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Partnership Link
Vol.1, Issue 1
November 2005


This Month's Focus...
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FEEDBACK
  • We Welcome your feedback, please email your comments or article ideas to ada@eri-wi.org or for ADA technical assistance and guidance, contact: Great Lakes ADA Center 800-949-4232 (Voice/TTY) www.adagreatlakes.org.

Welcome to our first ADA Wisconsin Partnership LINK Newsletter

The ADA Wisconsin Partnership is a coalition of people with disabilities, business and government that promotes full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This newsletter will focus on specific topics, events, and issues affecting people with disabilities.

Link Focus:  This Month's Accessibility Topic.

This month we focus on meeting and event planning accessibility. The following article co-authored by Robin Jones of Great Lakes ADA and Tammy Liddicoat, ADA Wisconsin Partnership will be published in the next edition of "Agenda" the newsletter of the Wisconsin Chapter of Meeting Planners International. Let us know if you would like to use this article in your publications or please share with event and meeting organizers in your community, contact ada@eri-wi.org.

Creating Accessible Events

It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans has a disability and the numbers will grow as baby boomers age. This has big implications for the meetings industry and furthers a trend for creating events that are more accessible, functional and user-friendly.

It started with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Any meeting or event open to the public, sponsored by a government agency or offered to employees must ensure that people with disabilities can attend and take part in all aspects of the function. This includes physical and communication access.

With advance planning, meetings can be more welcoming and user-friendly. Following are a few basic tips for choosing a venue, planning logistics, serving food, and ensuring communications and materials are accessible.

To read more about accessible event planning, choose one of the following links: Accessible Planning (WORD) | Accessible Planning (PDF)

With advance planning and commitment, accessibility can become the norm for meetings and events, not the exception. When choosing a venue, planning logistics, serving food, and ensuring communications are accessible, the ADA Wisconsin Partnership prepared this handy checklist for making your event inviting for all: Event Planning Checklist (WORD).

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Hiring People With Disabilities

Why should businesses recruit and hire people with disabilities? The answer is, it makes good business sense. For your business to grow, you want workers who are qualified, dependable and an asset to the company. Often, people with disabilities can meet your business needs. Be sure to consider this important, and growing, potential recruiting pool when filling vacancies. A new publication created by ADA Wisconsin Partnership in cooperation with the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of resources on "Hiring and Supporting People with Disabilities." Download a copy of this publication: Hiring (WORD) or Hiring (PDF). Forward a copy to other employers!

CD Release Party December 8 Will Benefit Kids with Special Needs

Join the Figureheads (artists who created the CD "You Come Too"), the staff and board of Imagine a Child's Capacity, and Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz to celebrate all children and dance to music from the never before released CD, "You Come Too." Proceeds will benefit the programs of Imagine a Child's Capacity, Inc. – an organization dedicated to helping every child with special needs reach his or her fullest potential. Thursday December 8, 2005, 6:30 PM, Orpheum Theater, $25.00 general admission. Call 608.204.6242 or see www.icc-wi.org.

IndependenceFirst Provides Training Partnership with VISIT Milwaukee

Independence First: The Resource For People With Disabilities.On Sept. 27, IndependenceFirst, Independent Living Center and Visit Milwaukee presented a 3 hour disability awareness and access workshop to business leaders, and staff of organizations throughout the Metro Milwaukee area. This training was inspired by a request from TASH, an organization that has been at the forefront to ensure full participation of all people with significant disabilities.

The 100 attendees learned about accommodating people with various disabilities, their responsibilities for providing goods and services to everyone, person first language, and the myths about people with disabilities that need to be unlearned. A number of community leaders gave their perspectives on their commitments to making this community easy and available to everyone.

Speakers included Lennie lehman from the U.S. Attorneys office, Rocky Marcoux, Commissioner , City of Milwaukee, Dean Amhaus, Spirit of Milwaukee, Annie Jurczyk, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Lincoln, Alterra Coffee, and consumers living and shopping in the community. A skit performed by the IF Players depicting a dining experience gone bad allowed the attendees an opportunity to discuss potentially better practices the businesses need to explore. The 2005 TASH conference will be held in Milwaukee November 9-12.

