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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 13, 1998
                          PRESIDENT CLINTON 

The President today signed an Executive Order establishing a National Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities that will create a coordinated and aggressive national policy to bring workingage individuals with disabilities into gainful employment at a rate approaching that of the general adult population.

"Since 1993, we have created 15 million new jobs. But the unemployment rate among people with disabilities is far too high, and that is why I'm so pleased to sign today an executive order that will design a strategy to make equality of opportunity, full participation, inclusion, and economic self-sufficiency realities for all 30 million working-age Americans with disabilities," declared President Clinton.

Charged with developing and recommending to the President a federal policy to reduce employment barriers for persons with disabilities, the Task Force will submit four reports, the first by November 15, 1998, and the last on July 26, 2002, the 10th anniversary of the initial implementation of the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Alexis M. Herman, Secretary of Labor, will Chair the Task Force. Tony Coelho, Chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, will serve as Vice-Chair.

Key components of the Task Force's directive include analyzing existing programs and policies to determine what changes, modifications and innovations may be necessary to remove barriers to work; developing and recommending options to address the barrier of health insurance coverage; analyzing youth programs related to employment and the outcomes of those programs for young people with disabilities; and evaluating whether federal studies related to employment and training can and should include a statistically significant sample of adults with disabilities.

The Task Force also will include the Secretary of Education; the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs; the Secretary of Health and Human Services; the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration; the Secretary of the Treasury; the Secretary of Commerce; the Secretary of Transportation; the Administrator of the Small Business Administration; the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and the Chair of the National Council on Disability. These officials are required to make the activities and initiatives of this Executive Order a high priority within their respective agencies.