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A Progress Report on Fulfilling America's Promise to Americans with Disabilities

Chapter 3. Integrating Americans with Disabilities into the Workforce

Employment is a key to independence, empowerment, and improved quality of life. To help increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, the Administration supports a strategy that includes simultaneous improvements in training, creative job accommodations such as teleworking, accessible transportation, and employer education.

Expanding Telecommuting

Telecommuting is increasing in the private and public sectors. The International Telework Association & Council 2001 Annual Survey found that there were 28.8 million teleworkers, an increase of almost 17 percent over the previous year. The Office of Personnel Management found a 39.5 percent increase in the number of reported Federal teleworkers over seven months, based on a 2001 evaluation. For individuals with disabilities, teleworking can expand the universe of potential and accessible employment. New Freedom Initiative proposals will encourage more employers to provide computer equipment and Internet access for teleworking and to provide support so that employees with disabilities have greater options to benefit from teleworking’s flexibility.


Next Steps

Swift Implementation of "Ticket to Work"

The landmark Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA) provides incentives to work for the more than 7.5 million Americans with disabilities receiving benefits under Federal disability programs. Prior to the "Ticket to Work" law, recipients of disability income and health benefits could not engage in any substantial work without losing their benefits, a consequence that contributed to a dismal employment rate for people with disabilities. As part of the New Freedom Initiative, the President is committed to ensuring the Act’s swift implementation and to breaking the pattern of dependence.

Accomplishments and Next Steps

Full Enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

President Bush believes that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been an invaluable tool in the movement toward full integration of individuals with disabilities, but recognizes that there is still much more to be done. The President is committed to further integrating individuals with disabilities into the workforce by encouraging ADA Title I-exempt businesses, which are those with fewer than 15 employees, to comply with the ADA. ADA-exempt businesses that make voluntary accommodations reap bottom-line benefits by reaching new customers and talented employees who would otherwise be excluded.


Administration Accomplishments

Innovative Transportation Solutions

Inadequate transportation inhibits employment for all people, but is an even greater barrier to people with disabilities. New Freedom Initiative policies seek to test new transportation ideas and develop partnerships to increase access to alternate means of transportation, such as vans with specialty lifts, modified automobiles, and ride-share programs for those who cannot get to buses or other forms of mass transit.

Direct infusion of funding into transportation programs will benefit local economies. Cambridge Systematics, Inc., reports in "Public Transportation and the Nation's Economy" that businesses and local communities have benefited from transit operations spending, with a $32 million increase in business sales and an additional 570 jobs for each $10 million in public transportation investments.


Administration Transportation Accomplishments

Next Steps

Providing Employment Training and Supports

General Employment Accomplishments

General Employment Next Steps

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