Institute on HIV and Employment for USCA 2015
An energized group of 90 participate in the full-day Institute on HIV & Employment presented in Washington, DC on Sept. 9, 2015 by the National Working Positive Coalition
An exciting group of speakers, panelists and moderators discussed a range of key topics at the Institute on HIV & Employment, convened by the National Working Positive Coalition as a pre-conference event of the 2015 U.S. Conference on AIDS. Hosted by the Human Rights Campaign in the HRC Equality Forum, 90 participants representing a wide spectrum of expertise energized the Institute. Douglas Brooks, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy provided opening comments, helping kick-off the meeting focused on understanding and addressing employment needs of people living with or at greater risk for HIV as key social and economic determinants important to achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020.
CRC continuing education credits for the Institute have been pre-approved by CRCC (approval pending for CME and CE credits).
Panels topics included:
- Employment and HIV Health and Prevention Outcomes – Research Findings
- HIV, Employment and Key Populations
- HIV Employment Service Models
- Addressing the Intersection of LGBTQ Justice, Economic Security, and HIV
- HIV, Employment and Mental Health
- HIV, Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Development
- HIV and the Workplace
- Employment and HIV Care and Prevention
NWPC is grateful to NMAC, host of USCA, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, and the Institute Sponsors who made this event possible:
Human Rights Campaign
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Broadway CARES/Equity Fights AIDS
AIDS Foundation of Chicago, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance
Finlay Consulting Services
Levi Strauss & Co.
Thank you to our esteemed Institute Partners joining with NWPC for this event, including: the USCA 2015 DC Local Host Committee; the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration; Positive Women's Network-USA; U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus; Global Network of People Living with HIV – North America (GNP+NA); Transgender Law Center; American Psychological Association; American Psychiatric Association; National Association of Social Workers; Ribbon Consulting Group; POZ VETS USA INTL; National Business and Disability Council; DC Metro Business Leadership Network.
NWPC Day of Trainings in Central New York
The NWPC presented a day of trainings on April 24, 2015 in Syracuse, NY, "Increasing Access to Employment Services for People Living with HIV." Hosted by the SUNY Upstate Medical University Immune Health Services Consumer Advisory Board, the event consisted of a morning training for service providers, and an afternoon training for people living with HIV.
Mark Misrok, President of the NWPC Board of Directors, lead the training.
Guest speakers included:
- Lauraine Bush, Disability Resource Coordinator, CNY Works
- Karen Hagos, Health Program Coordinator, Office of Planning and Community Affairs, AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health
- Laura Mokrzycki, Employment Specialist, ACR Health Employment Initiative
- Patrick Sheppard, Syracuse District Office Manager, ACCES-VR
- Employment provisions in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
- Employment in the HIV Care Continuum
- HIV and employment research findings
- Employment related resources in CNY
- Strategies to support people considering employment
- Legal rights and protections
114 Organizations Endorse NWPC Letter to RSA
A letter from the National Working Positive Coalition, endorsed by 114 organizations, was sent to the Rehabilitation Services Administration in support of retaining high standards for the vocational rehabilitation counseling workforce to meet the employment and vocational rehabilitation needs of eligible individuals with disabilities, including people living with HIV.
In the letter sent February 25, 2015, the National Working Positive Coalition is partnering with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) to advocate for the regulations now being developed to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to maintain standards for a qualified and effective vocational rehabilitation counseling workforce.
Many people living with HIV, and other disabilities, need to be able to access effective vocational rehabilitation services to achieve their goals for employment. The state-federal vocational rehabilitation services system is the most comprehensive employment resource for people with disabilities. Services include access to benefits counseling, comprehensive rehabilitation evaluation to determine skills, interests, and abilities, as well as case management, vocational counseling, employment services, assistance with finding and keeping a job, and on the job and other training/education.
