Some Signs of Progress

by Bill Norman on July 1, 2007 - 12:55pm

QUEST Vol. 14, No. 4


College students with disabilities who are about to enter the job market may be able to get their resumes included on a national database accessible to potential employers.

The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Defense Department. Each year, the program sends recruiters to college campuses to interview students with disabilities, then adds their names to the database.

Interested students should contact their campus disabilities coordinator for more details.

Another sign of greater employment access is Walgreens' jobs Web site that is fully accessible to people with sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities. The chain’s site uses photos, video, large-print text, audio messages and equipment friendly to those who use screen reader technology. Prospective employees can watch videos of Walgreens staff performing specific functions, to determine if they could function in those roles.

Awards to forward-thinking cities

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) awards cash prizes each year to cities that implement programs to provide full access to and participation in community activities for people with disabilities.

Last year, Chicago won for efforts that included a home modification program for low- to moderate-income households with residents who have disabilities. Berkeley, Calif., shared the honors for programs that included free and reduced-fare accessible taxi service to people with disabilities.

West Hollywood was an earlier winner, in part for its Carrier Alert program. Postal carriers notify the sheriff if a disabled person’s mail isn’t picked up routinely. The city also made arrangements with its trash hauler to offer free walk-out service for property owners who aren’t able to take their trash cans to the curb for weekly pick-up.

Guidelines and entry forms for the 2007 Accessible America competition will be available online near the end of July. Contact the National Organization on Disability at (202) 293-5960.

150-plus new civic access agreements

The U.S. Department of Justice has now signed agreements with more than 150 local governments in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to ensure that people with disabilities have equal opportunities to participate in civic life.

As part of Project Civic Access, DOJ examines government facilities to ensure they fully comply with ADA guidelines. In addition to pointing out deficiencies, PCA offers technical assistance to help cities and counties comply, and the nonadversarial relationship seems to be producing good results.

Remedies that local governments agreed to implement include modifications to parking areas, sidewalks, entryways, hallways, meeting rooms, restrooms, drinking fountains, telephones, 9-1-1 systems access, service counters and other building aspects.

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