HELP Poster with HHS Contact Information

In light of the recent Natural Disasters (hurricanes Katrina and Rita) affecting the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made available a poster containing resources for evacuees. There is a text version as well as a PDF version of the poster. The poster includes national telephone numbers, and state-specific telephone numbers for the following services:

  • Mental Health Hotline (national 800-273-8255)
  • Head Start Services (national 866-763-6481)
  • TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; state-specific number)
  • SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Programs; state-specific number)
  • Medicare (national 800-633-4227)
  • Elder Care (national 800-677-1116)
  • Medicaid (state-specific number)

Refer to the poster to obtain the phone number specific to your state:
| HTML Version | PDF Version |

Supplies Needed to Help Hurricane Katrina Survivors

Glenn Olson, a High Risk Population Specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, is currently in Louisiana helping people with disabilities who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. As one might expect, volunteers are desperately in need of basic supplies. Specifically, Glenn has requested rags, cleaning supplies, packaged food, bottled water, and basic medical supplies. Basic clothing, such as socks and t-shirts, would also be greatly appreciated. For those of you with contracts to produce these, and other basic supplies, please consider donating what you can to this recovery effort. Volunteers are also faced with shipping and distribution challenges–many supplies are lost or sitting on shipping docks, so Glenn would like to coordinate all shipping efforts. If your agency can help out, please contact RFW,Inc. by email at rfw@rfw.org or by phone at 608-244-5310.

Did You Know?

Did you know that during Hurricane Katrina, 85.7 percent of community-based disability and aging-specific organizations did not know how to link with their local emergency management system.

This statistic is taken from the N.O.D. Emergency Preparedness Initiative's Report on Special Needs Assessment for Katrina Evacuees (SNAKE) Project. Read Disaster & Disability: Katrina's Impact to learn more.

Free and Helpful ADA Publications

Stock Up Today!The Americans with Disabilities Act can be a complicated law, but here are many concise and easy to understand booklets to keep in your lobby, share with local employers or government staff, or have available for your own staff. Just of few of the free and handy booklets include:

  • The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability (published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
  • The ADA: Your Responsibilities as an Employer (published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
  • The Americans With Disabilities Act: Questions and Answers (published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Justice)
  • Department of Justice: ADA Guide for Small Businesses (published by the U.S. Department of Justice)
  • Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal for Existing Facilities (published by NIDRR)
  • Planning Guide for Accessible Events (published by the Center for Universal Design)

If you would like to receive some of these publications to have available in your organization, contact RFW at rfw@rfw.org or 608-244-5310 with the title and quantity and we will have them shipped to your location. Or download the following order form: ADA Publications Order Form (Microsoft WORD version) or the ADA Publications Order Form (pdf version).

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A D A in the News.

State Polling Places to Upgrade for Disabled

From the Capital Times Newspaper

November 9, 2005: MILWAUKEE (AP) – A survey of Wisconsin polling places shows about four out of 10 have serious barriers to the disabled, the state Elections Board says. "Of the state's 2,773 polling sites, we determined 1,134 as disability-inaccessible," said Kyle Richmond, the panel's public information officer.

Polling places nationwide are under federal mandate under the Help America Vote Act to have new voting equipment in place by Jan. 1 that will enable people to vote independently and privately, regardless of motor or physical disability or language barriers. To read the entire story, go to the following website or download the pdf: Online Story | Download Story.

Personality Tests in Workplace can Violate ADA

A federal appellate court in Illinois recently ruled that an employer violated federal disability law by using a personality test when considering applicants for promotion. In Karraker v. Rent-A-Center, Inc., the court held that the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory ("MMPI") test constituted a prohibited medical examination under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. In order to advance into management with Rent-A-Center ("RAC"), employees had to take a battery of nine tests designed to measure math and language skills as well as interests and personality traits. Part of the battery included 502 questions from the MMPI. RAC maintained that it used the MMPI solely to measure personality traits, but the court noted the MMPI goes further, considering where a subject falls on the scales of depression, hypochondriasis, hysteria, paranoia, and mania. [Questions included whether the applicant sees animals or people that others do not and whether he has a habit of counting things that are not important, like bulbs on electric signs.] Elevated scores on some scales of the MMPI can be used in diagnoses of certain psychiatric disorders. A Rent-A-Center employee could be denied a promotion due to his or her MMPI score. Plaintiffs failed the battery of tests, were denied promotions, and sued RAC for violating the ADA through its use of the MMPI.

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Upcoming Events

Professional Development Seminar: Creating Access Step by Step: What Direct Service Staff Should Know

Rehabilitation For Wisconsin, Inc. 2006 Professional Development Seminars.Rehabilitation For Wisconsin,Inc. is pleased to announce the 2006 Professional Development Seminar Series. In January, learn about "Creating Access Step by Step: What Direct Service Staff Should Know." Serving people with disabilities shouldn't be confusing, but there are many issues that people new to serving customers with disabilities should understand. This seminar will teach you about laws that protect people with disabilities, etiquette and rights, communication techniques, assistive technology and physical accessibility issues. Presented by Peter Berg, the ADA Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Great Lakes ADA & Accessible IT Center located at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Continuing Education Credits Available.

