Web site gains popularity with disabled veterans
by Rosana Weaver
A federal web site is steadily gaining popularity for veterans with disabilities, as many are returning home from Iraq. The web site, www.DisabilityInfo.gov, provides people with disabilities and their family members with the tools and information they need to lead independent, productive lives.
Many veterans returning to their families and communities face challenges in finding jobs, finding accessible transportation, counseling and other health care needs.
“Our goal is to highlight the abilities of these prospective employees,” Diane Quest, a consultant for the U.S. Department of Labor, commented. “And we hope to make soldiers coming home from the war aware of a valuable government resource available to them.”
She also explained that the web site is a very user-friendly site that provides information about education, employment, health, housing and other topics of interest to people with disabilities, employers, service providers and other community members.
In a recent press release, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao hailed the web site as an example of President George W. Bush’s deep commitment to making government easily accessible to all Americans, with a special emphasis on disabled veterans.
“DisabilityInfo.gov provides Americans with disabilities a direct connection to information and resources they need to become full participants in the 21st Century workforce,” Chao said. “Part of President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative, this user-friendly site provides a single online portal for information related to education, employment, health, housing and other valuable topics to people with disabilities.”
Also in the release, Assistant Secretary Roy Grizzard, who heads the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the managing agency for the site, said: “In the past two years, DisabilityInfo.gov has had almost 3.5 million unique visitors from 180 countries. This site is a valuable resource for people with disabilities.”
The press release explained that since its October 16, 2002 launch, the web site has averaged almost 5,800 visitors per day, with the most popular content topics accessed including education, employment, health, housing, income, technology and transportation. Each visit averages almost 11 minutes in duration, according to site statistics, and visitors have come from as far away as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Korea, Germany and China. In all, the site has achieved over 45 million “hits” over two years of operation.
The web site was created as part of the New Freedom Initiative, and in an effort to remove barriers for people with disabilities, President George Bush, on August 28, 2002, issued an Executive Memorandum directing federal agencies to work together and develop a comprehensive federal web site with one-stop access to governmental disability information. Two months later, www.DisabilityInfo.gov was launched. The site is a collaborative effort across multiple federal agencies and contains information on civil rights, education, employment, job accommodations, housing, technology, transportation, Medicaid and Medicare, and even emergency preparedness.