WASHINGTON — In honor of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez released the following statement:
"A quarter century after its passage, the Americans with Disabilities Act remains one of the most far-reaching and ground-breaking civil rights laws in American history. The ADA has opened doors — literally and figuratively — for millions. It has leveled the playing field for people with disabilities in nearly every facet of their lives — at home, at work, at school and at play. It has given them the dignity of equal treatment and fair accommodations. It has allowed so many of our friends, neighbors and family members to come out of the shadows and realize their dreams. By changing the law, the ADA has also changed hearts and minds. It has revolutionized the way society thinks about people with disabilities.
"This anniversary is an opportunity both for reflection and renewal. While we celebrate the courage of the trailblazers who made the ADA possible and mark the momentous progress of the last 25 years, we must also be resolute about meeting the challenges that remain. Employment remains the unfinished business of the ADA. With labor force participation of people with disabilities hovering around 20 percent, we still have our work cut out for us. People with disabilities can work and want to work, just like everyone else. As a matter of basic fairness, but also to keep our economy strong, we need more of them on the job. The nation is strongest when we field a full team, when we embrace the contributions of every one of our people. We don't have a person to spare in America.
"Through the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Labor Department works every day to help people with disabilities prepare for, find and retain rewarding careers across every industry. In partnership with advocates, employers, people with disabilities and other stakeholders, we must redouble our efforts and step up our commitment. Working together, we can make the next 25 years of the ADA an even greater success."