ADA Minnesota Survey

Posted by on June 18, 2014
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25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted by on May 22, 2015
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unnamedOn July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities. This legislation established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. On July 26, 2015, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

The ADA has expanded opportunities for Americans with disabilities by reducing barriers and changing perceptions, and increasing full participation in community life. However, the full promise of the ADA will only be reached if we remain committed to continue our efforts to fully implement the ADA.

To commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, the Great Lakes ADA Center wants to learn how the Americans with Disabilities Act impacted the lives of people with disabilities and their family/friends. Please click on the following link to finish this statement


The ADA25 and Faith Initiative

Posted by on April 30, 2015
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The ADA25 and Faith Initiative:

The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition of the American Association of Persons with Disabilities and the National Collaborative on Faith and Disability have initiated the ADA25 and Faith Campaign to encourage faith communities and organizations to sponsor and join in celebrations and activities related to ADA25. Congregations can sign a Faith Community Proclamation developed in collaboration with the ADA National Network recommitting to the vision of the ADA as well as customize resources to educational and celebration events.  

Publicity is going out through religious organizations and networks but people with disabilities, families and disability organizations can also play a vital role by inviting their own faith community and/or  others in their community to participate.

Questions regarding this initiative can be directed to:

Bill Gaventa, or 732-718-5875

ADA Impact Survey

Posted by on April 27, 2015
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Please consider participating in the ADA impact survey at:!

Lex Frieden, the legendary key author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, needs help evaluating the impact of the landmark civil rights law.

Frieden, and the organization he works with, Independent Living Research Utilization, ILRU, have developed a 10-minute online survey. It collects the opinions of people with disabilities, advocates and interested parties nationwide in preparation for the 25th anniversary of the law’s signing.

According to ILRU, “The information gathered from this survey will help us 1) understand what aspects of society have become more accessible due to the ADA; 2) understand what areas of society still require further investigation and proposed solutions; and 3) to develop and improve the information, support, and guidance needed to help further the goals of the ADA. These findings will also provide the foundation for further research on the ADA and its impact on people with disabilities.”

They have received hundreds of responses, but they are urging more people all over the US to take the survey, particularly those in Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Puerto Rico.

Upcoming Webinar about Accessible Design

Posted by on April 09, 2015
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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards and planning Accessible Design in Device Demonstration and Display Rooms for Tech Act State Programs

Please join the Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the RESNA Catalyst Project and the Southwest ADA Center for a webinar on “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards and planning Accessible Design in Device Demonstration and Display Rooms for Tech Act State Programs” on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. eastern.

This webinar will provide a discussion on improving the quality of program accessibility for Tech Act State Device Demonstrations. The Maryland Technology Assistance Program model includes two demonstration sites and a descriptive on line device inventory. The program is working with the Montgomery County Public Libraries to increase statewide access to assistive technologies for people of all ages with disabilities.

To Register or for additional information visit:   
Sessions are presented via a fully accessible Blackboard Web Conferencing platform. For first time users it is recommended that you prepare your technology prior to the session. Captioning is also provided via the Blackboard Web Conferencing platform. Please visit the registration site for more information.

For more information about this platform visit:

You may receive CEUs for attending some webinar sessions. RESNA is an approved authorized provider for CEU credits by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). You can receive 0.1 CEUs for a 60 or 90 minute webinar. Contact Paul Galonsky via email at to apply for CEUs. There is a $16 fee to receive credits for each webinar.
We hope you will join us, Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

This webinar is a collaborative of the Southwest ADA Center, The RESNA Catalyst Project. The Great Lakes ADA Center and ADA National Network.

ADA Anniversary Tool Kit Website

Posted by on March 26, 2015
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Throughout the year and on the ADA Anniversary – July 26, celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in your workplaces, schools and communities. While much progress has been made, much remains to be done.

Explore the ADA Anniversary Tool Kit  at


Posted by on January 20, 2015
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We are pleased to announce that the ADA National Network is hosting the 19th annual ADA National Symposium on the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability issues. The Symposium will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from May 10 to 13, 2015.

