Del. Congressional delegation to attend technology program
Vol. 17, No. 27April 16, 1998

Del. Congressional delegation to attend technology program

Members of Delaware's Congressional delegation-Sens. William V. Roth Jr. and Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Rep. Michael N. Castle-will join University of Delaware President David P. Roselle in hosting a unique look at assistive technology for disabled persons in the workplace on Monday, April 27.

The event, "Assistive Technology: Innovative Technologies at Work," begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Trabant University Center. Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper also has been invited to attend.

Keynote speaker will be Steve Jacobs, senior technology consultant at NCR Corp. in Dayton, Ohio. Jacobs will discuss the business benefits of accessibility in product and workplace design.

People with disabilities who are working in their chosen careers with the help of assistive technology will attend the program, which also will feature information on services and a demonstration of products available to local employers and employees.

Additionally, a videotape will be aired, showcasing state-of-the-art assistive technology in the workplace, designed to demonstrate how persons with disabilities can be successful employees.

"With new laws and evolving technology, the workplace of today often looks quite different from that of only a decade ago," according to Beth Mineo Mollica, one of the organizers of the event. "At the same time, persons with disabilities represent an underutilized source of talent in the face of dwindling pools of qualified job candidates. Assistive technology can be the key to employability and productivity while assisting businesses in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, hiring excellent staff and returning injured employees to the workforce."

In 1988, Congress passed and the President signed the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act, better known as the Tech Act. It provides federal funds for each state to maintain a program to increase awareness of assistive technology devices, applications and related services. The act also calls for projects that support assistive technology and make it readily available.

In Delaware, the Tech Act project is known as the Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative (DATI, a program directed by Mineo Mollica and administered through the University of Delaware's Center for Applied Science and Engineering. The program is headquartered at the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, with satellite centers at the Easter Seal Rehabilitation Center in New Castle, the Kent County Community School in Dover and on the campus of Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown.

DATI sites offer assistive technology information, equipment demonstrations, equipment loans and assistance in locating funding and services.

For more information on DATI or the April 27 event, call 651-6836.