By Jenifer Simpson, Employment Advisor and Technology Policy Analyst, President’s Committee on Employment of People With Disabilities
Annual Review of Communications', (p. 315), International Engineering Consortium, Chicago, IL 1999, Vol 52., p. 315.
presentation was delivered initially at a conference entitled "HARNESSING
THE INFORMATION SOCIETY TO RAISE EMPLOYMENT LEVELS FOR PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES", as part of a panel presentation on “Adaptations in the
Workplace”, during an international meeting held in Madrid, Spain, October
27th, 1998. The
conference was part of the New Transatlantic Agreement talks which were
developed from U.S. Administration and European Commission discussions in 1995
and which set up a structured exchange of policy perspectives. Jenifer Simpson
is an Employment Advisor with the President’s Committee on Employment of
People With Disabilities, a small federal agency with a mission to enhance
employment of people with disabilities. She was a founder and convener of the
Consortium for Citizens With Disabilities Task Force on Communications Access
and is the parent of a 14 year old boy severely disabled by cerebral palsy.]
paper outlines a case study in how adaptation of the workplace an occur
through legislative mandates on the private sector, or supply side, for the
purpose of addressing the needs of people with disabilities.
It is a different way of making change happen.
paper first provides some background on the underlying philosophical concept
that is universal design. It then
discusses the legislative language itself, and examines progress to date.
Finally, it highlights some success factors and implications for this
type of approach to making change happen.
OF THE CASE STUDY
case study shows how provisions from civil rights law are used creatively as
drivers or agents of change acting upon companies that manufacture and produce
goods and services. The result is that goods and services produced by these
companies can be used by people with disabilities. It is about using, or
influencing, law and regulation as tools for change.
examples are used within the case study to illustrate this.
The first example is Sec. 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The Telecommunications Act is the underlying statute or law for all
electronic communications in the U.S. Originally
enacted in 1934, the law underwent a major overhaul and was amended in 1996.
This law affects all mobile, satellite communications, all television
(broadcast, cable and satellite), radio and telephony, etc.
The Sec. 255 provision affects an industry worth billions in
telecommunications products and services a year, products and services that
are used in the workplace and in homes and other settings.
second example is Sec. 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998 (as amended).
The Rehabilitation Act is the legislation that undergirds the
rehabilitation system in the U.S. The federal rehabilitation program is about
$2 billion in services that are executed via a statewide system of service
delivery that is targeted to people with disabilities.
This is the program that the chairman of this panel, Fred Schroeder,
Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), oversees and
directs. Within this Rehabilitation Act is the Sec.508 provision.
provision affects, or rather, will affect more than $27 billion of federal
purchasing of information technology a year, that is, information technology
that is used in federal government offices or workplaces.
This represents slightly more than a quarter of all information
technology that is purchased annually in the U.S.
two major federal (U.S.) laws now contain a few small paragraphs targeting the
telecommunications and electronic and information technology industries. These
paragraphs will likely cause companies in the private sector to change the way
they design, develop and fabricate products and services.
They must now develop products to be accessible (usable and operable)
to the access needs of people with disabilities. These could be products used
in the workplace or other places (e.g., home or school or other setting).
case study addresses workplace adaptability but is not limited to that
setting; making technology
accessible to people with disabilities could help reduce the significantly
high level of unemployment found among people with disabilities in the U.S.
(currently almost 50 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed in the
U.S. which by far grossly exceeds the average unemployment rate for
examples used here start from a macro or systems change perspective and is
based on a philosophical principle called “universal design.”
Universal design means designing things in the beginning stages to take
into account the largest possible range of users,
and which includes people with a variety of disabilities.
It is a process or approach rather than a certain specific outcome.
where universal design is made manifest include:
captioning (or sub-title) in television sets
devices in phone sets
fonts on signs
design that considers people who use hearing aids
coding of pathways and clear signs
that are easy to read and available in different formats
assistive technology devices used by individuals with disabilities
type of design is to be used in place of designing for average people, or
standard people, or what used to be called ‘normal’ people and then
expecting people with disabilities to fit or adapt themselves to the equipment
or environment in some way. The end result of a non-universal design approach
may cost a lot to the individual with a disability, or cause a ‘special
cost’ to society, and may involve expensive and inconvenient retrofitting of
an item or system.
showing lack of universal design are:
(without alternate ramped route)
for wheelchair users
systems on phones that do not have an option feature to a human operator (or
other alternate access option)
letters or numbers on keypads
mandate for universal design means, in
the practical sense, and in this case study, that certain industries will have
to change how they approach designing their goods and services.
the example of section 255 of the telecommunications act, telecommunications
companies (equipment manufacturers and services providers) are targeted.
