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Release: Jan. 9, 2003

ITAA, Disability Law Center Launch Disabilities Awards Program

The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), the nation's leading IT industry association, in cooperation with the University of Iowa Law, Health Policy & Disability Center's "IT Works" project, has established the IT Works Ability Awards, a national awards program recognizing IT firms that have developed effective strategies to promote the employment and advancement of people with disabilities.

"Our research shows demand for skilled and trained information technology (IT) workers," said ITAA President Harris N. Miller. "Research also shows the percentage of working individuals with disabilities in high tech careers is substantially lower than the percentage of working people without a disability. By placing a spotlight on innovative hiring and advancement programs in this area, we hope to increase the number of individuals with disabilities in IT-related positions."

The IT Works Ability Awards 2003 program has five categories: Recruitment and Hiring; Assistive Technology; Developing Accessible IT Products and Services; Retention and Inclusion; and Career Advancement and Training. A total of 10 companies will be honored each year, with awards going to one small and one large IT firm in each category. Each winner will be presented an award at ITAA's 2003 National IT Workforce Convocation May 5 in Arlington, Va.

"We are pleased to be partnering with ITAA on this awards program to highlight the contributions industry has made to providing services and career opportunities to the disability community," said Peter Blanck, Iowa law professor, director of the Disability Law Center and principal investigator of IT Works.

Only ITAA member companies are eligible for the IT Works Awards. An awards committee, comprised of representatives from ITAA industry members and the project's expert panel, will review all nominations and select winners.

ITAA provides global public policy, business networking, and national leadership to promote the continued rapid growth of the IT industry. ITAA consists of over 400 corporate members throughout the United States and a global network of 49 countries' IT associations. The association plays the leading role in issues of IT industry concern including information security, taxes and finance policy, digital intellectual property protection, telecommunications competition, workforce and education, immigration, online privacy and consumer protection, government IT procurement, human resources and e-commerce policy. ITAA members range from the smallest IT start-ups to industry leaders in the Internet, software, IT services, ASP, digital content, systems integration, telecommunications, and enterprise solution fields. For more information visit www.itaa.org.

The Law, Health Policy, and Disability Center is a leader in law, technology, education and research. Based at the University of Iowa College of Law, with a satellite office in Washington, D.C., the center concentrates on public policy and its impact on people with disabilities, with emphasis on employment, self-determination and self-sufficiency. For information on the disability law center visit www.its.uiowa.edu/law. "IT Works" is 100 percent funded by U.S. Department of Education, NIDRR grant H133A011803.