BILL CLINTON: Touts Technology Access Plans for Disabled
Touring a high-tech training center for people with disabilities in Flint, Mich., yesterday, President Clinton announced several initiatives to improve technological access for people with disabilities, the Washington Post reports. Saying that no American should be left "stranded on the other side of the now famous digital divide," Clinton announced that the Education Department's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research will provide a $16 million grant to help improve Internet access for the disabled, and the Americorps volunteer program will provide $9 million in grants to support 1,200 volunteers to train disabled children and adults to use technology. In addition, the CEOs of more than 45 high-tech companies have committed themselves to ensuring that their products are accessible to all, and the presidents of 25 major research universities have agreed to expand research and education on technology access for the disabled. Clinton said, "We have to bring more people into the circle of opportunity to work in information fields. That means people with disabilities have to be able to enter the 21st century workforce, not only for [their] own benefit but for the rest of America as well" (Walsh, 9/22). The president also commented that his cabinet has worked to allow Medicare and Medicaid to pay for technology and help disabled individuals live and work independently, noting that 17.3 million Americans live with severe disabilities (Riechmann, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/22). But Clinton said that "breaking down barriers is not enough. People actually have to have the tools they need to take advantage of this remarkable moment of opportunity, especially the tools they need in cyberspace" (Washington Post, 9/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.