In the example of section 508 of the rehab act, information technology
and telecommunications companies that sell to the federal government are
Example Of The Case Study: Section 255
indicate legal language found in the law}
ACT OF 1996
PUBLIC LAW 104-104,
Signed By President Clinton Feb. 6, 1996
does Sec. 255 say exactly and what does it instruct companies to do?
manufacturer of telecommunications equipment or customer premises equipment
shall ensure that the equipment is designed, developed, and fabricated to be
accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily
is a mandate that greatly affects an industry that sells to the federal
government. It means that as they
make and develop equipment used in telecommunication they have to think about
the needs of and usage by people with disabilities as they develop the
products and services. This means
taking into account the needs of people with vision, hearing, speech or other
disability or functional limitation. What it basically means is that if you cannot
wheel up to it, see it, hear it, manipulate the controls on it,
manipulate the content the device accesses to understand it or speak to it
then it is NOT accessible to a person with a disability. And it probably is not too user-friendly for elderly persons
either. Or those of us who get impatient fast with buttons and controls and
the definition of what is telecommunication is determined elsewhere in the
255 Also Pertains To Telecommunications Service Providers.
Services.‑‑A provider of telecommunications service shall ensure
that the service is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities,
if readily achievable.
means whatever service the providers sell must be also usable by a person with
a disability. Services here means basic
telephone services, which are defined by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC), the regulating agency in the U.S.
The term includes dial
tone, touch tone, voice telephony.
services here also mean adjunct-to-basic
services. The FCC defines these as services that are basic in purpose,
that facilitate completion of calls through basic telephone service facilities
without altering the fundamental character of telephone service, and that
bring maximum benefit to the public through incorporation into the network.
These services include directory assistance, electronic directory
assistance, speed dialing, call forwarding, computer-provided directory
assistance, call monitoring, caller identification, call tracing, call
blocking, call return, repeat dialing, call tracking, Operator Services for
the Deaf (OSD), some Centrex features. These
are services to be covered by the Sec. 255 in the rulemaking for these
provisions of the law which are still underway at the FCC (a rule is expected
in July 1999).
is, however, another group of services defined by the FCC, called enhanced
services, which they are proposing to be not covered by the Sec. 255
mandate. These are part of ‘information services’ which the FCC
asserts are not currently regulated. However,
the community of people with disabilities, and their advocates, believe that
these services should be included as they are now almost ubiquitous and are
certainly becoming part of what is sold, bundled in different ways, by
different providers as technology converges.
often appears -- to end users with disabilities -- to be artificial regulatory
walls between ‘enhanced services’ and other services that use telephone
lines that was created in previous regulations and which have not been
addressed appropriately in the new amended communications law. As services use
new lines (wirelines and wireless or other) the end user with a disability
does not know the technological or regulatory barriers – he or she just
wants it to work for them. These
types of services include voicemail, electronic mail, facsimile store and
forward, interactive voice response, protocol processing gateway, audiotext
information services, electronic store and forward, data processing, gateways
to online databases, alarm monitoring, reverse directory services, and other
the proposed Federal Communication Commission rule on Sec. 255 these would not
be covered. This causes much consternation in the disability community.
One key factor influencing this consternation are how the telephone
monopolies are now entering into previously unregulated services, and vice
versa (companies previously unregulated are now providing what were once
regulated services, such as voice telephony over the Internet. Other key
factors include the unbundling of services at the local level and competing
providers entering and bundling new kinds of services together using new
are all kinds of innovations being developed, and we have barely even thought
about how to access services via our televisions! What if it is possible to
“dial” a friend or send e-mail from the couch while watching what used to
be a television, which will not be just a television any more!
It is all about convergence! From
the end-user perspective, that is, from the point of view of the person with a
disability, there can be numerous access issues that have nothing to do with
is more, though, to what the Sec. 255 mandate says. It also says that if
companies cannot meet this mandate, that is, if it is not readily achievable
to make products, equipment and services accessible for disability, then the
company must make it work with the equipment that people with disabilities
use. The law states:
the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) are not readily achievable, such a
manufacturer or provider shall ensure that the equipment or service is
compatible with existing peripheral devices or specialized customer premises
equipment commonly used by individuals with disabilities to achieve access, if
refers to equipment used by people with disabilities like TTYs, electronic
voice prosthetics, artificial limbs, other medically necessary aids, although
this list is not limited to these items
text of Sec. 255 opens with key
SEC. 255. [47
U.S.C. 255] ACCESS BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.
