News & Events
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.
- Vietnam Veterans of America rely on NOD’s Research into Agent Orange and Disability
Local veterans share stories about how chemical has impacted their lives, lives of children
Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange have battled cancer, liver damage and other serious health problems. But their exposure to Agent Orange also has caused birth defects and health problems in their children and grandchildren, according to the Vietnam Veterans of America. The national organization is working to educate Kansans about Agent Orange, a defoliant deployed during the Vietnam War.
The United States sprayed about 20 million gallons of dioxin-contaminated herbicides over nearly 6 million acres of Vietnamese terrain, according to a paper written by the National Organization on Disability, “U.S. Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange: Understanding the Impact 40 Years Later.”
The paper states that among the dioxin-contaminated herbicides was a compound called Agent Orange, named for the orange stripe on its label. The chemicals were used to wipe “out forests and crops that were used by opposition forces for cover and food.”
By the end of Vietnam in May 1975, more than 2.5 million American military personnel had served in Vietnam’s combat zones, the paper stated.
- Best Selling Author Speaks at Booz Allen Hamilton on Parenting Children with Differences
Andrew Solomon Speaks at Diversity Event Hosted by CEO Council Member Booz Allen Hamilton
NOD was pleased to attend Booz Allen Hamilton’s February 27th event featuring, Andrew Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of Far From the Tree – Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, who spoke about the challenges and joys of parenting children with differences.
Solomon highlighted examples of the generosity, acceptance and tolerance of families facing extraordinary challenges, and how those challenges impact us as we rise up to meet them, maintaining that differences are what unite us and shape our character. CEO Ralph Shrader and other Booz Allen senior leaders also shared their thoughts on the firm’s commitment to diversity.
“This event was one more example of Booz Allen Hamilton’s commitment to including people with disabilities as a part of the firm’s commitment to diversity,“ said Erika Byrnes, NOD’s development director, who attended the event. “As the parent of a child with disabilities Mr. Shrader clearly takes that commitment personally. NOD is proud to count Booz Allen Hamilton among our CEO Council of corporate champions.”
- NOD Board Member Dr. Michael Stein First Recipient of $100,000 Award from Ruderman Family Foundation
In continuing its commitment to and advocacy for inclusion of people with disabilities into society, the Ruderman Family Foundation (RFF) announced today that it will award the inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion to Dr. Michael Stein, Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. The award recognizes an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public. The $100,000 award is based on past achievements and the potential for future contributions to the field.
An internationally recognized expert on disability rights, Stein participated in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and actively consults with international governments on their disability laws and policies. Stein has also acted as legal counsel to Rehabilitation International, Disabled Peoples’ International and to Special Olympics International. He works with organizations fighting for disability rights around the world and advises a number of United Nations bodies, such as UNDESA, UNICEF, and UNOHCHR, as well as individual national human rights institutions. The National Organization on Disability is proud to have Dr. Stein as a member of its board of directors.
- Former Lawmakers Send Open Letter to Sen. Bob Corker on Disabilities Treaty Vote
NOD Chairman and former Governor Tom Ridge and former Representative Tony Coelho penned an open letter to Senator Bob Corker, upon learning of his refusal to support ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ridge and Coelho argue that the “United States can help empower people with disabilities across the globe to claim responsibility for their own lives and to be productive and valued members of society free from discrimination and indignity.”
“The Disabilities Treaty is modeled on our very own Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world’s most comprehensive and progressive legislation protecting the rights of people with disabilities. By ratifying the treaty, we have the opportunity to stand up once more as a leader and pioneer in protecting the rights, freedoms, and dignity of the more than one billion people worldwide living with disabilities.
“We have an opportunity to build America’s brand around the globe of standing for good values, without the cost of wars or foreign aid. Even more importantly, U.S. ratification encourages other nations to end discrimination against disabled U.S. citizens and veterans that wish to live, work, study, or travel abroad.”
