Thirty Years Later: The Impact of the ADA

August 1st, 2020

This year marks 30 years since a major milestone in our nation’s history—the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990 by then President George H. W. Bush.
Since its passage, this landmark legislation has helped to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities in workplaces and communities.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the ADA is modeled on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Its employment provisions prohibit discrimination in job application procedures, hiring, advancement, termination, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

“The ADA ushered in a new era of opportunity for Americans with disabilities,” said Office of Disability Employment Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy. “Instead of being excluded from opportunities to contribute their skills and talents, Americans with disabilities gained access to places and public services, such as employment and training programs, that were not possible before the ADA. ODEP will continue to work alongside our stakeholders as we pursue the goal of full inclusion in America’s workplaces.”

Significant enhancements followed in the years to come including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Mental Health Parity Act, Presidential Task Force on Employment for Adults with Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, and Workforce Enhancement Act, among many others.

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