(a) Definitions.‑‑As used in
Disability.‑‑The term ''disability'' has the meaning given to it
by section 3(2)(A) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C.
achievable.‑‑The term ''readily achievable'' has the meaning given
to it by section 301(9) of that Act (42 U.S.C. 12181(9)).
definitions used here are found in the basic civil rights law that protects
people with disabilities in the United States, the Americans with Disabilities
Act or the ADA, enacted in 1990. The
same ‘definition of disability’ is used and the same concept of ‘readily
achievable’ are used in a creative way. These were imported from the civil
rights law into a law which affects numerous private sector entities.
Not only does this provide consistency, but it is a creative way to
export concepts in civil rights law.
is the definition of disability from the ADA:
"disability" means, with respect to an individual
Sec. 3(2)(A) a
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the
major life activities of such individuals.
life activities are walking, talking, breathing, seeing, talking, working,
etc. and are determined as ADA cases develop.
is the definition of ‘readily achievable’ from the ADA. Emphasis in bold
is added to illustrate some key notions within this definition.
Achievable. The term means easily
accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.
In determining whether an action is readily achievable, factors to be
--the nature and cost of the action needed under this Act;
--the overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved
in the action; the number of persons employed at such facility;
the effect on expenses and
resources, or the impact otherwise of such action upon the operation of the
--the overall financial resources of the covered entity; the overall size
of the business of a covered entity with respect to the number of its
employees; the number, type and
location of its facilities; and
--the type of
operation or operations of the covered entity, including the composition,
structure and functions of the workforce to such entity;
the geographic separateness, administrative or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the
determining readily achievable under the Sec. 255 mandate, it is the general
feeling of the disability community that a good deal of accessibility can be
easily accomplished and without much expense, if it is technically feasible to
do so. Telecommunications
companies, both service providers and makers of equipment, are huge
corporations, valued in the billions of dollars each. Disability advocates
have noted that new products and services are often ‘engineering driven’,
that is, a new technology may lead to market development rather than vice
versa. While markets may demand
certain types of services, it is often the marketing departments of
telecommunications companies who are central to determining whether a
particular technology will reach the market.
the federal government is in the rulemaking stage of developing Sec. 255
regulations under this law.
Guidelines.‑‑Within 18 months after the date of enactment of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers
Compliance Board shall develop guidelines for accessibility of
telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment in conjunction
with the Commission. The Board shall review and update the guidelines
has been significant industry involvement in developing the rules under this
mandate. In addition many people with disabilities, and their representatives,
are involved. For instance, the mandate required the U.S. Access Board to
develop recommendations for guidelines to standards under Sec. 255.
The U.S. Access Board has a long history of developing such guidelines
for various rulemakings under the Americans With Disabilities Act and, in the
case of Sec. 255, while telecommunications was a new arena for them, they
undertook a process whereby they formed a Telecommunications Access Advisory
Committee (TAAC). Through a public notification process members of disability
organizations and telecommunications companies were invited to a ‘talks’
process. The TAAC met two or
three days a month for about 10 months holding intensive discussions on the
this process, private-sector individuals had the opportunity to learn more
about disability, about ‘the disability point of view’ and about the
social conditions of people with disabilities and their families.
Conversely, individuals with disabilities learned more about the
industry, its concerns, and its thoughts about disability.
While many of the usual stereotypes about people with disabilities were
punctured, significant progress was made as the TAAC ended its task with a
significant product, formed through consensus discussions, of guidelines for
standards under Sec. 255. This
can be found at their web site, http://www.access-board.gov, and is a
significant reference document in the field of accessible telecommunications.
