Archive for Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Disability employment awareness

October 31, 2007

To the editor,

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, one positive change has been that it is more common to encounter people with disabilities in the workplace. However, there are many more Kansans with disabilities who can -- and want -- to work.

One common misconception is that workplace accommodations for people with disabilities are costly for employers. According to W. Roy Grizzard, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, however, "almost half of the accommodations ... needed actually cost nothing, and those accommodations that do ... typically cost [only] $600."

The aim of the Client Assistance Program (CAP) administered by Disability Rights Center of Kansas is to help people with disabilities overcome difficulties receiving services under the Rehabilitation Act. These services include vocational rehabilitation services, which help individuals with disabilities prepare for the job of their choice, maximize the working potential, or maintain their independence.

CAP plays an important role in helping individuals with disabilities return to work by assisting in obtaining vocational rehabilitation services. The services provided by CAP are especially important given the number of returning soldiers with acquired disabilities who require assistance under the Rehabilitation Act in addition to the supports provided by the Veterans Administration.

It is our hope that National Disability Employment Awareness Month provides not only the opportunity to dispel myths and fears about people with disabilities in the workplace, but also empowers people with disabilities to maximize their potential in preparing for, obtaining, and retaining the job of their choice.

DRC can provide legally based advocacy services to help people with disabilities break down barriers to employment. For more information, please contact the Disability Rights Center at (877) 776-1541 or 877-335-3725 (TTD).

Rocky Nichols

Executive director, Disability Rights Center of Kansas

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