The ADA Symposium includes up to date information regarding employment, communication, transportation, emergency preparedness, case law, regulatory updates for government and private entities and the latest on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

Hear from presenters representing various federal agencies including the Departments of Justice, Education, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Access Board.  This year there are break-out sessions on a wide-range of ADA related topics and online access to hand-outs from all sessions prior to the conference. You can view the Symposium Schedule and Agenda schedule of sessions and activities on-line.

The Great Lakes Center will continue our history of supporting participation and attendance from across our six state region.  To that end, we are making available a number of stipends in the amount of $650.00 to cover the cost of registration completed by March 20, 2015. (Recipients who fail to register by the March 20, 2015 deadline will forfeit their stipend).

Applications will only be accepted from individuals who reside in the Great Lakes Region (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, and WI).  This stipend is only valid for the 2015 Symposium and registration must be completed by March 20, 2015.

Applications will be accepted through January 30th, 2015.  Notification to recipients will be made by email within the first week of February to enable individuals to meet the early bird registration deadline of March 20, 2015.

Applications for the Application <> stipends can be completed on-line.  Questions regarding the Symposium and the stipend program should be directed to the Great Lakes Center at 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) between the hours of 8:00am-5:00pm Central Time or by email to

Stipend recipients are responsible for their own travel arrangements and travel costs.   The registration fee includes 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches plus a networking reception.  The 2015 Symposium will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.  Rooms are available at a discounted rate of $139.00 plus tax. Hotel information can be found Hotel Information on the Symposium Website.

Your point of view of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Posted by on November 24, 2014
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ADA 25 Years LogoWhat do you have to say about the ADA? Share your point of view!

In 2015, the Americans with Disabilities Act will reach a 25-year milestone of having become law. As part of an overall effort to describe the ADA’s role in Minnesota, we want to know the impact of it on your experience as an employer or as a person with a disability who is currently employed or seeking employment.

Be a part of the future of the ADA in MN:

Please respond by January 17, 2015!

More about the survey:

Minnesota State Council on Disability contracted with the Improve Group, an external research group from Saint Paul, to study what the employment landscape in Minnesota looks like now that ADA has been law for 25 years. We are asking employers and people with a disability who are employed or seeking employment to complete this survey to inform the public’s understanding of ADA’s impact. The survey asks about the following:

·         Familiarity with ADA and laws regarding employment of people with a disability

·         Opinions about ADA and experiences with employment, job-seeking, and hiring

·         Changes and experience with employers’ Human Resources

·         Best practices regarding employing people with disabilities

·         Basic demographics

We also ask that you share this survey with everyone you know. All opinions count.

You may also request a copy of the study’s final report!

We are excited to learn about your experience with ADA,


For a list of our partners in planning all 25th ADA events and activities, please click here.


Posted by on November 06, 2014
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In honor of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, MSCOD is sponsoring a poster contest and a video contest to capture what the ADA means to people around the state of Minnesota. We are now accepting entries!

Posters and videos submitted should creatively address the following question: “How has the ADA impacted society in general or your life in particular?”

Categories for Participation:

·        Students in grades K-4

·        Students in grades 5-8

·        Students in grades 9-12

·        Students in post-secondary education

·        Adults – Professional

·        Adults – Other

Don’t wait too long; all entries must be received by December 15, 2014. For a complete list of rules, go to the 25th Anniversary ADA Poster and Video Contests page. Good luck!


Were you or your organization instrumental in the passing of the ADA? Do you know someone who was? How has the ADA positively impacted your life? We want to hear your stories!

To tell us your story, or to let us know how you plan to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, contact David Shaw at We hope to hear from you!


MSCOD, in collaboration with The Improve Group, is preparing surveys and focus groups to measure what people know about the ADA and how it has impacted employment opportunities for people with disabilities. If you are a person with a disability who works or is looking for work, we would love to hear from you. We would also like to hear from employers about how the ADA has affected the hiring process.

Please contact Dillon Balthaser at if you would like to participate in the focus groups, but hurry, space is limited! If we are unable to schedule you into a focus group, we welcome you to take the survey.


