The National Organization on Disability

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Every day, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) works toward achieving its mission to expand the participation and contribution of America’s 56 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. Learn more about our recent progress toward this goal.


Employment in US Improves, But Disabled Jobless Rate Stays Stubbornly High

​WASHINGTON—While the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent in 2012 to 7.1 percent in 2013, the jobless rate for people with disabilities remained stubbornly above 13 percent - which comes as little surprise to advocates.

They point to a combination of factors for the problem - employers’ hesitation to hire, disabled people’s fears that a job could cost them benefits and a federal benefits system that creates a “disincentive to work.” Because of that, joblessness for the disabled was 13.2 percent in 2013, down only slightly from 13.4 percent a year earlier,according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

“We’re talking about a very long-term, chronic problem,” said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability.

Arizona reflects the broader national problems, say experts, even though no state numbers on employment for the disabled in 2013 were available. But the Census Bureau averaged unemployment for working-age people with disabilities from 2008 to 2012 and put the rate at 17.8 percent nationally for that period, while it was 18.4 percent in Arizona.

What’s So Special About Special Needs?

Image of HuffingtonPost LogoHUFFINGTON POST BLOG By CAROL GLAZER, President, National Organization on Disability

My 22-year-old son, Jacob, tests as “mildly mentally retarded” on standardized IQ tests, but he’s one of the smartest people I know.

Like many people with intellectual disabilities, Jacob speaks with few filters, often saying the one thing in the room that everyone is thinking, but no one else dares to say. Last week when friends were over for dinner, he was asked why he contributed little to the evening’s conversation. His answer came quickly: “You’re talking about boring stuff.”

So when Jacob asks, “What’s so special about special needs?” it’s a great question.

Disability Does Not Justify Pistorius Shooting, Groups Say

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NOD President Comments on Olympian’s Defense to ABCNEWS

A defense witness in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial said people with disabilities are more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and “exaggerated fight or flight” responses, but disability rights groups aren’t buying it as an excuse for the shooting death of his girlfriend.

“Frankly, I think there’s a little bit of exploitation of his physical disability to say that it’s linked to some mental health issue that would cause him to commit murder,” said the president of the National Organization on Disabilities, Carol Glazer. “It’s just too much of a stretch.”

Pistorius, a 27-year-old South African Olympian known as the “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic legs, is on trial for shooting his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door on Valentine’s Day 2013. He claims he mistook her for a burglar.​

Shinseki Resignation Must Trigger VA Retooling

HUFFINGTON POST BLOG By CAROL GLAZER, President, National Organization on Disability

Image of HuffingtonPost Logo News that Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned in the wake of misconduct and mismanagement at the agency’s vast network of medical facilities is upsetting. As most observers, including veterans up close to the VA would agree, Shinseki was a visionary who began what could have been an effective reform agenda.

But make no mistake: The problems that have come to light with the VA did not happen overnight, nor even in the course of one administration. And some of the problems result from the actions—and in some cases, inaction—of Congress, some of whose members would rather politicize problems than solve them.

With 300,000 employees, the VA is the third largest federal agency, responsible for all services to veterans from acute medical care, to housing, education and employment benefits. Few organizations—public or private—can do all these things well. The VA’s sheer size and span of responsibility render it ineffective at adapting to the ever-changing nature of war, the toll it takes on our troops and their families, and the ways communities are organizing themselves to respond.

Statement from NOD Chairman Tom Ridge on Resignation Of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki

May 30, 2014, New York, NY – Governor Tom Ridge, chairman of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) today issued the following statement on today’s resignation of Eric Shinseki as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

“I was disappointed to learn that Secretary Shinseki has resigned from the VA. Eric Shinseki is an American patriot with a distinguished military career and a commitment to public service. I know that he worked tirelessly to attempt to fix a system that has been broken for much too long.

