National Disability Institute Executive Director, Michael Morris, gave a keynote presentation at the APSE Regional Conference, “From Workshops to Workplaces: Achieving the Goal of Employment First,” in Sacramento, Calif. this week.
Mr. Morris’ presentation, "Financial Capability: The Next Frontier for Changing Thinking and Behavior," focused on the issue of poverty for individuals with significant disabilities and how the next frontier to explore and in need of change agents was financial capability and inclusion. According to U.S. Census statistics, people with disabilities are three times more likely to be living in poverty and twice as likely to be unbanked or underbanked than their non-disabled peers.
Mr. Morris discussed how plans to advance competitive integrated employment outcomes ignore building the knowledge and skills to make informed financial decisions, set financial goals and design personal pathways to advance greater economic self-sufficiency. However, he shared that there are new tools and strategies for disruptive innovation that require a change in thinking and behavior at individual and systems levels.
In addition, Mr. Morris moderated a breakout session, "Financial Capability: Practical Steps to Change Social and Human Service Delivery." The session provided a roadmap for innovation and systems change that would take advantage of new opportunities with the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE). Mr. Morris offered practical next steps to integrating financial capability development as part of the delivery of employment supports and services. He also identified new possibilities for collaboration and new opportunities for funding that could change the way people with significant disabilities are supported to be more independent and productive.
National Disability Institute is leading a national movement to disable poverty and build important new relationships between the financial and disability communities across the country.