DIG proposed that all federal agencies establish central funding, which will reduce the need for each division and/or organization to pay for interpreter services for their deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) employees. This has often caused divisions to hesitate against hiring more D/HH employees due to the interpreter expenses; however, by having central funding, it means that interpreter expenses do not come out of any organization’s budget.
Another significant issue was having VPs in the workplace as some agencies will not allow them due to security issues. We proposed that there be a standardized policy for all federal agencies when it comes to installing VPsundefinedparticularly for agencies that require high security. By doing this, it will reduce confusion among Information Technology personnel and management when it comes to having VPs within the agency and it will ensure that D/HH employees are given the reasonable accommodations they need to perform their daily job duties.
Another issue DIG discussed was how federal agencies often give interpreter agencies that offer the lowest bid an interpreting contract despite the fact that the interpreting agency does not provide the interpreters that meet the needs or qualification level of the D/HH customer. Therefore, when D/HH employees request interpreters that do not match their level, it affects their job performance since communication becomes a barrier. DIG stated that they want each federal agency to establish a panel made up of their D/HH employees to evaluate each interpreting agency that makes a bid. This way, the panel can determine which interpreting agency has interpreters that match their needs and the needs of their agency and choose the interpreting agency that provides their organization with the best value for its money.
The GAO plans to present all of the issues and proposals discussed in the meeting to Congress. From there, Congress will decide whether or not it will take action on these issues. DIG will continue to follow-up with the GAO representatives on taking action to improve reasonable accommodations for D/HH employees in the federal government.
With the holiday season coming up, there will be plenty of sales and purchases made online through Amazon.com. In spirit of the giving season, any purchases made through this link will have a portion of its sales donated to DIG!
To find this link on our website, click on the "Support" Tab located on our home page and then click on the subtab "Shop at Amazon" or go to http://www.deafingov.org/Shop-at-Amazon.
Are you interested in knowing more about DIG, what services we have to offer, or what we can help you with? Watch our video to gain a better understanding of our organization and what we have to offer our members!
Please join us in congratulating the appointment of two new Board Member-at Large to the organization, Charles Grote and Hector Alvair. We look forward to working with them for the upcoming year and seeing what they have to bring to DIG!
Charlie Grote is currently a Human Resource (HR) Assistant for the U.S. Forest Service's National Fire Team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has been working in that position since March 2012. Grote grew up in Indiana and Ohio and rallies for the Cincinnati Reds! :)
As an alumnus of RIT, Grote earned two college degrees in Accounting and Social Work. In the past, he volunteered at several nonprofit organizations' boards that serve, protect, and promote Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s rights. As the new DIG Board Member-at-Large (BML), his goals are to increase market outreach to potential members outside of DC area; empower colleagues to maximize their goals of achievement in their careers with full communication access; and provide resources.
Hector Alviar is currently a Field Examiner for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in Houston,TX. He works and travels mostly in Texas but also in regions encompassing New Mexico, Colorado, and the Midwest.
As the newly elected BML, his goals with DIG are to represent the interests of federal government employees living outside the Washington, D.C. area, influence DIG strategies, build alliances with other similar organizations to improve DIG bargaining power, and increase membership and its diversity across all hearing-challenged and deaf-culture community in the government for local, state, and federal levels.
FCC Adopts New Rules to Expand Text-to-911 Availability
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules requiring text messaging providers to allow Americans to send a text to 911 to get help during an emergency. The rules ensure that all wireless carriers and text application providers are prepared to support text-to-911 by the end of 2014. Text-to-911 can provide a lifesaving alternative for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have a speech disability.
We are excited to announce that August 17- 23, 2014 will mark the first National my Social Security Week! During this week, Social Security will host numerous events and activities across the country to raise awareness about the benefits of having a my Social Security account and to encourage the public to sign up for their account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Our message for the campaign will be “Prepare for your SOMEDAY: Join the millions and discover your benefits. Open a my Social Security account.”
Why should you open a free my Social Security account?
Individuals can use their my Social Security account to access their Social Security Statement to check their earnings and get estimates of future retirement, disability, and survivor benefits they or their families may receive. If individuals already receive Social Security benefits, they can get benefit verification letters, change their address and phone number, and start or change their direct deposit information.
Open your account today!
Stay connected with Social Security:
We are pleased to announce that Taryn Mackenzie Williams has joined the White House Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director, where she will be the liaison to the disability community. Taryn joins OPE from the U.S. Department of Labor, where she served as a Senior Policy Advisor with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Taryn, who lives with ulcerative colitis and arthritis, is a passionate supporter of the rights of individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions.
I know she looks forward to working with all of us. She can be reached at email@example.com.
In continued support of E.O. 13548, OPM, in consultation with partner agencies, has developed an online course entitled, “A Roadmap to Success: Hiring, Retaining and Including People with Disabilities.”
This course will provide Federal employees with basic information and resources to successfully hire, retain, and advance employees with disabilities. OPM is making this course available to agencies at no cost on HR University. We believe it will benefit all Federal employees. In accordance with E.O. 13548, this training should be considered required training for human resources personnel and hiring managers. A memorandum to the Chief Human Capital Officers has been issued with instructions for accessing this course (http://chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=6235).
Along with launching this course, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta has posted a blog and video on OPM’s website, recognizing the 24th anniversary of the ADA and the contributions of employees with disabilities to the Federal workforce (http://www.opm.gov/blogs/Director/2014/7/21/A-Present-on-the-ADAs-Birthday/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lesvBv1xXFw&feature=youtu.be).
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact OPM’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy ADA anniversary!
Office of Diversity and Inclusion