NEXT STOP ON PRESIDENT CLINTON'S "DIGITAL DIVIDE" TRIP:
DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES
September 21, 2000
TODAY, PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL CONTINUE HIS "DIGITAL DIVIDE" TRIP INFLINT, MICHIGAN, WITH A FOCUS ON CREATING DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY FOR
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES: President Clinton will visit Flint,
Michigan, as part of his ongoing initiative to bridge the digital
divide and create digital opportunity for all Americans. The President
will visit a Community Technology Center that will offer access to
cutting-edge technology for people with disabilities and other members
of the community. He will see demonstrations of advanced technologies
such as an "Eyegaze System" that allows people with disabilities to
operate a computer and send e-mail using only their eyes; an online
physics course that is accessible to people with disabilities; and
electronic talking books that are accessible to people with
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL MAKE ANNOUNCEMENTS AS PART OF 5 KEY GOALS TO
EMPOWER AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE INFORMATION AGE: At a speech
at Mott Community College, the President will announce concrete actions
by the Administration, companies, universities and non-profits to help
ensure that people with disabilities are full participants in the
Information Age by:
1. Increasing the accessibility and usability of existing information
and communication products and services for people with disabilities;
2. Improving the state-of-the-art of assistive technology;
3. Ensuring that existing efforts to bridge the digital divide and
create digital opportunity are accessible to people with disabilities;
4. Using information technologies to increase employment opportunities
for people with disabilities; and
5. Increasing access to technologies for people with disabilities who
cannot currently afford it.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESSIBLE TECHNOLOGIES:
Ensuring that information and communications technologies are usable by
the 54 million Americans with disabilities is critical, since it can
increase their ability to participate in the workforce, allow them to
gain new skills using online learning, and improve their quality of
-- Only 23.9 percent of people with disabilities had access to a
computer at home, compared to 51.7 percent of those without disabilities
(Department of Education, July 2000)
-- Only 31 percent of Americans with so-called "severe" disabilities are
working (Census Bureau, June 2000)
-- 48 percent of adults with disabilities believe that the Internet has
significantly improved their quality of life, compared to just 27
percent of adults without disabilities (Harris Poll, June 2000)
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL ANNOUNCE COMMITMENTS BY GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATESECTOR TO CREATE "DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY" FOR AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES
CEOs of over 45 high-tech companies -- including AOL,
Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems -- will pledge to adopt
"best practices" on accessibility, such as training their workers to
develop accessible products and services, and identifying and fixing
accessibility problems in new versions of their hardware and software.
Presidents of 25 of the nation's top research universities will agree
to expand research and education on accessibility.
SmartForce, an e-learning company, will provide $20 million worth of
free access to its online training material to at least 5,000 people
with disabilities per year for the next three years.
President Clinton will create a task force to examine
Medicare/Medicaid coverage of assistive technology.
Americorps will provide $9 million in grants to support 1,200
AmeriCorps volunteers to help close the digital divide, including
projects that help people with disabilities.
The President will call on Congress to reauthorize AmeriCorps and
include an "E-Corps" dedicated to bridging the digital divide.
The Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and
Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) will provide over $16 million in grants
to promote the accessible information technology through research and
- $2.5 million, 5-year grant to the Web Accessibility Initiative to
help ensure that the Web is accessible to people with disabilities;
- $7.5 million, 5-year grant to Georgia Tech for a new center on
- $3.8 million to expand or create loan programs for assistive
technology in six states;
- $2.8 million, 4-year grant for a University of Kentucky institute to
conduct research on assistive technology for children
The Department of Education will provide $1.8 million for an
initiative by the National Center for Accessible Media and industry to
develop standards for accessible online learning.
The Mott Foundation will help establish a blue-ribbon commission to
develop additional policy recommendations for expanding access to
Microsoft, Community Options, and other partners will create a New
Jersey-based business incubator with an emphasis on the needs of
entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Sun Microsystems will create a lab to make free, "open source"
desktop software accessible for people with disabilities.
The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
will expand its High School High Tech program to 4 new cities and 3 new
states, including Michigan. This program allows students with
disabilities to explore high-tech careers through site visits, mentoring
The Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunity Program will
award a grant that will help small community-based organizations provide
Web-based services to people with disabilities.
CompTIA will partner with Compaq and the National Cristina Foundation
to provide scholarships and training for certification, with some
resources targeted to people with disabilities.