White House Announces Next Stop on President's "Digital Divide"
NEXT STOP ON PRESIDENT
CLINTONS "DIGITAL DIVIDE" TRIP:
DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICANS WITH
September 21, 2000
TODAY, PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL CONTINUE HIS "DIGITAL
DIVIDE" TRIP IN FLINT MICHIGAN, WITH A FOCUS ON CREATING DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY
FOR AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES: President Clinton
will visit Flint, Michigan as part of his ongoing initiative to bridge the
digital divide and create digital opportunity for all Americans. The President
will visit a Community Technology Center that will offer access to cutting-edge
technology for people with disabilities and other members of the community. He
will see demonstrations of advanced technologies such as an "Eyegaze System"
that allows people with disabilities to operate a computer and send e-mail
using only their eyes, and an online physics course that is accessible to
people with disabilities, and electronic talking books that are accessible to
people with disabilities.
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL MAKE ANNOUNCEMENTS AS PART OF5 KEY GOALS TO EMPOWER AMERICANS WITH
DISABILITIES IN THE INFORMATION AGE: At a speech at
Mott Community College, the President will announce concrete actions by the
Administration, companies, universities and non-profits to help ensure that
people with disabilities are full participants in the Information Age
accessibility and usability of existing information and communication products
and services for people with disabilities;
Improving the state-of-the-art of assistive technology;
Ensuring that existing efforts to bridge the digital divide and
create digital opportunity are accessible to people with disabilities;
Using information technologies to increase employment opportunities
for people with disabilities; and
Increasing access to technologies for people with disabilities who
cannot currently afford it.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESSIBLE
Ensuring that information and communications technologies are usable by
the 54 million Americans with disabilities is critical, since it can increase
their ability to participate in the workforce, allow them to gain new skills
using online learning, and improve their quality of life:
Only 23.9 percent of people with disabilities had access to a
computer at home, compared to 51.7 percent of those without disabilities
(Department of Education, July 2000)
Only 31 percent of Americans with so-called "severe" disabilities are
working (Census Bureau, June 2000)
48 percent of adults with disabilities believe that the Internet has
significantly improved their quality of life, compared to just 27 percent of
adults without disabilities (Harris Poll, June 2000)
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL ANNOUNCE COMMITMENTS BY GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE
SECTOR TO CREATE "DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY" FOR AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES
Over 45 high-tech CEOs will pledge to adopt "best practices" on
accessibility, such as training their workers to develop accessible products
and services, and identifying and fixing accessibility problems in new versions
of their hardware and software.
Presidents of 25 of the nation's top research universities will agree
to expand research and education on accessibility.
SmartForce, an e-learning company, will provide $20 million worth of
free access to its online training material to at least 5,000 people with
disabilities per year for the next three years.
President Clinton will create a task force to examine
Medicare/Medicaid coverage of assistive technology.
Americorps will provide $9 million in grants to support 1,200
AmeriCorps volunteers to help close the digital divide, including projects that
help people with disabilities.
The President will call on Congress to reauthorize AmeriCorps and
include an "E-Corps" dedicated to bridging the digital divide.
The Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and
Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) will provide over $16 million in grants to
promote the accessible information technology through research and loan
$2.5 million, 5-year grant to the Web Accessibility Initiative to
help ensure that the Web is accessible to people with disabilities;
$7.5 million, 5-year grant to Georgia Tech for a new center on
$3.8 million to expand or create loan programs for assistive
technology in six states;
$2.8 million, 4-year grant for a University of Kentucky institute to
conduct research on assistive technology for children
The Department of Education will provide $1.8 million for an
initiative by the National Center for Accessible Media and industry to develop
standards for accessible online learning.
The Mott Foundation will help establish a blue-ribbon commission to
develop additional policy recommendations for expanding access to assistive
Microsoft, Community Options, and other partners will create a New
Jersey-based business incubator with an emphasis on the needs of entrepreneurs
Sun Microsystems will create a lab to make free, "open source"
desktop software accessible for people with disabilities.
The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
will expand their High School High Tech program to 4 new cities and 3 new
states, including Michigan. This program allows students with disabilities to
explore high-tech careers through site visits, mentoring and internships.
The Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunity Program will
award a grant that will help small community-based organizations provide
Web-based services to people with disabilities.
CompTIA will partner with Compaq and the National Cristina Foundation
to provide scholarships and training for certification, with some resources
targeted to people with disabilities.