PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE WORKING ON BEHALF OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT A GLANCE July 26, 2000
Creating the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities - Two years ago, President Clinton created the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities, chaired by Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, and charged the Task Force with developing a coordinated and aggressive national policy to bring adults with disabilities into gainful employment at a rate that is as close as possible to that of the general adult population. The heads of 18 cabinet and sub-cabinet agencies sit on the Task Force, and President Clinton and Vice President Gore have given its work the highest priority through accepting all the recommendations in the first and second reports from the Task Force.
Signing the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (TWWIIA) - President Clinton supported and signed this landmark legislation, which creates two new options for states to offer the Medicaid buy-in for workers with disabilities and provides $150 million in grants to encourage states to take this option; creates a new $250 million Medicaid buy-in demonstration to help people whose disability is not yet so severe that they cannot work; extends Medicare coverage for an additional four-and-a-half years for people in the disability insurance system who return to work; and enhances employment-related services for individuals with disabilities through the new "Ticket to Work" Program.
Signing the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 - President Clinton signed WIA, which provides the framework for a unique national workforce preparation and employment system designed to meet both the needs of the nation's businesses and the needs of job seekers and those who want to further their careers. It also included reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, adding stronger linkages between the vocational rehabilitation system and the general workforce development system so that people with disabilities have increased employment training and job options. Changes to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act also strengthened the obligations of Federal agencies to provide accessible information technology to their employees and customers, thus leveraging the Federal government's considerable purchasing power to encourage private industry to develop universally designed technology that is accessible to almost everyone.
Ensuring a Quality Education for Children with Disabilities - In 1997, President Clinton enacted an improved and stronger Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The new law focused attention not merely on ensuring access to public schools for the nation's six million students with disabilities, but also on ensuring that these students are held to the same high standards as their peers. Today, state grants to support IDEA implementation have increased by 143 percent and record numbers of students with disabilities are now learning alongside non-disabled students in thousands of classrooms across the nation.
Making the Federal Government a Model Employer - President Clinton directed Federal agencies to increase efforts to recruit and hire people with disabilities. In response, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued "Accessing Opportunity: The Plan for Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Government" to serve as a framework for Federal departments and agencies to use in creating strategies and initiatives to recruit, hire, develop, and retain more persons with disabilities. President Clinton also signed an Executive Order ensuring that individuals with psychiatric disabilities are given the same Federal hiring opportunities as persons with significant disabilities and mental retardation. Furthermore, the President directed OPM to make mental health coverage more affordable and accessible for all Federal employees by ensuring that by 2001 Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) plans provide coverage for clinically proven treatments for mental illness and substance abuse in a manner identical to coverage for other medical conditions.
# # #