·        Seeking national speakers for an ADA Policy Conference on July 9th, 2015

·        Finalizing details for the July 26th, 2015 ADA 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Minnesota History Center

·        Conducting the ADA survey

·        Creating an historical documentary with TPT about Minnesota’s implementation of the ADA

·        Poster and video contests



Please support our exciting projects as they develop. Volunteer with one of our committees and help plan our celebrations and other activities. Committees meet monthly. Please contact Andrew Mosca at 651-361-7803 or for more information about how to become involved.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turns 25 years old on July 26, 2015. The Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD) is planning a number of activities leading up to and marking this historic day.

The MSCOD ADA 25 year Anniversary Legacy Project seeks to preserve and raise awareness of Minnesota’s role in the development of the ADA as well as celebrate Minnesota’s disability cultures in tandem with the 25 year anniversary of the passage of the ADA.

For more information about the Legacy Fund visit

MSCOD’s Legacy Funds are administered by the Minnesota Humanities Center. Learn more about the Minnesota Humanities Center at

MSCOD’s 25th ADA Celebration Facebook Page

MSCOD’s 25th ADA Celebration Twitter Feed

MSCOD’s 25th ADA Celebration Page

Government sues Honeywell over wellness program

Posted by on October 31, 2014
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The Minneapolis Star Tribune

October 29, 2014

Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune

Federal officials are challenging new benefit rules at Honeywell Inc. that create monetary penalties unless employees and spouses take medical tests.

A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in response to complaints from two Minnesota employees sets up a potential court case over how far employers can go to shift health costs and influence worker behavior. Honeywell is a major employer in the Kansas City area.

The agency said in the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, that new health screening and penalties at Honeywell violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

“Employees will be penalized if they or their spouses do not take the biometric tests,” the complaint said.

In response to the suit, Honeywell said its screening program is designed to encourage employees to live more healthfully and thereby create lower health care costs for themselves and the company. The company said the program complies with health care-related laws, including the Affordable Care Act.

The EEOC has requested a temporary injunction to stop the employee testing, which was scheduled to begin last week at various sites across the country.

Like other companies, New Jersey-based Honeywell embraced the so-called wellness movement to prod employees into better shape and to lower health care-related costs.

The EEOC said that Honeywell’s new program creates up to $4,000 in penalties for employees unless they and their spouses take blood and medical tests that can identify smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and other health problems. They include the loss of $1,500 in company contributions to health savings accounts, a $500 medical plan surcharge, a $1,000 tobacco surcharge and a $1,000 spousal tobacco surcharge.

The suit is the third one in three months that the EEOC has filed accusing companies of setting up “involuntary” employee medical or wellness programs, said Laurie Vasichek, an attorney for the agency. Honeywell’s tests and threatened penalties go too far because they are not job-related and are not consistent with any business necessity, she said.

“The thing that is important about these cases is not that they are wellness or health programs, but that the company is requiring testing and asking disability questions when it’s not job-related,” Vasichek said. “They can only do that in situations where it’s voluntary for the employee to answer.”

According to the lawsuit, Honeywell announced the new biometric testing program in August and September. The agency received complaints and subsequently asked the company to drop penalties for employees who don’t submit to the tests. Honeywell didn’t agree to that, according to the suit.

In a statement, Honeywell denied any wrongdoing and said the screening and wellness program “are in strict compliance with both HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act’s guidelines.”

The company also said, “The Chicago EEOC office is unfamiliar with the details of our wellness programs and woefully out of step with the health care marketplace and with the core intent of the ACA to provide expanded access and improved health care to all Americans. The incentives in our wellness programs are pro consumer and have delivered demonstrably better health care outcomes for employees and their families.”


Op-Ed: “Communication technology opens ‘doors’ for everyone, not only people with disabilities”

Posted by on October 20, 2014
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The Hill
October 13, 2014

Communication technology opens ‘doors’ for everyone, not only people with disabilities

By John D. Kemp and Brandon M. Macsata

Today, most Americans overlook improvements made since the dawn of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in 1990. Sidewalk ramps…automatic door openers…adjustable vanity mirrors…and automatic lighting and fixture controls were all designed to help make the “physical” world more accessible for and useable by all people, including individuals with disabilities. Now, isn’t it time we opened doors to the “virtual” world, and information and communication technology (“ICT”)?