more important, critical relationships were built between industry, academic
and disability community leaders and advocates. It is these relationships -- long lasting person-to-person
contacts -- that will lead to real change occurring. As an illustration, take
one individual from a large telecommunications equipment corporation. At the
second meeting of the TAAC, this individual -- an engineer with a regulatory
and standards-making background -- made a personal commitment to going back to
his home office to ensure that ‘something would be done’ about disability
accessibility at his company. Over
an 18- month period he has been able to form a disability interest team that
is made up of people from different departments and divisions within his
company. This team is ‘carrying
the word’ about disability to different parts of the company and is, in
effect, injecting a new consciousness about disability within that particular
corporate culture. Products from
this team include a film to show to new employees at the corporation that
includes discussion and examples of what is meant by disability accessibility
within telecommunications. Other
activities are underway, such as development of manuals for training staff,
particularly in the customer call centers and other service centers of the
is an example of how the Rulemaking process causes the industry to take up
disability access. Other examples include major telecommunications companies
that now have universal design policies in place. This is where an individual within the company -- the
representative of the company on the TAAC -- went back to his or her company
and began a process to have the company state on the record that it is “for
disability accessibility and will be doing something about it.” Press releases, notices and educational materials are
generated during this process that cause internal changes in the way
individuals at the company think about disability.
several major portable phone and computer companies have disability-access
teams in place demonstrating serious commitment to disability access through
encouraging product teams and product development managers to think through
what disability access is about for the company’s products or services. In
the case of one wireless company, the guidelines for standards that were
developed by the TAAC are being used by different product teams as a tool.
some industry trade associations and standards-making bodies are developing
training manuals, looking at electronic standards, or otherwise developing “disability sensitivity” in response
to the mandates and because an individual, and it is usually one
‘champion’ who starts this process, decides disability accessibility is
important and works on introducing the topic on the agenda within whatever
organizations and entities with which they are involved.
These are the new, strategic heroes of the disability community!
Section 508 Mandate
508 is a few paragraphs found in another larger law, the Workforce Investment
Act of 1998, a major piece of legislation signed by President Clinton August
7, 1998 and signed into public law (was H.R. 1385). The critical section was TITLE IV‑‑REHABILITATION
ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1998.
ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.
FOR FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES‑
DEVELOPMENT, PROCUREMENT, MAINTENANCE, OR USE OF ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY‑ When developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic
and information technology, each Federal department or agency, including the
United States Postal Service, shall ensure, unless an undue burden would be
imposed on the department or agency, that the electronic and information technology
allows, regardless of the type of medium of the technology‑‑
this means is that all U.S. federal government agencies that buy information
technology, and all of them do, must ensure that what they purchase can work
for an employee with a disability or for a customer with a disability.
includes items such as desk top computers, information kiosks, copy or Xerox
machines on networks, any equipment that is automatic and part of an
electronically operated system.
law has a wide-ranging effect as both federal employees and their customers
individuals with disabilities who are Federal employees to have access
to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use
of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with
with disabilities who are members of the public seeking information or
services from a Federal department or agency to have access to and use of
information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the
information and data by such members of the public who are not individuals
as in the Sec. 255, there is a fall-back provision. If the agency purchasing
information technology finds this to be an undue burden, they must find
another way to provide access:
MEANS EFFORTS‑ When development, procurement, maintenance, or use of
electronic and information technology that meets the standards published by
the Access Board under paragraph (2) would impose an undue burden, the
Federal department or agency shall provide individuals with disabilities
covered by paragraph (1) with the information and data involved by an
alternative means of access that allows the individual to use the information
stipulations in these few paragraphs affecting information technology vendors
to the U.S. federal government address standards development and what is
defined as information technology. Sec.
508 says that standards for electronic and information technology must be
developed within 18 months in consultation with other federal agencies. This
law also uses a definition of electronic and information technology that is
found in another piece of legislation, the Clinger‑Cohen Act of 1996.
definition of “information technology” specified in Section 5002(3) Of The
Clinger‑Cohen Act Of 1996 (40 U.S.C.
1401(3)) is from The Information Technology Management Reform Act (ITMRA)
of 1996, as follows:
(3) INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY‑ (A) The term `information
technology', with respect to an executive agency
means any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment,
that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management,
movement, control, display,switching, interchange, transmission, or reception
of data or information by the executive agency.
...(B) The term
`information technology' includes computers,
equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including
support services) and related resources.
would seem that a lot of things found in offices are included in this
definition! This is being clarified during the Rulemaking process which began
at the U.S. Access Board in 1998. The
board has the authority to initiate the regulations. Similar to the Telecommunications Access Advisory
Committee (TAAC) process for developing the rulemaking in the Sec.255 mandate,
the U.S. Access Board brought together key persons from the private sector and
disability community to develop recommendations for the rule.
formed an “Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory
Committee” (EITAAC) to develop the rule.
