Plugging diabled in – Public, private initiative

President Clinton has announced plans to give people with disabilities better access to the Internet, Reuters reported Sept 21.

The plans include millions of dollars in funding, along with actions by government, high-tech companies and universities.

The Department of Education will get $16 million in grants to promote information technology programs, while AmeriCorps will get $9 million to help volunteers train the disabled to use new technology.

And more than 45 high-tech companies — including AOL and Microsoft – will take a leading role in developing and adapting current products to meet the digital needs of the disabled.

SmartForce, an e-learning company, has donated $20 million to provide access to online training material for about 5,000 people with disabilities.

“If we want to keep the rest of the economy growing, we have to make information technology more accessible,” Clinton said.

Of 54 million disabled Americans, the White House estimates, roughly 24 percent have access to a home computer, compared to about 52 percent without disabilities. Only 31 percent of Americans of working age with severe disabilities have jobs.

For full story, go to AltaVista.

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