July 26th Is About… 
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July 26th Is About…

Thursday July 23rd, 2015
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July 26th Is About…

July 26th Is About…

Thursday July 23rd, 2015 / 0 Comments

2015 is the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA. We will be posting 25 posts over the course of 2015 which will focus on the ADA- how it has changed society and what still needs to be done. Our goal is to cover for you, dear reader, as many different angles and issues as possible. Below is the ninth post in our #ADA25For25 series. The most recent post was Striving to Work. 

(Credit:  Jason Dixson Photography)

(Credit: Jason Dixson Photography)

By: Michael Morris

The signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): July 26, 1990 – do you remember where you were? Remember the enthusiasm and the sense of empowerment?

Nearly 25 years later, July 26th is about more than celebration and the power of collaboration. It’s about you, your organization, your agency, your financial institution, your corporation, your community, your state and our nation.

Twenty-five years after ADA, persistent barriers to economic self-sufficiency and financial inclusion for people with disabilities remain. Equal opportunity must include options to build the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed financial decisions, access to financial education and coaching, affordable and accessible financial services and products, inclusion in career pathways, and the ability to save, build assets and be a vital part of the economic mainstream.

While more progress needs to be made, there is no doubt much has changed since ADA’s enactment. Prior to ADA, a majority of Americans questioned persons with disabilities’ ability to work. Not to mention, there was no focus or discussion on best practices and strategies to advance the financial capacity and capability of individuals with disabilities. Over the course of the last quarter century, as a result of ADA, there is a greater emphasis on not just persons with disabilities’ ability to work, but on the advancement of economic self-sufficiency by numerous federal agencies and nonprofits. Moreover, just last year, Congress passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the first major legislative reform of the public workforce system in more than 15 years. Among WIOA’s numerous provisions is heavy emphasis on the promotion and active engagement of financial literacy among youth and adults with and without disabilities. Even more recently, the latest employment statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate for people with disabilities dropped 3.4 percent since June 2014. Certainly welcome news.

Achieving financial inclusion

NDI Manager of Financial Empowerment Michael Roush leads a financial training course for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participants are encouraged to identify their American Dream and, through hands-on training, are equipped with the needed tools and skills to make their dreams a reality.

Here at National Disability Institute, we are working hard with our partners across the country to create a world where all people with disabilities have the same opportunity to achieve financial stability and security as those without disabilities. In that spirit, July 26th – and by extension – the entire month of July is about connecting nonprofit and financial institution leaders, policy makers, employers, self-advocates and family members to help design an action-oriented post-ADA@25 agenda. I invite YOU to join us, along with the numerous like-minded individuals and organizations, to fulfill the promise of the ADA and to bring people with disabilities more fully into the financial mainstream and advance their “economic self-sufficiency.” For starters you can ‘PLEDGE ON! to the ADA,’ and become a part of the nationwide celebration and recommitment to the ADA.

Want to take it a step further?

  • Contact your local, state and federal officials on the issues that matter most to you: self-advocacy is powerful. You can make change happen.
  • Take greater control of your finances and financial future: a great place to start is mymoney.gov
  • Use “people first” language: emphasize the individual over the disability.
  • Look beyond one’s “disability”: challenge preconceived notions and expectations.

[bctt tweet=”25 years after ADA, barriers to economic self-sufficiency remain for people w/ #disabilities, via @RudermanFdn ” via=”no”]
Join with us in the conversation
and connect the threads of possibilities, the declarations of intentions and the promises of commitment. ADA set the framework of civil rights and full citizenship. Only together can we continue to design the curb cuts necessary to create more inclusive communities. Together, we can build on that framework to ensure the inclusion of all people with disabilities in our communities.  

What else can you do to make it happen?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Morris, J.D. is the Founder and Executive Director of National Disability Institute. Morris is a recognized national leader on disability public policy regarding workforce and community development, tax and social and economic security. As the first Kennedy Foundation Public Policy Fellow, and as a former legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy, and Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Morris is adept at complex program design and model development with engagement of public and private sector agencies/organizations to transform thinking and behavior concerning financial empowerment for economically vulnerable populations. Morris received his undergraduate degree in political science with honors from Case Western Reserve University and his law degree from Emory University School of Law

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