Rehabilitation counselors can also authorize medical referrals, job training, and supportive rehabilitation services, including mental health counseling, if these services will remove barriers to employment. Individuals with disabilities, including people living with HIV, often face significant barriers to employment including dealing with complex medical and psychological aspects of their diagnosis as well as social, educational, financial, legal, and vocational factors that can limit their ability to achieve viable employment outcomes that ensure continued access to care and improved economic and health outcomes.
This letter calls for regulations to be written based on the understanding that vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors need to be appropriately trained to adequately address the complex and interconnected issues of individuals with disabilities, including people living with HIV.
Resources for People With HIV Considering Employment
Mark Misrok is proof of the promise of vocational rehabilitation for people living with HIV in the U.S. He started out as a client and volunteer at the Positive Resource Center in San Francisco in 1992 -- and three years later became its program director.
Today, as president of the National Working Positive Coalition board of directors, Misrok believes that "we cannot bring an end to AIDS without understanding and addressing the total person. We can't avoid responding to the social and economic determinants that powerfully influence health and prevention outcomes. And that includes addressing poverty, social marginalization, unemployment and underemployment."
Misrok spoke with TheBody.com about the realities and resources for people with HIV considering the worlds of work and benefits.
Join the PLHIV Economic Empowerment Campaign
A Time for Change, A Time for Action
The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA), National Working Positive Coalition and Positive Women’s Network - USA (PWN–USA) are uniting to act for economic empowerment by and for people living with HIV.
Together, we are changing the conversation – and the policies – of the HIV community from poverty to income, and from economic instability to security and independence.
Douglas Brooks, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), must take immediate action to:
- Follow through on the commitments of the employment-related promises of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which calls for expanding employment opportunities for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and for collaboration, coordination and partnerships across federal agencies, and
- Launch a Federal Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS and Employment
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA)
NWPC presents on HIV and employment for PACHA
The NWPC participated in the meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) on February 28, 2014, invited to present a panel on HIV/AIDS and employment by the PACHA Disparities Subcommittee. Douglas Brooks, co-chair of the Subcommittee, served as moderator of the panel, which consisted of NWPC board members Dr. Liza Conyers, Associate Professor at Penn State University, and Chair of the NWPC Research Working Group, April Watkins, Assistant Director of Workforce Development at GMHC, and Mark Misrok, NWPC board president.
Dr. Conyers delivered this overview of research findings related to HIV and employment issues to help set the context for PACHA’s discussion and consideration of needed public policy initiatives to effectively implement the employment provisions of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the HIV Care Continuum Initiative.
Housing, Food and Nutrition, and Employment
Focus of New Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP) Structural Interventions Work Group
The inaugural meeting of the Structural Interventions Work Group of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP) was held on April 24, 2014. This meeting marked the first joint national policy and advocacy effort among HIV housing, food and nutrition, and employment organizations working together to target the social and economic determinants of health important to HIV health and prevention outcomes in the U.S. National Working Positive Coalition (NWPC) board members and partners participate in FAPP and in its newly-formed Structural Interventions Work Group in support of the development of HIV/AIDS policy recommendations informed by employment-related needs of people living with HIV, research findings and effective service practices.
FAPP is a national coalition of local, regional, and national organizations advocating for progressive federal HIV/AIDS legislation and policy. Much of FAPP’s policy and advocacy work is accomplished through six FAPP-affiliated working groups: AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition, HIV Health Care Access Working Group, HIV Housing Working Group, HIV Prevention Action Committee, Research Working Group, and Ryan White Work Group.
Recently, the co-chairs of the Housing Working Group approached leaders in the fields of Food and Nutrition (FNS) and Employment to suggest an expanded working group focused together on addressing the structural interventions needed to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to achieve better health outcomes for those living with HIV/AIDS. After discussions with colleagues, the three groups decided to launch the Structural Interventions Working Group of FAPP.
Click here for more information about FAPP.
For more information about the Structural Interventions Work Group of FAPP, contact Mark Misrok, President of the NWPC Board of Directors.