Newsletter: August 09, 2010

Northeast ADA Center August 9, 2010 News Bulletin

Special Spotlight on the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act Continues!

President Obama Honors ADA Anniversary by Signing Executive Order:
A star-studded White House celebration marked the ADA's 20th anniversary. Following performances by musician Nathaniel Ayers who has schizophrenia, singer Patti LaBelle who is diabetic and a recitation from actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, President Obama gave an address on the South Lawn to hundreds of people. He called the legislation "one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills in the history of the country" and spoke about the important social and economic gains that the ADA provided by ensuring that all Americans could contribute their talents. Obama also noted that much has yet to be done, and ended his address by signing a Federal Executive Order aimed at making the federal government a "model employer" of people with disabilities by increasing their employment in federal jobs To read the White House press release about the Federal Executive Order, go to:  Go to:  to read more about the Celebration event.

Department of Justice Releases Long Awaited ADA Updated Regulations:
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary, the DOJ issued updated ADA regulations. These rules supplement various requirements within Title II and Title III and implement new standards for the construction and alteration of facilities. These rules will take effect in 6 months. Compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design is required within 18 months. To read about, and view video footage of, President Obama's announcement of these new regulations, go to: Read the regulations and fact sheets noting major changes at:

Access Board Recognizes Anniversary by Issuing Some New Guidelines and Proposing Updated Bus and Van Guidelines:
Since barriers to access stem not only from attitudes and practices but design as well, the ADA established accessibility requirements for buildings and transit systems. The U.S. Access Board is responsible for developing and keeping up to date the design requirements of the ADA, which apply to a wide range of facilities in the public and private sectors. The Board has issued new guidelines to address access to courthouses and prisons, children's environments and play areas, and various types of recreation facilities, such as swimming pools. Read more at:  The Board also published for public comment a proposal to update sections of its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles that cover access to new or remanufactured buses and vans. The proposed guidelines address new types of systems, such as bus rapid transit and low floor buses, and advances in technology like automation of announcements. They also include revisions to specifications covering vehicle ramp slopes, onboard circulation routes, wheelchair spaces, and security systems. Deadline for issuing comments is November 23rd. To read more and issue comments, go to:

Proposed Rules for Web Accessibility and Communication Services:
On the 20th anniversary, the Department of Justice announced plans to develop ADA regulations addressing the accessibility of websites, the provision of captioning and video description in movies shown in theaters, accessible equipment and furniture, and the ability of 9-1-1 centers to take text and video calls from individuals with disabilities.  These advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRMs) provide information on these issues and seek public comments, due in January, 2011.  To see copies of the ANPRMs, go to:

Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Celebrates Anniversary:
On Friday July 23rd, several ADA experts who played significant roles in passing the ADA gathered with Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, and others to commemorate the anniversary. Watch the video at:

Congressman with Quadriplegia Presides Over U.S. House on ADA Anniversary:
On July 26th, Rhode Island democratic representative, Jim Langevin, a quadriplegic who uses a wheelchair, presided over the House for the first time, a milestone that coincided with the 20th anniversary of the ADA. He used a newly installed mechanical lift system to gain access to the speaker's rostrum. Langevin said presiding over the House marks an important step for people with disabilities and he hopes it inspires others. Read more at:

New ADA Public Service Announcements Feature President Obama:
President Obama has joined the Ad Council and the American Association of People with Disabilities to launch a new series of television and radio public service advertisements (PSAs) both celebrating the progress made by the ADA and reminding us there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that Americans with disabilities have equal opportunity and full participation in society. To view the PSAs, go to:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Significant ADA Cases:
In honor of the ADA's 20th anniversary, and on the heels of its own 45th anniversary, the EEOC released a list of twenty significant ADA employment matters litigated or resolved by the EEOC on behalf of people with disabilities. cases from the past 20 years. According to EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien, "EEOC is proud of its 45-year history of advancing the goal of equal employment opportunity but must continue working to fulfill the mission of ending employment discrimination across the United States." To read about the twenty cases, go to:

