|Contact:||Megan Dardanell, County|
PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato today announced the creation of Allegheny 365, a committee of residents with varying abilities charged with developing a plan to encourage action so that all members of our community are able to engage fully in every aspect of daily living 365 days a year. The announcement coincides with Disability Mentoring Day. October is also Disability Awareness Month.
In establishing the committee, Onorato reaffirmed his commitment to universal inclusion and full participation by charging the committee with developing strategies to:
- Promote employment opportunities in Allegheny County government that address the abilities of all persons;
- Ensure that all facilities operated by Allegheny County are accessible to all members of our community;
- Identify mechanisms and educate County personnel on the use of adaptive technologies to enhance accessibility;
- Review and revise, as appropriate, communication methods used by County departments to ensure that all persons can access information in an effective manner;
- Encourage other governments, private businesses and non-profit organizations to follow Allegheny County’s lead in this effort; and
- Increase knowledge about and promote the use of universal and visitability design throughout our community.
The County Executive has asked the committee to submit its plan by the third quarter of 2011.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act has led to greater access and inclusion for people with disabilities throughout our nation and region, and the Allegheny 365 Committee will take this important effort to the next level by working to ensure that all members of our community have the highest quality of life possible every day of the year,” said Onorato. “Upon receipt of the action plan, I am committed to developing policies and procedures to meet the committee’s objectives and recommendations.”
Committee members include representatives of academia, human service agencies, charitable foundations, advocacy groups, corporations, professional associations, architectural firms, and County government.
To highlight the importance of this issue, Bayer Corporation President & CEO Greg Babe and Youth in Transition (with Disabilities) Chair Cindy Shapira will serve as honorary co-chairs of the committee.
“For companies like Bayer, innovation requires attracting and developing high-caliber talent,” said Babe. “And diversity goes right to the heart of making effective use of skills and experience of people – disabled and otherwise – who underpin our ability to advance, invent, discover and grow. That’s why the Allegheny 365 initiative is important to industry and to the future success and sustainability of this region.”
“I believe that it’s incumbent upon us as citizens to ensure that all youth, of any ability level, have access to the benefits and opportunities offered by our City and County,” said Shapira. “That is what makes a community strong and vibrant. I’m proud to lend my energies to fulfilling this goal.”
The committee will be led by Rory Cooper, Ph.D., FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Chair and Distinguished Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology, University of Pittsburgh, and Joyce Bender, CEO of Bender Consulting Services Inc. and Chair of the National Epilepsy Foundation Board of Directors.
“This is a very important project as Allegheny County is in a position to set an example for the nation in accessibility and employment of people with disabilities,” said Cooper. “We have academic, business, and community leadership related to people with disabilities that far exceed those in most counties, and the spirit to work together to accomplish great things. It is time that people with disabilities are fully included in society and gainfully employed in our communities, and Allegheny County is the place to make it happen.”
“I love the name of our initiative, Allegheny 365, because finding employment for residents of Allegheny County with disabilities, and others who are interested in moving here is not a one day special event,” said Bender. “The need to address employment of people with disabilities is an everyday commitment. We plan to make Allegheny County government an example for the rest of the county. Americans with disabilities will never, ever, be free in this county until they have competitive employment.”
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Allegheny 365 Committee
- Greg Babe, President & CEO of Bayer Corporation
- Cindy Shapira, Chair of Youth in Transition (with Disabilities)
- Rory Cooper, Ph.D., FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Chair and Distinguished Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology, University of Pittsburgh
- Joyce Bender, CEO of Bender Consulting Services Inc. and Chair of the National Epilepsy Foundation Board of Directors
- Judy Barricella, Director, Disability Connection, Allegheny County Department of Human Services
- John G. Bertoty, Executive Director, Blueroof Technologies Inc.
- Barbara Conniff, Chief Executive Officer, Milestone Centers Inc.
- Dee Delaney, Non Profit Consultant & Retired Executive Director, FISA Foundation
- Holly Dick, Community Liaison, ACCESS
- Gary Eiseman, Post Secondary Director, St. Anthony School Programs
- The Honorable Rich Fitzgerald, President, Allegheny County Council
- Rachel Freund, Director of Community Outreach, Mental Health America-Allegheny County
- Sarah Goldstein, Recovery Consultant ,Community Care Behavioral Health
- William Graham, Manager of Employee Compensation, Allegheny County Department of Human Resources
- Amy Hart, President & CEO, Center for Hearing & Deaf Services Inc.
- Stanley A. Holbrook, President & CEO, Three Rivers Center for Independent Living
- Joan Hopfer, Information Technician, Allegheny County Information Center
- Chaz Kellem, Manager of Diversity Initiatives, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Kurt A. Kondrich, Director of Family & Community Outreach, Early Intervention Specialists Inc.
- James “Chris” Noschese, Treasurer and Board Managers, Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf & Retired Educator, Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
- Florence Reed, President & Executive Director, Working Women with Disabilities Inc.
- Paul Rosenblatt, AIA, Principal, SPRINGBOARD Design
- Lucy Spruill, Director of Public Policy & Community Relations, UCP/CLASS
- Joan W. Stein, President & CEO, Accessibility Development Associates Inc.
- Evelyn Stypula, Vice Chair, Governor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities
- Mary Esther Van Shura, Office of the County Executive
- Michael Zaken, President, Golden Triangle Council of the Blind