- Voice of America Discusses the UN Disability Treaty with NOD’s McCain Fellow Giorgi Akhmeteli
Giorgi Akhmeteli, a McCain Fellow visting from the country of Georgia and stationed within NOD’s New York offices, tours the city with Voice of America’s cameras rolling. Watch Akhmeteli as he discusses disability outside of the United States and the importance of theUnited Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
NOD is proud to host Giorgi during his year-long tenure as a McCain Fellow.
National Brain Injury Employment VIRTUAL Conference
Monday, March 10, 2014 - Wednesday, March 12, 2014
WEBINAR: Emerging Lessons from the Disability Employment Tracker
Friday, March 21, 2014
- Disability Employment Tracker: Benchmarking Begins with Over 50 Companies
NOD reached a significant milestone in January when over 50 employers registered to participate in its new self-assessment tool, the Disability Employment Tracker™, which helps companies - including those seeking to comply with new regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor - assess their disability and veteran employment practices.
The companies who sought out Tracker’s capabilities come from a variety of industries, including healthcare services and pharmaceutical, commercial and professional services, utilities, technology and equipment, food/agriculture, and many others.
“With over 50 employers now on board, critical benchmarking can begin,” said Carol Glazer, President of NOD. “I see these companies as pioneers in a new effort to find more employment opportunities for people with disabilities and veterans. This powerful self-assessment tool for employers will continue to be a much sought-after product that companies are telling us they need.”
- NOD Career Specialists Receive Trauma Certification
Among first veterans’ rehabilitation providers in the nation to undertake specialized training; will benefit Pittsburgh-area veterans receiving services through Wounded Warrior Careers
February 19, 2014, New York, NY - Career Specialists Maggie Casteel and Jesse Putnam, with the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Wounded Warrior Careers Program in Pittsburgh, Pa., recently completed training offered by the International Association of Trauma Professionals to augment their services to veterans transitioning from military to civilian careers. Ms. Casteel is now a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, one of the first vocational rehabilitation specialists with this certification serving veterans nationally.
NOD Career Specialists are dedicated to providing intensive vocational support to veterans in the post 9/11 era, many of whom experience post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome (PTSD). Through the training, Casteel and Putnam learned about the individual, contextual, and cultural features of trauma unique to this generation of seriously ill or wounded veterans.
NOD began serving veterans in the Pittsburgh area in October 2012 with support from a coalition of local foundations, including the Heinz Endowments, the Hillman Foundation, Jewish Healthcare Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Richard King Mellon Foundation. In an evaluation of the Wounded Warrior Careers released last year, veterans in NOD’s program achieved successful career outcomes at a rate twice that of similarly situated veterans not in the program.
“NOD proudly supports our Career Specialists in their ongoing efforts to offer state-of-the-art professional support to the veterans they serve,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “These successful techniques are another asset Career Specialists can offer to the veterans of southwestern Pennsylvania.”
- NOD Applauds President Obama for Including People with Disabilities in Minimum Wage Executive Order
February 12, 2014, New York, NY —The National Organization on Disability (NOD) today hailed a decision by President Obama to include people with disabilities in his executive order to raise the minimum wage for workers under future federal contracts. The executive order would raise the minimum wage for such workers to $10.10 per hour. Initially, people with disabilities—who have in some cases been paid the current minimum wage of $7.25—were not expected to be included in the change.
“Unemployment remains far too high for people with disabilities, and too many of those who do have a job are barely earning enough money to get by,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “That’s why the President’s decision to include people with disabilities in his minimum wage executive order is a critical step in the right direction.” Due to an 80-year-old provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act some employers have been permitted to pay employees with disabilities wages far below the minimum wage, sometimes as little as pennies per hour.
NOD was one of 28 disability organizations that signed onto a letter urging the Obama Administration to extend changes to minimum wage standards to include all workers, including those with disabilities. The campaign received noteworthy media attention and prompted a recent meeting at The White House to discuss disability policy with top Administration officials, in which NOD President Carol Glazer participated.
“Today’s announcement represents an important step toward ensuring that people with disabilities enjoy equal opportunity for earnings and employment, and that employers benefit from their productivity and contributions to the American labor force,” Glazer added.