Since 1998, federal agencies have been required by law to make their electronic ICT accessible to people with disabilities. Better known as “Section 508” (of the Rehabilitation Act), it mandates “individuals with disabilities who are Federal employees to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities.” [1]

Accessible ICT is an evolving process, evidenced by the United States Access Board, which monitors Section 508 compliance, updating its standards, as well as other telecommunications accessibility guidelines. The House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman, Darrell Issa, has introduced legislation calling for the designation of the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in all federal Departments, including significant changes to the management of information technology. This legislation passed the House of Representatives by voice vote, with similar legislation pending in the Senate.

Congress is currently faced with countless legislative proposals focusing on IT, ranging from healthcare, Veterans benefits, telecommunications and education, to name a few. But more needs to be done in both the public and private sectors. Wall Street and Main Street are both being re-defined by technology. The potential for our emerging “digital economy” is endless, if that technology is made more accessible. Consider this: CTIA recently reported that the mobile data traffic more than doubled last year! [2] We know that people with disabilities are yearning to leverage accessible technologies in their everyday lives. Whereas there have been many improvement in accessibility features on smart phones and mobiles devices, there is a still a long way to go. A recent report, authored by Nirmita Narasimhan, Program Manager at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), and Axel Leblois, founder and Executive Director of G3ict, summarized the challenge:

“Senior citizens and people with physical or mental disabilities are often unable to access mobile phones because the equipment lacks the necessary accessibility features or because the price of the adapted phones and services remain unaffordable. Considering that 15 per cent of the world’s population, or over one billion people, have a disability that affects their access to modern communications, the commercial opportunities for mobile service providers, manufacturers and smart phone application developers are consequently substantial.” With so much of our daily lives dependent on mobile devices and the Internet, it is time that we ushered in an “accessible technology renaissance.”[3]

Aside from being the “socially responsible” thing to do, it also makes good business sense! In the first quarter of 2013, e-commerce expenditures reached 50.18 billion U.S. dollars.[4] Worldwide, it is estimated that the total value of e-commerce revenue topped $1.2 trillion in U.S. dollars.[5]

Maybe the more pertinent question to ask is, “How can we NOT afford to make ICT more accessible for people with disabilities?”

Ironically, despite its increasing relevance in our everyday lives, the World Wide Web is largely inaccessible for people with disabilities. Many websites are lacking “ALT Tags,” which are designed to help screen readers used by people who are blind or visually impaired identify and explain images, graphs and charts. Yet, missing ALT Tags are only the tip of the iceberg.

Last year, Walmart had over 59 million unique monthly visitors to its websites. As large as that number may seem, it pales in comparison to Amazon and Ebay, with 149 million and 91 million monthly unique visitors, respectively.[6] These companies, and many more – such as Deque, IBM and Microsoft – are investing in accessible ICT because they understand its inherent business and social value.

Ironically, just as people without disabilities benefit from physical accessibility improvements, they are already benefitting from accessible ICT. According to the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom), 80 percent of people using closed captions are not deaf or hard of hearing.[7]

What is accessible technology renaissance? It is one whereby we envision every single individual, regardless of disability, can fully access the modern marvels of technology. Technology is what drives our economy. Technology is what links our communities. Technology is what keeps us connected to the world around us. That is why it should be accessible to everyone.

[1] Section 508 Of The Rehabilitation Act. Section508.gov

[2] Mobile Data Traffic More Than Doubled Last Year, According to CTIA. Roll Call TechnoCRAT. June 17, 2014.

[3] Making mobile phones and services accessible for persons with disabilities. A joint report of ITU – The International Telecommunication Union and G3ict – The global initiative for inclusive ICTs. August 2012.

[4] Statistics 2013. E-Commerce Revenues. September 20, 2013.

[5] Statistics 2013. E-Commerce Revenues. September 20, 2013.

[6] Statistics 2013, E-Commerce Revenues, September 20, 2013.

[7] Did You Know? 80 Percent of People Who Use Closed Captions Are Not Hard of Hearing. CaptionsforYouTube. June 6, 2014.

Kemp is president and CEO of The Viscardi Center, and Macsata is general consultant of the National Business and Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center.