On July 26, 2019, the United States will mark the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the primary civil rights law protecting the rights of disabled Americans and one of the most comprehensive pieces of disability non-discrimination law in the world. AFB celebrates the tremendous progress our society has made toward equity in the past 29 years, but we also recognize that many barriers still remain.
One of the primary focus areas of the ADA is employment. Title 1 assures that people with disabilities have the same access to employment opportunities as people without disabilities. Today, people with disabilities are succeeding in all sectors of the workforce and therefore have more economic stability, social influence, and political empowerment than ever before.
However, according to the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is double that of people without them. Students with disabilities are often not held to high expectations in school and aren’t prepared for higher education and the workforce. There continues to be widespread discrimination and misconceptions among employers about the capacity of disabled job applicants. Lack of affordable, efficient transportation options in many places prohibits people who can’t drive from retaining employment.
AFB is committed to carrying out the promise of the ADA. We are working to ensure that all blind and low vision students receive both the academic skills and additional skills related to blindness, such as braille and adaptive technology, that they need to be competitive in today’s workforce. We are committed to ensuring that people with vision loss have access to more and better job opportunities, that they have the technology they need to do those jobs well, and the transportation they need to retain employment and be active in their communities.
On the anniversary of this historic piece of legislation, we at AFB invite you to join us in renewing your commitment to creating a fair, equitable world for all. Here are just a few of the ways you can take action.