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Calling all disabled job seekers, including veterans. Join in on a free teleseminar on Thursday, Sept. 16 on the new role of assistive technology in the workplace. Sponsored by The Sierra Group’s One More Way collaborative, this teleseminar is free to job hunters with disabilities. (The Sierra Group also has a great job board.) Abledbody is an affiliate sponsor of this terrific event, where Janet Fiore, CEO of The Sierra Group, will talk about how employers can use assistive technology to hire and support qualified candidates with disabilities. Job seekers and employers will learn the four elements that support and allow for creative accommodation solutions, as well as current trends in accommodation solutions utilizing state-of-the-art technologies. Fiore will also bring up the need to broaden the reach of current workplace technologies to assist people with disabilities, such as with the iPad or smart phone. She’ll be joined by guest experts, ... keep reading »
Two years ago the government began collecting data on disabilities and employment as part of the U.S. Census. The information collected helped the Labor Department to create the first-ever report on the employment landscape for the 27 million working-age Americans with disabilities. Not surprisingly, the outlook is bleak, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal. Most of us are pretty familiar with the numbers. In 2009, the average unemployment rate for disabled workers was 14.5%, vs. 9 % for those without disabilities. The study shows that people with disabilities are much more likely to be older, or work only part-time, than people without disabilities. (Read the full release here). The Labor Department’s report mirrors the 2010 Kessler Foundation and National Organization on Disability Survey on Americans with Disabilities that was released in July and timed to the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the civil rights law that is designed ... keep reading »
CNN’s Gary Tuchman reports about Mark Barlet, founder of The AbleGamers Foundation, which seeks to make games accessible for people with disabilities. Barlet and AbleGamers.com assistant editor Steve Spohn tell CNN about the complex but exciting world of accessible video gaming, which includes adaptations like a Wii controller for the head, large-button switches, and joysticks that are driven by a puff of breath. Related article: NYC Mayor Hosts Disabilities Awards keep reading »
Last night at Gracie Mansion, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg held an event to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I accepted an award on behalf of The AbleGamers Foundation, of which I am a board member. (Congrats, AbleGamers!!) While sitting up on stage as the Mayor gave his speech, I looked around the room for CART services. Figuring they didn’t offer CART, I tried to follow the sign-language interpreter. About halfway into the program I happened to look up: CART was on the ceiling!! I must have looked terribly foolish stretching my neck to read the Mayor’s words upside down. But I don’t think he noticed. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, led by Commissioner Matthew Sapolin, holds this event each year to recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to increasing accessibility for people with disabilities. Says Bloomberg: ... keep reading »
The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy is offering $2.3 million to fund Add Us In, a program that works to increase the ability of businesses owned, operated and controlled by minorities to employ more people with disabilities. The minority groups include African Americans; Asian Americans; Latino or Hispanic Americans; members of federally recognized Tribes and Native Americans; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals; and women. According to ODEOP, grant recipients will create replicable models that can be used by targeted businesses and associations of targeted businesses nationwide to reach out to people with disabilities in their communities, which can lead to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities in these communities. Overall, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities is around 14 percent, compared with 10 percent for persons with no disability. Researchers say minorities with disabilities are often at increased risk for unemployment. Among racial and ethnic groups, the ... keep reading »
A new policy aims to help soldiers minimize the effects mild traumatic brain injuries, or mTBI. The U.S. Army says that any soldier who sustains a direct blow to the head or loss of consciousness, or is within 50 meters of a blast must undergo a medical evaluation, followed by 24 hours of downtime and medical clearance before returning to duty. The rule also applies to soldiers who are in a vehicle associated with a blast event, collision, or rollover, or in a building that has been damaged by a blast or accident. Comprehensive medical evaluations are mandatory for anyone sustaining three concussions within 12 months. Mild traumatic brain injuries are more commonly known as concussions. Explosions on the battlefield often cause these injuries, but they also can occur through falls, sports injuries, auto accidents or any other event resulting in a blow to the head. Research shows that concussions are overwhelmingly ... keep reading »
President Obama’s remarks at the White House on Monday celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act were eloquent, passionate and memorable. Speaking after performances by Patti Labelle and Marlee Matlin, Obama thanked the champions of the original ADA — signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990 — for passing what he calls one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills in the history of this country. After giving a nod to those who have died while working to advance the disability cause, namely Senator Ted Kennedy and Justin Dart, known as the the father of the ADA, Obama commemorated what the ADA has accomplished so far. “It was about the young girl in Washington State who just wanted to see a movie at her hometown theater, but was turned away because she had cerebral palsy; or the young man in Indiana who showed up at a ... keep reading »
Working with the Department of Justice, President Obama announced two final rules that will amend Americans with Disabilities Act regulations that relate to Title II and Title III of the law. The changes will improve access to programs and services for people with disabilities, such as at baseball games and public swimming pools. Under the rule, recreational facilities, including swimming pools, playgrounds, golf courses, amusement rides, recreational boating facilities, exercise machines and equipment, miniature golf courses and fishing piers will have to adopt accessible design standards. Buildings that already comply with the 1991 ADA standards for accessible design would not be required to be brought into compliance with the new rules until the facility undergoes a planned alteration. Additionally, wheelchairs and scooters must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use. The department also has added provisions that provide guidance on the sale of tickets for accessible seating at stadiums and theaters. ... keep reading »
I’m in Washington this week as a delegate to the National Council on Disability’s National Summit on Disability Policy 2010. NCD and its delegates will join with group of federal partners, Congress, and disability community stakeholders to launch a national dialogue on disability policies and programs in the 21st century. This year’s theme is Living, Learning, and Earning, and Monday’s session will focus on technology, healthcare reform, emergency management and disability rights. Many of the participants will head over to the White House on Monday for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the South Lawn. The event, which starts at 5:30 p.m., will include remarks by President Obama and performances by by Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, Patti LaBelle and Marlee Matlin. Also, on Monday check out the Today Show at 8:45 am ET; the always smiling Bonnie St. John will appear to discuss the results ... keep reading »
The Department of Justice celebrated the American with Disabilities Act’s 20th Anniversary, with Attorney General Eric Holder speaking about the ADA. Holder says that over the past two decades, the law has “helped create revolutionary improvements in the lives of Americans with disabilities … [and] helped improve our society’s understanding of what Americans with disabilities could accomplish when given the chance to participate on equal terms.” Holder says the Department of Justice has placed a renewed focus on enforcing the ADA, including settling discrimination lawsuits against people with disabilities and advocating for more in-home health care. More importantly, the Justice Department says it will soon publish four notices regarding accessibility requirements for websites, movie theaters, equipment and furniture, and 911 call-taking technologies. That means that movies may be required to display, at least at certain times, closed-captions for the deaf and audio descriptions for the blind. Currently, movie theaters in the U.S. ... keep reading »

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