benefit specialists located in Rapid City, Pierre, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen. Benefits planning and counseling services are available for Vocational Rehabilitation consumers and former WIPA clients. Limited information and referral services are available to all other beneficiaries who want to return to work.

To access these services, call 1-800-224-5336, ext. 221.


Think Beyond the Label

to learn more, click on:

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Benefit Questions?
Do you have questions about how employment might impact your benefits? If so, send them to wipahelp@tie.net.