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VW workers make history as first Southern automaker to unionize; Mike Johnson's speakership, after passing Ukraine aid, gets a reprieve from MTG; a new study finds NM's laws help reduce suicide among LGBTQ youth; and ID abortion law before SCOTUS this week.

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Ukraine's President Zelenskyy applauds U.S. House passage of aid. House Speaker Mike Johnson gets bipartisan praise for the foreign aid deal, but still faces a threat to his job. And Nebraska moves to restore voting rights for people released from prison.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Coalition: Make NV an Employment First state again

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Tuesday, December 5, 2023   

A coalition of Nevada groups is behind a statewide effort to make Nevada an Employment First state. That would align the state with a U.S. Labor Department goal of meaningful employment, fair wages and career advancements for people with disabilities.

Forty states have Employment First efforts on the books, but Nevada isn't one of them.

Catherine Nielsen, executive director of the Nevada Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Nevada Employment First Task Force, said they've been having conversations with the governor's office and pushing for an executive order next year.

"Past the pandemic there were a lot of people out of work, and as we expressed, there is a lot of that untapped workforce being taken into consideration right now, that with this executive order we will be ensuring that we can 'put our money where our mouth is,'" she said.

Nielsen added former Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval signed an Executive Order during his term, but it wasn't continued by his successor, Democrat Steve Sisolak. She hopes Gov. Joe Lombardo will show his support with an Executive Order.

Skeptics of Employment First say while it's well-intentioned, the policies could have little impact on a segregated and entrenched vocational system.

Dawn Lyons, executive director of the Nevada Statewide Independent Living Council, said Nevada has what she calls a "notorious poor track record" when it comes to hiring and maintaining people with disabilities in employment. She's convinced it's important to make this a priority for the Silver State to educate employers and the disability community to combat misconceptions.

Lyons said many people with disabilities have shared their view that the standardized process of securing a job doesn't work for everyone.

"It's really just a matter of educating and letting employers know that if they can deviate from that process just a little bit, and give a person a chance with a disability, they might be very surprised at how well that would work out," she explained.

Lyons added that Nevadans with disabilities are capable of working and want to work, as staying unemployed or underemployed can doom many to a life of poverty. She is confident that Employment First can create more inclusion and equality for all. And the council is collecting data on employment experience.

Disclosure: Nevada Statewide Independent Living Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Disabilities, Poverty Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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