April 20, 2024 4:09 am
How High-Tech Disability Technology is Used in Warfare Instead

In 1971, Senator Jacob K. Javits made changes to the original Wagner-O’Day Act to include people with significant disabilities. This amendment led to the creation of an independent federal agency, later named AbilityOne, which was responsible for overseeing the mandatory supply source for the federal government. The supply source was awarded to qualifying workshops on a noncompetitive basis.

AbilityOne has aligned itself with the Department of Defense (DOD), its largest contractor, portraying itself as an “economic citadel” and a “fortress of opportunity.” Drawing on the patriotism of World War I, AbilityOne and its network of affiliates associate the employment of intellectually and developmentally disabled people, as well as blind individuals, with serving the nation. One such organization, LCI, claims to be the largest employer of blind individuals globally and acquired Tactical Assault Gear (TAG), a tactical assault gear marketplace, in 2010.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) strengthened the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (PCEPD) in 1990. The PCEPD has its roots in a Truman-era resolution calling for the observance of “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1992, an Americans With Disabilities Act Summit brought together leaders from various sectors to discuss disability employment issues. The PCEPD Annual Awards were established to recognize employers that developed outstanding approaches to ADA compliance during this summit. These awards reflect a trend of inclusion that protects corporations that historically benefited from New Deal programs that provided disabled labor.

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