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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [07/26/2010]
Contact Name: Clarisse Young or Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-5051 or x4667
Release Number: 10-1062-NAT

Statement by US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act:

"Twenty years ago today, the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act transformed our nation's disability policy and made a strong statement about the value of diversity and inclusion.

"In the years that have passed this landmark legislation has fundamentally altered the landscape of employment, government services, businesses, public areas, transportation, and many other avenues of modern life – opening access for those with disabilities in the process.

"The ADA's 20th anniversary provides a unique opportunity for the Department of Labor to reaffirm its commitment to the ADA's principles of equality, access, and inclusion; and to recommit itself to ensuring that the goal of good and safe jobs for everyone includes workers with disabilities.

"According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, just one in five people with disabilities were in the labor force and the unemployment rate for those with disabilities remains much higher than the national average.

"Last week, the Department of Labor published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking inviting the public to assist in the revision of the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and strengthen disability regulations related to federal contractors. We are seeking input from the public on ways to strengthen regulations requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.

"The Department of Labor offers additional resources and support to all Americans with disabilities. Our Office of Disability Employment Policy provides national leadership on disability employment policy and practices, collaborative partnerships and delivering credible data on employment of people with disabilities.

"We also provide support for programs such as www.disability.gov, the America's Heroes at Work and the National Resource Directory by providing employment support to wounded warriors and veterans with disabilities, as well as funding for the Job Accommodation Network — the nation's leading resource for workplace related accommodations. Also, our one-stop career centers work tirelessly to support individuals with disabilities by connecting them to employment.

"Access to fair employment is a fundamental right of every American and people with disabilities are an integral part of the 21st Century workforce."