WASHINGTON, DC – September 26, 2013: Enable America, a non-profit working to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including disabled veterans and wounded warriors, today commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Sponsored by U.S. Representative John Brademas (D-IN) and signed into law by President Richard Nixon, the Rehabilitation Act was the foundation for numerous programs, including vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, independent living, and client assistance. The Act also includes a multitude of provisions focused on rights, advocacy, and protections for individuals with disabilities under Title V, including Sections 501, 503, 504, 508, and 509.
“We note the anniversary of this historic event with acknowledgement of the tremendous progress we have made over the past four decades, and an equal understanding of the work left to be done,” said Richard Salem, founder and chairman of Enable America.
At the time, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the most comprehensive piece of disability legislation enacted. It set the stage for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Together, these acts have improved the lives of people with disabilities, opening opportunity and improving fairness in the areas of employment, access to information, and independent living. The Rehabilitation Act was a benchmark for the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006.
Founded by Salem in 2002, Enable America furthers the mission of this legislation, through programs that build bridges between people with disabilities and employers. These include Job Skills Workshops, Career Mentoring Days, VetConnect programs for disabled veterans and wounded warriors, as well as Community Connection and Business to Business meetings. Collectively, Enable America programs help improve employment opportunities for the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities.
“Our programs are the result of more than ten years of engagement with both employers and people with disabilities, during which time we have built and refined our services to best meet mutual needs,” said Salem. “Today on this historic occasion, we have the right programs at the right time to further the goals established 40 years earlier.”
Employers interested in sponsoring an Enable America program, as well as people with disabilities who would like to participate in future events, can find out more and register on the group’s website, EnableAmerica.org.