The committee consisted of private-sector individuals, people from
disability organizations, federal agency participants and other experts. As in
the TAAC process, key persons with disabilities were involved or
“at the table” during these discussions.
This usually expedites the learning process about disability for the
private-sector representatives. Key large and small companies are on the
EITAAC, and they learn a lot about disability and at the same time are able to
influence the rulemaking so that it is realistic.
Success Factors In Developing Provisions in the Laws To Affect Industry
the Sec. 255 example, disability advocates worked together over more than five
years. Early in 1991, two or three interested advocates who realized that it
might be time to do something as communications companies were starting to
lobby the Congress to get their changes in the law, began working together to
see what common principles and purposes they shared and to influence the
time, advocates from more than 15 different disability organizations worked on
this, as well as numerous individuals who spoke up and acted individually.
The coalition did not give up and never lost track of what was needed.
At the first stage, principles of electronic communications access were
developed. These principles
became the ground or platform from which to work.
Most importantly, disability advocates worked directly with a few
private-sector entities. This is a relationship-building process and its
importance cannot be underestimated.
addition, a few “champions” were found in the Congress in both the House
of Representatives and the Senate. In
one instance, a congressional representative ordered the telephone company
representatives to sit down and talk with the disability advocates, as the
disability advocates protested very loudly to him. He said that everyone must
sit down and agree if the legislation was to move forward.
In another instance, a senator
made sure that, during the last-minute changes of the legislation, that the
disability access provisions did not get lost in the shuffle under the
pressure of the intense lobbying.
telecommunications companies were involved in the Sec.255 legislative language
negotiation process. These were companies who had a direct and significant
interest in changing the communications law.
In this case it was incumbent or monopoly local telephony carriers who
wanted to enter into other lines of business (such as long-distance or
important, people with disabilities in hearing, vision, speech, cognition and
mobility were involved at every step along the way. This is critical. For
instance, the coalition of disability services and advocacy organizations that
was formed in Washington, D.C. to work on the impending changes in the
telecommunications law included, as a majority, people with significant
sensory and motor disabilities. In
one instance, the disability coalition voted two spokespersons to meet
face-to-face with attorneys from the telephone companies to work out the exact
language before the language it was introduced in the proposed legislation.
These two individuals were severely disabled persons: one was an
attorney who is blind and the other was an advocate with cerebral palsy who
uses a wheelchair and an electronic speech prosthetic device (called an
Alternative Augmentative Communication or AAC device, which is a small
computer with linguistics based software and a keyboard).
There was a steep learning curve for the attorneys at the telephone
companies when they realized that people with such disabilities were the
people they had to deal with. In as many instances as possible, people with disabilities
acted as spokespersons, negotiators, and lobbyists, and in other roles during
the ongoing process of ‘educating’ the industry personnel and the
congressional representatives about what the needs for disability access in
telecommunications. In the Sec. 508 example, (language that was first written
in 1973 but lacked enforcement rules) federal agency disability-oriented staff
and some disability advocates built on previous language, borrowed concepts
from Sec. 255, and slowly added the provisions during a reauthorization
critical success factor for this overall effort was to find a legislative
vehicle that is moving, relevant and that can be influenced to accomplish the
important point is that it is actually fun for people from different
backgrounds and venues to work together, like people from the private sector
who normally would not be involved with persons from the disability community.
Too often, disability law and regulation is something not part of the
mainstream -- not part of what is happening in the rest of society.
the final rules are not available yet in either the Sec. 255 or Sec. 508
rulemaking (although likely by
mid-summer of 1999 for Sec. 255) and there are not a lot of equipment and
services on the market that is immediately disability accessible, a toehold
has been gained on the mountain, from the disability-community point of view.
It is also an educational process that is underway and sure to lead to
some successful products and services. In
fact, many companies are already developing things differently, and selling
and targeting their products and services to be disability accessible.
key success factors in this case study involves good definitions and
key language use. This concept is rooted in a fundamental civil rights
perspective -- that a person with a disability has the same right to the use
and the benefit of goods and services as do people without disabilities. This
is based on several important understandings:
any time in any place can become a person with a disability.
share responsibility for disability.
is a natural part of the human condition.
wrong to put barriers in the way of people with disabilities.
is a fundamentally egalitarian approach that goes back a long way in history.
introduces a new concept into the market place.
the companies who are now ‘forced’ or ‘compelled’ to make their
products and services disability accessible there is a steep learning curve.
