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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

OPA News Release: [05/01/2003]
Contact Name: Michael Volpe
Phone Number: (202) 693-7880

Labor Department Hosts UK-US Seminar Seeking Exchange of Ideas on Improving Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao today urged an international audience of disability experts to “continue to bring focus and awareness to solutions that insure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities into the 21st century workforce.”

Secretary Chao told attendees to Pathways to Work in the 21st Century: A UK-US Seminar of Exchange, that the innovative programs and practices contained in President Bush's New Freedom Initiative should be a starting point for exchanging ideas to improve employment opportunities, transportation options and assistive technology systems for persons of all ages with disabilities. She added, “All of us have got to continue to work toward a world where all individuals are respected for who they are, celebrated for their abilities, and encouraged to realize their full potential and achieve their dreams.”

Secretary Chao welcomed the United Kingdom contingent, headed by Andrew Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Delegates to the seminar also heard from Deputy Labor Secretary D. Cameron Findlay and Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Assistant Secretary Roy Grizzard. ODEP is the nation’s first Assistant Secretary-led office that specifically addresses policies that impact upon the employment of people with disabilities. It acts as a catalyst to stimulate new ideas about employment through research and development, policy analysis, grant awards, technical assistance, and the promotion of effective business practices.

The three-day event, co-hosted by the US Labor Department and the UK Department for Work and Pensions, is designed to compare and exchange information about effective strategies and practices for increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Approximately 75 experts, including disability advocates, government officials, and employers, representing a variety of critical perspectives from the US and the UK were invited to attend the event. The two plenary and five breakout sessions will focus on such topics as “Filling the Jobs Gap; Universal Standards for Accessible Technology; Incentives to Work; and, Community-Based Solutions.” At the end of the seminar, attendees will tour a Job Link One-Stop Employment Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.