On February 27, 2013, the Fed’s community development and policy studies (CDPS) division hosted the National Disability Institute1 (NDI) and the Institute for Economic Empowerment for their Asset Development Summit for Persons with Disabilities. The summit brought together Chicago-area disability and asset building partners to discuss how to work together to expand economic empowerment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely described the Chicago Public Schools’ financial literacy program; $240,000 was funded for this program. She also expressed concern that people with disabilities can be targets of financial fraud, and the importance of financial education and training.
Karen Tamley, commissioner for the (Chicago) Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities offered comments on direct independent living services, policies, compliance, job shadowing, boosting economic empowerment and inclusion in the community.
Bill Coleman, the AbilityOne Program’s NISH Board chair, described his organization’s initiative to help people who are blind or have other significant disabilities find employment. He discussed their employee research system, which includes Census data. Coleman stated that AbilityOne has 350 rehabilitation facilities around the country, and offers job matching support, as well as economic and tax advice.
Michael Roush, manager of Financial Empowerment and Innovation at NDI, described how his organization strives to build a better economic future for Americans with disabilities by advancing self-sufficiency through asset development opportunities, independent living, public benefits, free tax return assistance, financial education, managing money and credit, home buying programs and available support.
The summit included two panels. The first panel, Disability Community, was moderated by Aberra Zewdie, vice president of employment and community support services at Ada S. McKinley Community Services.