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CSNE AccessERC Partnership

We are proud to be a partner of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering's (CSNE) AccessERC initiative. This project leverages experiences from CSNE and supports the development of a diverse and well-prepared workforce of science and engineering graduates. This diversity is represented by the successful participation of women, racial/ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Although diversity is an important goal, we often struggle to recruit and fully include individuals with disabilities in the full range of activities and dissemination in which they engage. AccessERC addresses this challenge by providing funding opportunities (minigrants, paid interns, travel awards, etc), learning about and receiving help with accessible materials (e.g., websites), and interactions with others interested in the topic with the ultimate goal of sustainable and scalable systemic change.

​AccessERC works with Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) to promote more inclusive offerings. Visit the DO-IT AccessERC page to learn more about all it has to offer.

The kick-off meeting was an engaging and informative explanation of the DO-IT center at the University of Washington and the goals of the AccessERC grant. A report of the meeting will be provided by CSNE. If you are a member of Synberc and are interested in also being a part of the AccessERC community, please contact Shaila Kotadia. Outcomes of the meeting are available through these two articles:
Promising Practices That Engage People with Disabilities in the CSNE
Equal Access: Universal Design of Your Engineering Research Center

Statement from Synberc on National Disability Employment Awareness Month:

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Americans with disabilitiesmake up almost one-fifth of our population, yet they are poorly represented within STEM fields. In the spirit of this month, we would like to remind Synberc researchers to actively foster a culture in which disabled individuals are supported and accepted. 

Synberc is glad to be participating in a new initiative called AccessERC. This is an effort across all of the NSF ERCs to increase opportunities for disabled people in our centers and beyond. The goals of AccessERC are (1) to make ERC activities and products welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by people with disabilities, and (2) to increase the engagement of individuals with disabilities in ERCs. The project kicks off in February, and we look forward to bringing new opportunities to Synberc members.


A quarter century ago, our country took a major step toward fulfilling
the fundamental American promises of equal access, equal opportunity, and
equal respect for all when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was
made the law of the land.  While we have continued to make advancements
that help uphold this basic belief, we must address the injustices that
remain.  During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we
celebrate the ways individuals with disabilities strengthen our workforce,
our communities, and our country, and we recommit to cultivating an
America where all people are able to build vibrant futures for themselves
and for their families.

Americans with disabilities make up almost one-fifth of our population,
but are unemployed at a rate that is twice that of people without
disabilities; and for women and minorities with disabilities, the rates
are even higher.  Despite all they contribute to our society, people with
disabilities still face discrimination by employers, limited access to
skills training, and, too often, unfairly low expectations.  As a Nation,
we must continue to promote inclusion in the workplace and to tear down
the barriers that remain -- in hearts, in minds, and in policies -- to the
security and prosperity that stable jobs provide and that all our people
deserve.  And we must actively foster a culture in which individuals are
supported and accepted for who they are and in which it is okay to
disclose one's disability without fear of discrimination.

My Administration is working to make sure our country does not let the
incredible talents of Americans with disabilities go to waste.  We are
working to strengthen protections against disability-based discrimination
in the workplace and to expand employment possibilities for people with
disabilities -- and the Federal Government is leading by example.  I have
taken action to require agencies and Federal contractors to hire more
people with disabilities -- and thanks to these efforts, more Americans
with disabilities are in Federal service than at any point in the last
three decades.

I will continue fighting to widen pathways to opportunity for individuals
with disabilities and supporting employers in their efforts to increase
disability inclusion.  The White House hosted a Summit on Disability and
Employment earlier this year to provide businesses, philanthropies, and
advocates with information on Federal resources for hiring disabled
individuals.  Last year, I was proud to sign the Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act (WIOA), which encourages greater coordination across
Federal, State, and local programs to expand access to high-quality
workforce, education, and rehabilitation services.  WIOA also helps youth
with disabilities to receive extensive pre-employment transition services
so they can find positions alongside people without disabilities and get
paid above minimum wage.  Additionally, last year I signed the Achieving a
Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows eligible people with
disabilities to establish tax-free savings accounts.

America is at its strongest when we harness the talents and celebrate the
distinct gifts of all our people.  This October, as we observe the 70th
anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, let us pay
tribute to all who fought for better laws, demanded better treatment, and
overcame ignorance and indifference to make our Nation more perfect.  In
their honor, and for the betterment of generations of Americans to come,
let us continue the work of removing obstacles to employment so every
American has the chance to develop their skills and make their unique mark
on the world we share.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2015 as National
Disability Employment Awareness Month.  I urge all Americans to embrace
the talents and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our
workplaces and communities and to promote the right to equal employment
opportunity for all people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of
September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.