Newsletter: May 13, 2010

Northeast ADA May 13, 2010 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Save the Date- Free Trainer Network Program in Ithaca, NY. August 10th-11th:
The DBTAC Northeast ADA Center is hosting a free two-day Train the Trainer program August 10-11th at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. This program is designed to certify participants as trainers in our ADA Trainer Network. Be watching future News Bulletins and at our website for details about registration, which should become active in June.

Settlement Agreement between DOJ and Crowne Plaza Times Square Hotel:
The Times Square JV LLC and Intercontinental Hotels Group Resources, Incorporated, which owns the Crowne Plaza Times Square Hotel in New York City (NYC), has entered a voluntary compliance agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ). This settlement agreement is the result of the DOJ conducting a limited review of certain NYC hotels to determine their level of ADA compliance. Among other things, the hotel has agreed to either maintain or improve the accessibility of their main entrance, registration counter, and accessible rooms. To read the agreement, go to:

NYS Agency Seeks to Establish Technology-Related Assistance Regional Offices:
Through the Request for Proposals (RFP) process, the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities is seeking to establish 12 statewide regional offices to provide services under the federally and state funded Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID) Program. TRAID's mission is to increase access to assistive technology (AT) devices and services for persons with disabilities. Each contractor will be responsible for operating both a regional center that will provide AT related services to consumers, family members, service providers, and educators, and an equipment loan program for children. RFP's are due June 4th. For more details, call 1.800.624.4143 or go to:

New York City Able-Ride Service Cuts Remain Temporarily Restrained:
On April 9th a judge had issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) from terminating their Able-Ride service, a shared ride service for people with disabilities. On April 28th, a new judge issued a 30-day restraining order and asked the MTA to hold more hearings with disability groups and advocates to discuss options for those affected. Read more at:


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor Online Tool Now Available:
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a new online tool to help employers ensure their employment policies and practices do not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. The "Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor" can help employers quickly and easily determine which federal disability nondiscrimination laws apply to their organization and their responsibilities under them. It asks users to answer some questions about the nature of their organization, whether it receives federal monies, and the size of the staff. Based on the responses provided, the Advisor then generates a customized list of the nondiscrimination laws that likely apply, and easy-to-understand information about employers' legal responsibilities. This tool can also help employees and job applicants learn more about their rights under these laws. To read more, and to access the tool, go to:

National Federation of the Blind Files Lawsuit Against Several Law Schools:
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) against nine prominent law schools for violating the civil rights of blind and other print-disabled law school applicants.  The NFB filed the complaints because the law schools require applicants who wish to have the convenience of applying online to use a centralized Internet-based application process that is inaccessible to applicants who are blind. The complaints ask the DOJ to require these law schools to suspend use of the inaccessible application system until it is accessible and to require each law school to provide the same application process in an accessible format to all students. Read more at:

Latest Job Accommodation Network (JAN) E-News:
JAN's E-News is their online newsletter whose purpose is to inform readers about low-cost, innovative accommodations and assistive technologies, as well as share policy updates and training opportunities regarding the employment success of people with disabilities. This issue includes information on JAN's new Website, mobility enhancing devices, and employees with rare conditions. Access all the E-News at:

Debate Over Rules Issued for Mental Health Parity Insurance Law:
Insurance companies and employer groups are lobbying the White House to rework the rules on mental health parity. While they support the 2008 Mental Health Parity Act, which requires equal insurance coverage for the treatment of mental and physical illnesses, they say the rules go far beyond the intent of Congress and would hurt their cost-control techniques and raise out-of-pocket costs for some patients. Advocates for patients support the rules and believe they will eliminate insurance discrimination against people with mental illness. Read more at:

Disability Services Research Center Established:
The Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability has awarded more than $6 million to Mathematica Policy Research, Inc to establish a Center of Excellence in Research on Disability Services, Care Coordination and Integration. The goal of this contract is to build the infrastructure necessary to support and conduct research on the effectiveness of healthcare systems for people with disabilities. Read more about how the research will be used at:

Video and Relay Service Users Encouraged to Register with Relay Providers:
People with speech and hearing disabilities are using more technologically advanced communication methods such as relay services, computers, and wireless devices. According to the Federal Communications Commission, in order for these technologies to be the most beneficial to people with disabilities when calling 911, relay providers are being instructed to register all such users. This involves assigning a local ten-digit telephone number for easier response by 911 service centers to calls originating via these new technologies. Users of Video and IP relay service should contact their providers to ensure they have a ten-digit number that works with 911 so that emergency calls will go through more easily.  Read more at:

April Disability Employment Statistics Released:
In April, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 15.2 percent, which is unfortunately up from 13.9 percent in March. To access all of the statistics, go to:

Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users Training Program from United Spinal:
The United Spinal Association's Accessibility Services Program, with funding assistance from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, has created "Fire Safety for Wheelchair Users: At Work & At Home Training Program". This program's materials can be both viewed and downloaded from:

Meet the Women of the Administration: Kathleen Martinez
Read about the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez at:


Opportunities for You!

DBTAC Northeast Disability IS Diversity Webinar May 21st:
The Northeast ADA Center presents its fifth Next Steps webinar, "Disability IS Diversity:  Including America's Largest Diversity Population in Diversity Planning and Practice" on May 21st from 1:00-2:30pm EDT, presented by Hannah Rudstam, Ph.D., Senior Extenstion Faculty with the DBTAC Northeast. This webinar will discuss strategies for including people with disabilities in workplace diversity initiatives. Register online at  CRC credits are available and call in information will be distributed via email the day before the event.

Forum on Federal Contractors and Disability Affirmative Action May 19th:
On May 19th from 10:00am-12:00pm EST, speakers from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Office of Disability Employment Policy, and Powers, Pyles, Sutter, & Verville, PC, with facilitation by Cornell University's Employment & Disability Institute, will offer a Policy Forum, "New Directions for Federal Contractors and Disability Affirmative Action" at the Cornell University Government Affairs Office in Washington, DC. This can be accessed live or via webinar. To register, go to:

Summer Workshops for Adults who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing:
The Rochester Institute of Technology National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID) will be offering a series of summer workshops, the Deaf Initiative in Technology (DiiT), to provide a variety of technical and business-based training workshops in sign language to adults who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. All workshops are held at RIT/NTID in Rochester, New York. Register by June 1st to receive a discount:

United Spinal's 2010 Independence Expo in Long Island, NY June 25-26th:
United Spinal's Independence Expo will be June 25-26th at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York. These Expos bring together a diverse group of consumers and professionals to share the latest in treatment strategies, adaptive equipment, lifestyle-enhancing information, and therapeutic breakthroughs. Register at:


Special Spotlight:  Tell Your ADA Anniversary Story to DBTAC!

On July 26th we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This landmark piece of civil rights legislation opened many doors for people with disabilities, both literally and figuratively!  We here at the Northeast ADA Center want to hear from you how the ADA has impacted your life and what you hope to see happen in the next 20 years of the ADA. Please email your comments or stories to us at with "ADA Anniversary" in the subject- note whether you wish to remain anonymous or not. We will share these stories and thoughts in June and July News Bulletins! 


See you in a few weeks!