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Celebrating the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 2011 - 4:54pm

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This day in history - in 1990 to be exact - the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. This civil rights legislation helps ensure that all citizens, regardless of disability, have the same rights and privileges as all other Americans.

We are actively working to make the Energy Department a welcoming place to work. Our disability coordinator in the Office of the Chief Human Capital Office is on hand to make sure we are a model employer for individuals with disabilities, that we're responding to the needs of our employees with disabilities, and that we're addressing Equal Employment Opportunity discrimination complaints quickly and effectively under the law.

“The promise of the ADA was that all Americans should have equal access and equal opportunity, including Americans with disabilities,” said President Obama in a statement today. “The ADA was about independence and the freedom to make of our lives what we will. We celebrate that today, and we recommit ourselves to ending discrimination in all its forms.”

In the Obama Administration's statement today, we announced new efforts that will continue to support increased employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and will also help make the government more open and accessible. Specifically, the Administration is working to release a draft comprehensive strategic plan to improve compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to individuals with disabilities, including employees and members of the public.

This strategic plan will ensure federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities, both inside and outside the government. Here at the Energy Department, we're integrating these principles into our website. As our Director of New Media and Citizen Engagement, Cammie Croft, said in a blog earlier this year, "Our vision is to turn Energy.gov into a cutting-edge, 21st century, interactive information platform that delivers resources and services to you whenever and wherever you want it while also empowering Energy Department staff with simple tools and guidance to engage with you and also each other." This information platform will provide for a more integrated approach to 508-compliance, such as full video transcripts and easy to use download pages with machine-readable documents.

Today, the Department reaffirms the vision and responsibilities of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information about the work of our Office of Civil Rights, visit www.diversity.energy.gov.

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