Celebrating SHRM's Role with the ADA for 20 Years: 
The ADA required employers to make a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability unless it posed an undue hardship for the employer. For 20 years, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has been at the forefront of advocating for people with disabilities in the workplace. SHRM was involved in the early stages of ADA legislation, but its most important role was after the law was enacted by contributing its human resources expertise to influencing how the ADA's regulations were crafted, as well as assisting with the passage of the ADA Amendments Act in 2008. Read more about SHRM's long standing role and impact at:

Still Time to Join the 2010 by 2010 Campaign!
The National Network of ADA Centers is sponsoring a 2010 by 2010 campaign. We are asking people to sign a proclamation to promote accessibility for people with disabilities.  Many organizations have already signed the proclamation including Mayors, Governor's, Independent Living Centers, VR Agencies, individual advocates, and Businesses.  We would like to encourage you to get leaders in your community to sign on as well! For more information, and to see a current list of proclamation signees, go to:


What's New in Our Region:

DOJ Settles Voter Registration Case with New York State (NYS):
The Department of Justice has announced a court-approved consent decree resolving a 2004 lawsuit against NYS and its public university systems. The lawsuit alleged that the state violated the National Voter Registration Act when it failed to provide voter registration services at offices serving students with disabilities at state university and college campuses. By the start of this coming academic year, disability services offices at each public university and college campus in NY will provide voter registration services to students with disabilities. To read more, go to:

WAMC Radio Story Highlights Space Camp for Students Who Are Blind:
The latest addition to Albany NY-based WAMC's special radio series, "Access to Advancement: An Audio Exploration of the National Effort to Increase the Role of Women with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics", features Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCI-VIS), located at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama, that helps middle and high school students who are blind or who have low vision to learn about space and space-related technology. "Access to Advancement" is funded by the National Science Foundation's Research in Disabilities Education program to shed light on the opportunities for, and achievements of, women with disabilities in science fields. The series airs on WAMC's The Best of Our Knowledge and 51% radio programs and it is available via Flash Audio and transcript at


What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Sam's Club® Awards $350,000 to NOD, the National Organization on Disability:
Sam's Club, a division of Walmart, has awarded $350,000 to the National Organization on Disability (NOD) to support the organization's Bridges to Business initiative, which seeks to identify and understand the gaps limiting the employment of Americans with disabilities in the workplace. As a result of the funding, NOD and Sam's Club will create an employment consortium in Northwest Arkansas with the aim to engage local organizations, employers and service providers to establish best practices and increase the number of people with disabilities successfully participating in the workforce. Read more at:

ODEP Grants Available to Improvement Employment of People with Disabilities- Applications Due September 1st:
ODEP has announced the availability of about $2.3 million to fund up to four cooperative agreements in support of the Add Us In initiative. This initiative is designed to increase the ability of businesses owned or operated by minorities, LGBT individuals, and women to employ adults and students with disabilities. To learn more about expectations of grantees and the eligibility requirements, go to:

New Harris Poll Finds People with Disabilities Still Struggling:
A new survey sponsored by Kessler Foundation and National Organization on Disability finds the most Americans with disabilities are still struggling with many of the same lifestyle and economic issues they did 20 years ago. This survey reveals little or no substantial gains in 10 key indicators, with employment remaining the largest gap with only 21% of people with disabilities reporting being employed compared to 59% of people without disabilities. Rodger DeRose, President & CEO of Kessler Foundation, says the stark survey results must be a call to action, "While it's important to celebrate the ADA...let's not pat ourselves on the back when so much work clearly remains". To read more, go to:

Department of Labor Seeks Public Input to Strengthen Disability Regulations:
The DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is seeking input from the public on ways to strengthen its regulations requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to hire and advance qualified individuals with disabilities. In an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the agency invites the public to provide comment on topics such as what employment practices have been effective in improving employment of people with disabilities, what data is available that could be used, and how agreements between federal contractors and organizations that focus on employment of people with disabilities can be strengthened. Deadline for issuing comments is September 21st. To read more and learn how to issue comments, go to:

ODEP Releases Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood:
The Office of Disability Employment Policy has released a new toolkit to assist youth in strengthening some of the most fundamental skills essential for successfully managing their PAS: effective communication, working with others, time-management, and establishing professional relationships.  Whether moving from school or a home setting to work, college, or living on their own, transition-age youth with significant disabilities, and their families or friends, will benefit from the information and guidance offered by this toolkit as they navigate the complex world of PAS. Read more at:

