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Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers

There are millions of people with disabilities around the world with mental , physical, sensory and health-related disabilities who want the opportunity to participate in the community and the workplace, but are being denied the opportunity. A 1998 National Organization on Disability (NOD)/ Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities reports that only 29% of working age persons with disabilities are employed full or part time, compared to 79% of the non-disabled population. Some of the reasons may include:

  • Limited expectations and attitudes of human service professionals and employers
  • Lack of funds for training and placement
  • Government disincentives to work

"The purpose of this research is not to just measure the gaps in key life areas between people with and with out disabilities, but to provide information to help close them." -- Humphrey Taylor, Chairman of Louis Harris & Associates

In the United States the enactment of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the first law to address discrimination against an estimated 54 million Americans with disabilities in the areas of employment, governmental services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunication. Since the ADA is such a broad-ranging legislative mandate for civil rights and equal opportunity for persons with disabilities, it is tempting to assume that this historic law can right all the wrongs. The ADA cannot right all the wrongs.

"However, The ADA does imply that greater employment should occur in better-paying jobs; that mobility within and throughout the community should be achieved with greater ease, that more people with disabilities should have access to public and private transportation; and that telecommunication options and alternatives should be greatly improved." -- Paul Wehman, VCU RRTC Director

In a preliminary report on the implementation of the ADA, the National Council on Disability (1993) reported that the initial response of employers to the ADA has been favorable. In a 1995 Harris poll, eighty-one percent of employers said they had made accommodations for workers with disabilities, up from fifty-one percent in 1986. The National Council on Disability report also addresses the tremendous number of requests for information and assistance made by businesses and individuals since the implementation of the legislation. The federal government recognized the important role of employers in implementing the ADA and responded by funding ten regional centers for the purpose of providing technical assistance to businesses in interpreting and complying with the law.

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S. Department of Education has a network of programs to provide information, training, and technical assistance to businesses and agencies with duties and responsibilities under the ADA and to people with disabilities who have rights under the Act. There are ten regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs). The ten DBTACs focus on providing, within their respective regions, materials, technical assistance, and training to businesses, persons with disabilities, state and local government agencies, and others to facilitate appropriate implementation of the ADA, successful employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, and greater accessibility in public accommodations. In addition, the DBTACs develop information resources, databases, reference guides, and expert consultant pools that serve as resources for implementation of the technical assistance programs. The DBTACs also conduct public awareness and build their local capacity through state and local affiliations with disability organizations, state and local governments, businesses, nonprofits, professional and trade associations, federal regional centers, and individuals.

Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)

New England DBTAC
Adaptive Environments Center, Inc.
374 Congress Street, Suite 301
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 695-1225 (V/TT)
(617) 482-8099 (Fax)

Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico).

Northeast DBTAC
United Cerebral Palsy Associations of New Jersey
354 South Broad Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
(609) 392-4004 (V)
(609) 392-7044 (TT)
(609) 392-3505 (Fax)

Region 3 (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C.)

Mid-Atlantic DBTAC
TransCen, Inc.
451 Hungerford Drive, Suite 607
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 217-0124 (V/TT)
(301) 217-0754 (Fax)

Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee)

Southeast DBTAC
Center for Rehabilitation Technology at Georgia Tech
490 Tenth Street
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 385-0636 (V/TT)
(404) 385-0641 (Fax)

Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)

Great Lakes DBTAC
University of Illinois/Chicago Institute on Disability & Human Development
1640 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 413-1407 (V/TT)
(312) 413-1856 (Fax)

Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)

Southwest DBTAC
Independent Living Research Utilization
2323 South Shepherd Boulevard, Suite 1000
Houston, TX 77019
(713) 520-0232 (V/TT)
(713) 520-5785 (Fax)

Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)

University of Missouri/Columbia
100 Corporate Lake Drive
Columbia, MO 65203
(573) 882-3600 (V/TT)
(573) 884-4925 (Fax)

Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)

Rocky Mountain DBTAC
Meeting the Challenge, Inc.
3630 Sinton Road, Suite 103
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
(719) 444-0268 (V/TT)
(719) 444-0269 (Fax)

Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Basin)

Pacific DBTAC
California Public Health Institute
2168 Shattuck Avenue, Suite 301
Berkeley, CA 94704-1307
(510) 848-2980 (V)
(510) 848-1840 (TT)
(510) 848-1981 (Fax)

Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington)

Northwest DBTAC
ADA Technical Assistance Coordinator (ADA-TAC)
KRA Corporation
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 935
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3319
(301) 587-3555

The objective of the ADA Technical Assistance Coordinator is to enhance the performance of the DBTACs by coordinating the activities of the ADA technical assistance grantees among themselves and between the grantees and appropriate federal agencies, assisting the grantees in their technical assistance and material development activities, promoting the efforts of the DBTACs through a public relations campaign, and reporting the various activities of the technical assistance grantees.