John Williams — Gathering the Change Agents

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Vinton Cerf, Rob Wong, Chet Cooper, Kim Charlson and Gregg Vanderheiden
During a recent, historical news maker’s event at the National Press Club, former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Vinton Cerf, Rob Wong, Chet Cooper, Kim Charlson and Gregg Vanderheiden discussed “Driving Economic Growth Through Assistive Technology and Workplace Inclusivity.” The country must find a way to significantly reduce the 11 million unemployed adults with ... Read more

Harkin Summit – Boost Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Tom Harkin Senator Duckworth
For decades, former Senator Tom Harkin has actively championed the rights of people with disabilities. First serving in the US House of Representatives and later in the Senate from 1985 to 2015, the Iowa native helped craft and introduce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1988. Although ostensibly retired, he remains active in ... Read more

Are Today’s Politicians Prepared for Another Capitol Climb?

Adapt action on steps of Supreme Court
For the last two hundred years, America has led the world in championing the rights of her disabled citizens. From civil rights to inclusion, activists have consistently demanded more equity and more equality. At every single turn legislators have, eventually, succumb to masterfully orchestrated pressure. What is yet to be answered, is whether or ... Read more

Holding Contractors to a Higher Standard

Contractors - Rewriting the Rules
Within the US Department of Labor, Patricia A. Shiu directs the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Her team makes sure that contractors who do business with the federal government adhere to affirmative action and equal employment opportunities for both job seekers and wage earners. Recently, OFCCP proposed new rules that will compel ... Read more

Education Determines Income

Senator Tom Harkin images at different ages in his history of service.
 Accessible Classrooms Level the Playing Field Recently I chaired a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on the promise of accessible technology and its challenges and opportunities. It was the latest in a series of hearings convened since last year to explore issues that impact the employment prospects of Americans with disabilities. ... Read more

The Deaf President Movement

Dear ABILITY readers, Twenty-five years ago, Gallaudet University, the premier institution of higher education for deaf Americans, passed over two qualified deaf candidates to appoint a hearing person as the school’s new president. The students at the Washington, DC based institution were driven to act. They marched, called on Congress, and protested not only ... Read more

Harkin Statement on 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Harkin was the Senate sponsor of the ADA and delivered the first-ever Senate floor speech in American Sign Language upon Senate passage ... Read more

Keeping all Students Safe

Senator Tom Harkin images at different ages in his history of service.
Protecting Students in the Classroom Dear ABILITY Readers, Last month, I introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act, a bill to protect students from dangerous seclusion and restraint practices in schools. All too often, we hear heartbreaking stories about children being injured or even killed because of risky and inappropriate “disciplinary” tactics used at ... Read more