Policy Hearing Determines Impact of Technological Advances on Disabled Communities
Conversations included in Temple University’s 2022 Disability Summit
Philadelphia, Sept. 22— The House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing Thursday afternoon to explore the impact of technological advances on communities with disabilities. The hearing was chaired by the House of Representatives. Temple University’s Joe Hornstein (D-Philadelphia) as part of his 2022 Disability Summit.
“As members of the disability community, it was clear from today’s discussion that we need to be more involved in the conversation and work to advance technology. As the saying goes: ‘Without us, without us,’” Hohenstein said. “Today The hearing is an important step in addressing this oversight. We can use the points raised in today’s discussion to drive legislative change in Harrisburg. “
Thursday’s roundtable discussion featured testimony from disability community advocates and technologists. The conversation revolved around three central ideas: the disability community needs to be more involved in technology development, organizations that support assistive technology need more funding, and legislation should be passed to break down certain barriers.
Neil McDevitt, executive director of the Deaf Hearing Communication Center, noted the lack of employment opportunities in the disabled community, especially in tech. He said fixing the problem would lead to better technology for everyone.
“Increasing the number of employees with disabilities will represent a powerful shift, not only in the user experience of technology, but in setting standards and requirements for future technology,” McDevitt said. “By transforming people with disabilities from simple end users to engaged team members – the end product will be better and more inclusive.”
Witnesses also recommended increased funding for organizations that develop and support assistive technology for people with disabilities. Debbie Robinson and Suzanne Erb are both Pennsylvania disabled people and advocates who speak for themselves and want to live in a state where they can fully participate and contribute to their communities without problems.
“Imagine a state where we can easily use telehealth, remote work, and online shopping. Imagine a life where anyone with a disability can live a fulfilling life. To make this vision of Pennsylvania a reality, we need to provide these organizations Provide adequate funding so they can help people with disabilities communicate, travel, read and write, and contribute to our communities,” Robinson and Urber said.
TechOWL, Pennsylvania’s federally designated assistive technology bill program, said increasing the organization’s program in the state budget to $550,000 will ensure that every Pennsylvania disabled person has access to assistive technology.
“I want to thank everyone for participating in this important discussion on how we can best benefit and incorporate technological advancements into the disability community,” said Hornstein. “I look forward to bringing this conversation to Harrisburg and working with my colleagues across the aisle to positively impact our Pennsylvanians.”
Full testimony from Thursday’s hearing can be found here.Photos will be available Gentlemen.
For information on this hearing and other House Democratic Policy Committee hearings, visit pahouse.com/policy.