>This law provides federal funding to state programs that aid people with disabilities and provides access to technology and services that assist in gaining full employment. The goal of the AT Act is to ensure that people have access to the technology they need to fully participate in schools and workplaces, SHRM said.
>Although improvements have been made in incorporating more individuals with disabilities into the workplace, the proportion of individuals with disabilities in the American workforce remains very small, according to a SHRM news release. There are 54 million individuals with disabilities and 70% of that group does not have a job. That’s why an important component to the AT Act is the effort to promote public awareness about services available to employers and employees.
>Federal funding for AT is provided via state grants that fund access to technology programs, research and development projects, information-system improvements, and educational efforts on what is available and how to use AT, SHRM said. These programs were first established in 1988 and reauthorized in 1998. Funding for the AT state projects was due to expire this year.
>Reauthorization of the AT Act was initiated in the US Senate by Senators Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and in the US House by Representatives Howard McKeon (R-California), John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Dale Kildee (D-Minnesota).
>To access information on an AT project in the
various states, visit
To access the federal government’s New Freedom Initiative for American’s with Disabilities, visit: www.disabilityinfo.gov .