Campaign Seeks to Change Attitudes about Disability and Employment

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This July marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, and a new public outreach effort is working to advance its spirit of equal opportunity by highlighting the skills and talents people with disabilities offer America’s workplaces.

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This July marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, and a new public outreach effort is working to advance its spirit of equal opportunity by highlighting the skills and talents people with disabilities offer America’s workplaces.

The Campaign for Disability Employment, a collaborative effort among several leading disability and business organizations, seeks to raise awareness and change attitudes about disability and employment. The centerpiece of this nationwide initiative is the “I Can” public service announcement (PSA), which in its first three months of availability garnered more than $3.5 million in donated airtime from television and radio stations across the nation.

The “I Can” PSA features seven people with disabilities—not actors—sharing what they “can do” on the job when given the opportunity. Despite the achievements of these and many other individuals, negative stereotypes persist, and people with disabilities have far fewer job opportunities than the general population. The Campaign for Disability Employment—through the “I Can” PSA and a variety of other tactics—challenges people to consider what they can do to advance disability employment and America’s ideal of opportunity for all.

Partners in the Campaign for Disability Employment include the American Association of People with Disabilities, National Business and Disability Council, National Council of La Raza, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Society for Human Resource Management, Special Olympics and U.S. Business Leadership Network. The effort is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, receives technical assistance from the Job Accommodation Network and is supported by the Disability Policy Research Center at West Virginia University.

To view the “I Can” PSA and learn more about the Campaign for Disability Employment, visit http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org.

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Tracie Saab

Rebecca Skipper

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