Ford steps up effort to hire people with autism

Ford Motor Co. plans next year to hire an additional 12 to 24 adults with autism, expanding a program with the Autism Alliance of Michigan that has more than 30 other local companies signed on. Read more…

Public Comment Opens for Final Draft of California Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) Blueprint

The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), California Department of Education (CDE), and @California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) have entered into a new agreement consistent with the State’s “Employment First” policy and other laws to make employment in an integrated setting, at a competitive wage, for individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) its highest priority.

The California Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) Blueprint is the combined effort of the CDE, DOR and DDS in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, including Disability Rights California (DRC) with leadership provided by the California Health and Human Services Agency. The purpose of the Blueprint is to increase opportunities for Californians with ID/DD to prepare for and participate in CIE.

The final draft California Competitive Integrated Employment Blueprint is available at the CHHS website in English, Spanish, Chinese, Armenian, Russian, Vietnamese and Tagalog.

The public comment period for the draft Blueprint is now open and will close on December 30, 2016. Written comments and questions may be submitted to

Chris Cota of Petaluma Pie Company honored by City of Petaluma


Petaluma Pie Company employee, Chris Cota was presented with a Mayor’s Committee for Best Practices award and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by Mayor David Glass of Petaluma last week.

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President Obama Issues Proclamation – National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2016

“Americans with disabilities are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as any other citizen — including the right to dignity and respect in the workplace.”  President Barack Obama

This weekend, President Obama issued a proclamation designating October 2016 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

You can read the proclamation in its entirety at the White House Press Office website.

CA Treasurer John Chiang convenes CalABLE Advisory Council

In California, some people living with disabilities and their families rely on a variety of public benefits provided by state and federal governments to make ends meet. They include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, CalFresh, and other state health insurance programs.

These programs provide critically important services to the disabled but often do not allow individuals to save more than a total of $2,000, or earn more than $680 a month.

These restrictions are a disincentive for people with disabilities and their families to save for long-term needs, leaving them vulnerable to changes in health, living arrangements, unexpected emergencies, or simply the explosive growth in the cost of disabled care.

During the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, Senator Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks co-authored and passed two bills, Senate Bill (SB) 324 and Assembly Bill (AB) 449, that will help ease financial challenges faced daily by people with disabilities. The new laws give Californians access to the federally recognized 529A – ABLE accounts.

An ABLE account is a tax-advantaged savings account that can be established for the benefit of qualified individuals with disabilities. Contributions to the account, currently limited to $14,000 per year, can be made by family, friends, or the beneficiary themselves. The account’s earnings are allowed to accumulate tax-free, and the withdrawals, provided they are applied to qualifying disability expenses, are tax-free. One of the biggest benefits of the ABLE account is that the savings held in the account, up to a current $100,000 limit, is not counted against the $2,000 limit on personal assets for individuals to qualify for public benefits.

The ABLE program, once operational, will open up life-improving opportunities for California’s disabled and their families in much the same way ScholarShare 529 plans opened educational opportunities to California’s students. The treasurer’s office has administered the ScholarShare savings program for the past 16 years.

For more information about CalABLE and Advisory Council meetings, visit the CalABLE page on the Treasurer’s website.