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February 2015 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In February, the federal government displayed their commitment to increasing the number of people with disabilities in the American workforce by hosting the White House Summit on Disability and Employment. The Summit offered attendees information and resources to help implement this initiative and was timed with the release of the Resource Guide for Employers on Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities, a document designed to help identify relevant federal and federally-funded resources for employers who seek to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to obtain, succeed, and advance in their profession.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice [WT Docket No. 10–254; WT Docket No. 07–250; DA 15–46] extending comment dates and correcting errors found in their December 23rd request for updated information on current hearing aid compatibility regulations for wireless handsets. Seeking to implement provisions of the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), the rulemaking sought to update the record on whether the FCC should (1) revise the hearing aid compatibility requirements to apply in a technologically neutral manner to all mobile wireless devices used for voice communications, and (2) move away from the fractional compliance regime that exists today and implement a requirement that all mobile wireless devices must comply with the hearing aid compatibility rules.

In other news, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), released its Fiscal Year 2014 Organization Highlights report announcing that the organization has changed its name to the Administration for Community Living (ACL). The report provides stakeholders, Congress, and the Obama Administration with a summary of the department’s accomplishments and activities in preparation for the new fiscal year. The new direction of ACL promises to leverage the work of the Wireless RERC, along with the corresponding appointment of Dr. Helena Mitchell, Principal Investigator for the Wireless RERC, to the FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee (DAC).

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.