They have to re-think how they conceive “the market for people with
disabilities.” They can no
longer carve up the market into “the blind” or “the deaf” or “the wheelchair
bound” or “the dumb” or “the retarded”. There can be no more
are now realizing that a person with hearing disability lives in a household,
or a person who is blind is in a workplace.
That is, they are part of the whole, and the equipment and services
manufactured and sold must work for both persons with and persons without
disabilities. Companies have to
start making products and services that work for everyone and that can be
found “on the shelf’. There
is likely to be a constant need for some very specialized and custom-made
technology for people with some very severe and/or multiple disabilities, but
this new approach, universal design, starts with the everyday and asks that
off-the-shelf products and services be designed and developed at the outset to
be used by people with disabilities. In
terms of the electronic information infrastructure, this is the building of
electronic curb cuts on the information superhighway, so that a person with a
disability goes under the bridge or over the overpass and sees around every
corner, just like users without disabilities.
requiring federal government purchases to be disability accessible, a
supply-side market force is created. It
allows engineers and other problem solvers to find new ways to innovate and
generate new products. Workplaces
will be highly impacted as more and more products and services become
available that are designed with disability access in mind from the beginning
will discover that it is easier to accommodate to a person with a disability
in the workplace as they will find computers, telephones, fax machines,
copiers and other equipment already in the market place, that works for the
person in a wheelchair, or who has a vision disability or who has hearing loss
or other disability. Designing
for disability provides access for anyone, at any time, anywhere. This concept meets a fundamental market driver of the private
sector, which is to be able to sell a product or service that can be accessed
electronically at any place, at any time by anyone. It also means that providers can sell a lot more!
overall effects of a universal-design approach or policy are as follows:
It is a
process that changes how products and services are made.
the burden of adapting to the world from the individual with a disability;
responsibility across the marketplace.
down barriers between people, as everyone benefits as products and services
are designed for people with disabilities.
universal-design approach makes things usually more ‘user friendly’ for
those without disabilities as well. Additionally, when a person who is now
not-disabled becomes disabled, or loses functional capacities (such as in
hearing, vision, speech, cognition, and
mobility) he or she will not lose the ability to use everyday, commonly found
products and services.
President’s Committee On Employment Of People With Disabilities
The President’s Committee on
Employment of People With Disabilities is a small federal agency with a
mission is to communicate, coordinate and promote public and private efforts
to enhance the employment of people with disabilities.
The Committee provides information, training and technical assistance
to America’s business leaders, organized labor, rehabilitation and service
providers, advocacy organizations, families and individuals with disabilities.
The President’s Committee reports to the President on the progress
and problems of maximizing employment opportunities for people with
The committee works with business
leaders such as the United States Chamber of Commerce in a Business Leadership
Network; with organized labor groups such as the AFL-CIO; with veterans’
groups such as the Association of Non-Commissioned Officers and Veterans of
Foreign Wars; with high technology companies developing accessibility best
practices, and with many disability service providers and federal entities.
public-private initiatives underway include:
(JAN), a toll free service for business that provides consulting to 40,000
callers annually, on job accommodations and ADA information in the workplace;
(BLN), led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and by employers,
stimulates best disability employment practices, including job fairs
and job readiness workshops;
(TI), promotes and disseminates best practices that led to designing for
disability access in technology products and services to create workplaces
that are fully accessible;
Employment Opportunities For People With Disabilities
identifies and promulgates national resources for planning, technical
assistance and capital development for individuals with disabilities who want
to develop or expand entrepreneurial activities;
supplies to the private and public sector, via a free CD-ROM, a pre-screened
listing of motivated college students with disabilities who want jobs and
promotes, through community partnerships, science, engineering and technology
careers for students with disabilities;
assists small and medium-sized businesses in understanding the ADA and the
benefits of hiring people with disabilities;
of People With Cognitive Disabilities
promotes white collar employment opportunities for qualified persons with
Leadership Forum is
a national program that fosters state-level forums conducted by high achieving
disabled role modes to motivate high schoolers with disabilities to excel as
they transition to higher education, training and
increases job opportunities for people with disabilities who are minorities;
Veterans’ Employment Forums
are conducted regionally to review employment issues facing veterans with
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