Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Technology Can Help People with Disabilities

At EmpowerTech, our mission is to educate, train, support, and empower people with physical and developmental disabilities through assistive technology (AT). Our TRADE Program's main goal is to instruct people with disabilities how to use technology and empower them to help find employment. We have found a great article that demonstrates just how beneficial technology can be for people with disabilities.


"With technology, people with disabilities, many who are unemployed or under-employed, can now take a job and be highly productive. After all, this group is an incredible adopter of technology because they depend on it for their livelihood...

All of this is positive for the future of work because people with disabilities add tremendous value to the workplace. People with disabilities are creative problem-solvers and technology adopters with fresh perspectives that organizations need.

Hiring people with disabilities enhances employee retention and engagement, as there are many job candidates with or without disabilities who want to work in holistically-diverse and socially conscious environments. We've found they have low rates of absenteeism and turnover, which reduces a company's recruitment and retention costs.

Hiring the disabled helps companies develop new products and services, expanding their customer base, which is increasingly filled with older people starting to encounter disability. All of this bodes well for the modern-day workplace.

I've said it before: If you want someone who thinks outside the box, hire someone who lives outside the box. So let "work speed up" begin for people with disabilities. With new technologies on the horizon, we can tap this underused talent pool and move our notion of how and where we work solidly into the 21st century."

Here is a link to our TRADE Program for more information:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

People with Disabilites and Voting

According to the article titled, "People with Disabilities and Voting," by experts Kay Schriner and Douglas Kruse, "more than 20,000 polling places across the nation are inaccessible, depriving people with disabilities of their fundamental right to vote."

EmpowerTech is helping people with disabilites get this right to vote back. That is why starting today, we here at EmpowerTech will be helping people with disabilities register to vote online.

Come visit us today, Wednesday, September 26 and every Wednesday until October 10 from 3:30-6:00 PM. (Please note that this is during our Free Open Access Lab).

9100 S. Sepulveda Suite 204
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 338-1597

Online Voter Registration At EmpowerTech

Yesterday I had the opportunity to chat awhile with one of our new students; I’ll call Willie, while he was waiting for his ride. Willie’s a 23 year old young man with Down Syndrome, with a smile that could light up the night sky and a sense of humanity that would make Mother Teresa proud. He told me he has 3 GOALS (notice the caps here) that he’s going to accomplish this year.

1. Graduate high school.
2. Graduate his TRADE program or “Eric’s Class” he so gently corrected me several times.
3. Vote!

This last goal was said with a sense of awe and determination like he and he alone was going to change the world on November 6. I think that many of us forget that voting is a privilege; I must tell you he reminded me of this yesterday. He knew not only whom he wanted for president but he also knew his local and state officials he was choosing to represent him. Now if this doesn’t impress you maybe this will; Willie also told me how he was going to vote on many of the Propositions that are on the ballot this year. He stated his reasons briefly but cogently with a nod a smile and the occasional fist pump. At one point he leaned closer to me, he was going to share a secret; “not everyone is going to vote that’s sad”. I am seldom at a loss for words, I’m also one to applaud other’s whenever applicable, but this time without trepidation I gave him a hug. He was right, that’s sad.

Many of us want to see change in the world and many of us, like Willie, are excited to vote in this year’s election. It’s true that a lot of people with disabilities vote but there countless people living with a disability that aren’t registered to vote. I for one along with several of our partners, want to change that.

It’s our privilege to announce that starting today Wednesday, September 26, between 3:30 and 6:00 and every Wednesday until October 10; we here at EmpowerTech will be helping people with disabilities register to vote online. (Please note that this is during our Free Open Access Lab).

Yes, we can change the world.

For more information please contact me at the number listed below.

***If you have a large group (30 or more) please let us know in advance so we can set up more stations

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Register to Vote

Register to vote at EmpowerTech every Wednesday between 3:30 and 6:00 until October 22, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Justice Department Settles with Pennsylvania School for $715,000 Over Exclusion of Child with HIV

Justice Department Settles with Pennsylvania School for $715,000 Over Exclusion of Child with HIV
The Justice Department announced today that it and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania have reached a settlement with the Milton Hershey School of Hershey, Pa., to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreement resolves allegations that the school violated the ADA by refusing to consider a child, known by the pseudonym Abraham Smith, for enrollment due to the fact that he has HIV.

Under the settlement agreement, the school is required to pay $700,000 to Smith and his mother, adopt and enforce a policy prohibiting discrimination and requiring equal opportunity for students with disabilities, including those with HIV, in the school’s programs and services, and to provide training to staff and administrators on the requirements of the ADA. T he school must also pay a $15,000 civil penalty to the United States.

“Children should not be denied educational opportunities simply because they have HIV,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This settlement sends a clear message that unlawful discrimination against persons with HIV or AIDS will not be tolerated.”

“This is a very significant case, affirming the rights of persons with HIV, and we applaud the school for working so cooperatively to amend its position on this matter,” said Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The ADA requires public accommodations, including private schools such as the Milton Hershey School, to provide individuals with disabilities, including people with HIV, equal access to goods, services, privileges, accommodations, facilities, advantages and accommodations.

The Department of Justice provides a webpage specifically dedicated to information about the ADA and HIV at Those interested in finding out more about these settlements or the obligations of public accommodations under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at ADA complaints may be filed by email to