ADA Then and Now, a Brief History
Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act turned 30 years old on July 26, 2020? When President George H. W. Bush signed the ADA into law in 1990, it changed life as we know it for people with visible, physical disabilities forever. Suddenlythe wheelchair-bound had beveled street curbs to make them independently mobile, with ramps and wider door openings providing easy access to public buildings.
Suddenly, the vision impaired had walking canes and enhanced training to use them safely, along with automated readers and trained guide dogs to help them navigate in a visual world. Likewise, the hearing impaired saw the development of sign language interpreters, which made them more inclusive in society.
The modern era requires American society to think deeper and reach higher on behalf of people with non-visible, hidden disabilities. People with cognitive deficits, personality disorders, and emotional or psychological problems have job-ready skills and capabilities that require understanding, compassion, and reasonable accommodations, no less than their counterparts with visible, physical limitations.
The most recent, available census data estimate that 1 in 5 adult Americans, roughly 60 million individuals, have a disability classification. Of that number, 24 million (40%) have paid employment. CAN DO WORK, formed as a sole proprietorship LLC on November 23, 2020, addresses the remaining 36 million, beginning with the portion of those who reside in New Jersey.
Presently, the State of New Jersey provides social services and employment services to many of our people with developmental disabilities through the Department of Human Services and the Department of Labor. CAN DO WORK aims to reach the thousands who do not participate in either system but nonetheless want to work and can work. We seek prospective employers and personnel resources to help us do so.
In Union County, after only 2 months of business operation, CDW received nearly 2 dozen inquiries, 5 of whom became direct-pay clients. We also obtained 3 businesses that have agreed to “Adopt A Worker” to assist families of special needs youth and adults who struggle financially. As yet, we have not had to turn to those Circle of Honor businesses for their support, but they are there when families might need them.
For further information on how you can help, contact CDW at 201-913-8525, email@example.com, or through our contact form. We look forward to speaking with you about moving ahead with employment services in the rapidly changing, 21st-century world of work for people with untapped capabilities.
Changing lives one job at a time,
Joe Nardini, M.Ed, MBA
Founder and CEO