“The recent reports of misconduct and mismanagement at the agency’s vast network of medical facilities are indicative of a bureaucratic system that has calcified over recent years. These problems did not develop overnight. I had great hope that Sec. Shinseki would be part of the solution; unfortunately he ran out of time.

“At the National Organization on Disability, our Wounded Warrior Careers program has helped transition hundreds of severely wounded veterans from the battlefield to the workplace. It requires our caseworkers to interact directly with the VA, and they have personally seen the agency’s inability to consistently provide an appropriate level of service our veterans deserve.

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Moving Beyond Compliance | Chase Tower, Chicago
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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Press Releases

NOD Chairman Updates US Labor Secretary on Efforts to Prepare Federal Contractors for Rule Change

If Embraced by Corporate America, DOL Rule Change Could Result in 600,000 Jobs for People with Disabilities

July 14, 2014 Washington, D.C. – At a briefing prepared for U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, National Organization on Disability Chairman Tom Ridge and President Carol Glazer today shared what they have been hearing from corporate America as federal contractors prepare for a new seven-percent hiring goal for people with disabilities.

With the rule change going into effect this past March, many companies are working to comply right now. In an effort to assist employers who may find reaching these new goals challenging, NOD has expanded its role by adapting its services to help businesses to effectively recruit, hire, train and retain job-seekers with disabilities.

“In setting the new rules, your staff proved to be responsive and made many necessary adjustments based on feedback from the business community,” Gov. Ridge told Sec. Perez and Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. “We are pleased that you are seeking to keep the lines of communication open so that we can continue to share with you what we’re hearing from employers in an effort to help them achieve the seven-percent target and increase employment opportunity for the 29 million working-age Americans with disabilities.”

Leaders from Giant Eagle and Prudential Join NOD Board Of Directors

June 18, 2014, New York, NY – The National Organization on Disability (NOD) today announced that Laura Karet, chief executive officer at Giant Eagle, Inc., and Michele C. Green, vice president and chief diversity officer at Prudential Financial, Inc., have been elected to its Board of Directors. The unanimous vote came at NOD’s Board of Directors meeting last week.

“We are delighted to add Laura Karet and Michele Green to NOD’s board at what is a critical time for the disability community,” said Gov. Tom Ridge, Chairman of NOD. “New rule changes from the U.S. Labor Department offer great hope for employing more Americans with disabilities, and Laura and Michele’s experience and passion for these issues will be very much needed to make sure we are capitalizing on those opportunities. We thank them both for stepping up and serving.”

“It is a tremendous honor to join the Board of Directors of the National Organization on Disability,” said Karet. “Giant Eagle has had great success with our Team Members (employees) with disabilities, who bring an excellent work ethic and reflect the diverse customers and communities we serve. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow Board members on how we can create more opportunities for people with disabilities – not just within our own organizations – but across the country.”

NOD Chairman Ridge Calls for Ratification of Disability Treaty Following Supreme Court Ruling

Image of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities logoJune 9, 2014, New York, NY – A recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court should clear the way for the U.S. Senate to approve an international treaty designed to promote the rights of people with disabilities worldwide, according to Tom Ridge, Chairman of the National Organization on Disability. Until now, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been stalled in its negotiations on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or Disability Treaty. The Supreme Court has spoken unanimously in the case of Bond v. United States, and established that the balance of powers between the federal government and the states can be maintained with appropriate language added to international treaties like the Disability Treaty.

“As Chairman of the National Organization on Disability, I call on those Republican Senators who used the pending decision as the basis of their opposition to the Treaty to accept the unanimous verdict of the Court and support it,” said Gov. Ridge. “I urge expedited, bipartisan support for this landmark Treaty.

“The Disability Treaty would export American leadership and values abroad, and protect Americans, including the 5.5 million American veterans with disabilities, from inaccessibility and discrimination when they wish to work, study, or travel overseas. Ratification of the Treaty would be a victory not only for those whose rights are protected, but for the ideals of freedom and equality for all that are the bedrock on which this nation was built.”

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