As mentioned earlier this week, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law to protect people who have a disability from discrimination in areas of employment, public services, public accommodations and telecommunications.
Although ADA has made significant strides in improving public and private accommodations, transportation, and most importantly awareness; what other impact has ADA had on people?
According to a nonscientific survey of 870 disability community leaders in the Continental United States, Doctor Lex Frieden, distinguished policy expert and disability rights activist, confirms the greatest impact the ADA has had is on:
• access to public accommodations
• disability awareness and,
• access to transportation
Unfortunately, according to the same informal survey, leading the pack of categories that ADA impacted the least was in areas of employment.
In fact, respondents to the survey view employment as the most important category for ADA to contend with in the next ten years. Based on the findings of Doctor Friedman’s survey, quality employment is crucial to the lives of nearly everyone.
On the other hand, according to Bobby Silverstein, ADA was intended to give employees with a disability an equal opportunity for employment; not necessarily to bolster the numbers. Mr. Silverstein is one architect of the ADA and contends that employers will follow the lead of business community leaders as they embrace the act of diversifying their workforce by including more of those with a disability in their ranks.1
Overall, ADA sets a foundation that both employers and employees can work with. Employees have opportunities afforded by equality protections while employers have the opportunity to tap into the wealth of benefits that can be brought about through diversification.
1Interview with an Architect of the ADA: Bobby Silverstein. EARN Staff. Retrieved from http://askearn.org/exchange/interview-with-an-architect-of-the-ada-bobby-silverstein/
David Spears is a member of the Workforce SolutionsNavigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.