Obama Administration to Offer $550 Million in Housing Assistance:
Thousands of senior citizens and persons with disabilities will soon be able to find affordable housing, thanks to more than $550 million in housing assistance provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funding will provide interest-free capital advances to non-profit developers so they can produce accessible housing, offer rental assistance, and provide supportive services for these populations, thereby providing persons with disabilities the opportunity to live independently in their communities. Read the press release at:

HUD Fair Housing Report Finds Disability Discrimination Tops Complaint List:
The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has released the Obama Administration's first annual report on the state of fair housing in America. The report shows that discrimination based on a person's disability status continues to account for the largest-single category of complaints. Of the 10,242 complaints filed with HUD and its fair housing partners during fiscal year 2009, 44 percent alleged disability discrimination followed by 31 percent based on race. Read more at:

Obama Signs Bill Ensuring Funding For Independent Living Centers:
President Obama signed legislation designed to close a funding loophole threatening the nation's independent living centers. The law comes in response to a funding disparity which emerged as a result of last year's stimulus package, leaving some independent living centers eligible for far more money in future years, while other centers would be underfunded. This legislation closes the gap, ensuring that stimulus dollars won't compromise future funding of the centers. Read more at:

Another Survey Assessing the Impact of the ADA 20 Years Later:
The Independent Living Research Utilization and the Health Information Sciences program at UTHealth have published the results of their recent survey assessing the ADA's impact. Nearly 900 people from all 50 states completed the survey. Overall 90% of the respondents believe the quality of life for people with disabilities has improved since the ADA but also stated there are still opportunities to be realized and challenges to overcome. A copy of the survey report is at:

Reports on Affirmative Action and Disability in the Federal Contractor Sector:
As part of its mission, the Office of Disability and Employment Policy contracted with Economic Systems, Inc. to assess existing affirmative action policies within Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Act to determine how Federal contractor affirmative action programs might be modernized to reduce the employment barriers for people and veterans with disabilities. To read the report findings, go to:

Opportunities for You!

Free Webinar on Disability Statistics on August 19th:
The Northeast ADA Center's next webinar, "Finding and Using Disability Statistics: Available Data, Reporting Issues, and Resources", will be August 19th from 1:00-2:30pm EDT. Disability statistics can be informative and useful for a variety of purposes including needs assessments, supporting legislation, promoting funding, and grant writing. However it can be difficult to find the reliable statistical  information you need. Facilitated by the Cornell University Employment & Disability Institute's William Erickson and Sukyeong Pi, this webinar will cover how to access disability statistics, strengths and weaknesses of the data sources, and other issues to consider when utilizing the statistics. To register, go to:

Dos Seminario sobre la ADA en Vieques y Culebra, Puerto Rico en Agosto:
Para beneficio de los residentes de las islas municipio Vieques y Culebra en Puerto Rico, el Northeast ADA Center y el Movimiento para el Alcance de Vida Independiente (MAVI) ofrecerán seminarios sobre la Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Los días serán el 18 de agosto en la Alcaldía de Vieques y el 24 de agosto en el Centro de Usos Múltiples de Culebra, en el horario de 9:00 am - 12:00 pm.  En estos seminarios se discutirán de forma general los 5 títulos de la ADA incluyendo los temas de: empleo, servicios públicos, servicios privados con acceso al público en general, telecomunicaciones y disposiciones misceláneas; así como los cambios introducidos por las enmiendas y regulaciones recientes.  Además, se detallarán cuales son las agencias federales encargadas de hacer valer cada una de estas áreas y como contactarlas, los asistentes también tendrán la oportunidad de hacer preguntas y aclarar sus dudas sobre esta importante legislación. Para registrarse en esta actividad, puede llamar al (787) 758 - 7901 o escribir a, a la Lcda. Yessica M. Guardiola, quién será la recurso de los seminarios como Especialista en Asistencia Técnica. 

Southwest Conference on Disability- Early Bird Registration Ends Sept. 6th:
The 2010 Southwest Conference on Disability will be October 6-8 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Early Bird registration rate is $190 for the entire conference and ends September 6th. For more information on conference events, the daily schedule, and how to register, go to:


See you in a few weeks!