Conference examines ADA’s effectiveness in the workplace
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was signed into law July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush, who proclaimed, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”
As the ADA turns 25, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Disability and Human Development and the UIC School of Public Health will host a two-day conference on the ADA in the workplace, “Promoting Health and Safety for Workers with Disabilities: Realizing the Promise of the ADA.”
Speakers will discuss recent legislative changes to employment law for workers with disabilities, and how employers in various industries have created safe work environments to support workers with disabilities. Site visits to Rush University Medical Center and Access Living will showcase practical applications of policies and procedures and universal design to create inclusive, healthy, and safe worksites for people with disabilities and chronic conditions.
June 9 and 10
- conference 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., UIC Student Center West, 828 S. Wolcott Ave.
June 10 site visits
- 8:30-11:30 a.m. – Rush University Medical Center, 1725 W. Harrison St. Take Elevator 2 to the fifth floor to the Searle Conference Center and the Garden Room
- 1-2:30 p.m. – Access Living, 115 W. Chicago Ave.
- Paula J. Brown, manager of diversity inclusion and community employment liaison, Rush University Medical Center
- Chia-Chia Chang, program analyst, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
- Sheila Fitzgerald, director of the occupational and environmental health nursing program, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
- Glenn Hedman, director, Assistive Technology Unit, UIC
- Andrew J. Imparato, executive director, Association of University Centers on Disabilities
- Robin Jones, director, Great Lakes ADA Center at UIC
“In the last 25 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has ensured and promoted the full participation of people with disabilities in our communities,” says conference co-organizer Beth Marks, research associate professor of disability and human development in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences.
“But we still have a long way to go, especially in the areas of labor-force participation and occupational health and safety for people with disabilities,” Marks said. Workers with disabilities make up only 20 percent of the workforce.
“More needs to be done to rethink workplace policies, programs and practices that support universal design,” Marks said. “Accessible health promotion initiatives must integrate health protection and health promotion programs that are inclusive of worker’s with disabilities.”