LEARN ABOUT:

  • The laws protecting people with disabilities
  • Etiquette and tips for interacting with people with disabilities
  • High and low tech assistive technology
  • Removing barriers in existing buildings and facilities

This full day seminar costs $149. Professional Development Seminar Investors pay $0. For information on becoming an investor, go to the following link: RFW PDS Investor Form. For registration information fill out the following html registration form: January 17 Seminar (html). Or download a pdf version of the registration form: January 17 Seminar (pdf)

Open Mic: What's on Your Mind? A General Session on the ADA

Easter Seals Project ACTION and the Federal Transit Administration are pleased to present a free, public audio conference that will give dial-in listeners the opportunity to ask questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act of experts at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The program is titled "Open Mic: What's on Your Mind? A General Session on the ADA" and will be hosted from 2-3 p.m. Eastern time, Wednesday, November 9. To join the call, dial 800-860-2442 and enter the code 3770202 when prompted by the operator. Because of the volume of questions anticipated, participants are asked to email their questions prior to the conference to distancelearning@easterseals.com. Please type "November 9 audio conference" in the subject line. Participants can also email questions during the conference to the same address and the presenters will address these questions as time allows.

This conference will be recorded and transcribed. Those requesting an audio, Braille, large print or electronic version will receive it following the event. Staff of Easter Seals Project ACTION and the FTA are providing this opportunity as a way of advancing accessible community transportation.

You are invited to visit Project ACTION's Web page for more information: http://projectaction.easterseals.com

Innovative ADA Online Course for Businesses

On July 25, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of "Reaching Out to Customers with Disabilities," a new web-based interactive online course that explains the ADA and its applicability to the business community. This is the first online course created by the Department that explains legal obligations under the ADA to businesses and the general public. Although the ten-lesson course is intended for owners, managers, and employees of all types of businesses, it is of particular utility to small business owners who are less likely to be familiar with the requirements of the ADA than their counterparts operating franchises or chains. Consumers with disabilities will also benefit from the course's explanation of consumer rights under the ADA.

This innovative course condenses hundreds of pages of regulations, technical guidance, and Department policy into a product that is easy to use and understand. Users will appreciate the fact that they can review the comprehensive course at their own convenience, day or night, with the flexibility to study the lessons one at a time or all at once. The straightforward language, abundant examples, easy navigation, and numerous links to supplemental information make the course ideal for all. The entire course is in an accessible format that can be used by people who are blind or have low vision.

The course will assist millions of owners and employees nationwide to learn more about their responsibilities under the ADA and comply with its regulations. "Reaching Out to Customers with Disabilities" is located on the Department's ADA Website at www.ada.gov.

2005-2006 ADA Audio Conference Series is Underway

The ADA Audio Conference Series provides in-depth information on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Accessible Information Technology and other related topics. The Audio Conference Series offers a monthly 90-minute, subject-specific session with an interactive opportunity for questions and answers. Each session is delivered via telephone, real-time streaming text and audio via the Internet. Sessions are held monthly and scheduled from 1:00-2:00PM CST (90 minutes), and require pre-registration. Visit www.ada-audio.org for the schedule of training sessions and how to register.

This month's session:
November 15, 2005
Pro's and Con's of Web Accessibility Validation Tools
Speaker: Terry Thompson, Do-IT Program and AccessIT, University of Washington
Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. CST

How do you know if your web site is accessible? The increased interest in creating accessible web sites has spawned several products which can be utilized to "test" a site for accessibility and provide feedback to the designer/developer in order to promote a more accessible design. Is one tool better than another? Can I be assured that my web site is accessible if it "passes" one or more of these tests? This session will explore the various tools that are available and discuss the pro's and con's of their use as well as "tips" for evaluating the accessibility of web sites.

To find out more information on the audio conferences or to register, please go to: http://www.ada-audio.org/. For more information on hosting a site for one or more of these audio conferences please contact Tammy Liddicoat, ADA WI Partnership, tliddicoat@charter.net or 608-334-8105.

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ABOUT US: The ADA Wisconsin Partnership is part of a six-state consortium established by the Great Lakes ADA Center which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The ADA Wisconsin Partnership is managed by Employment Resources Inc.

We welcome your feedback. Submit your comments or article ideas by emailing ada@eri-wi.org.

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