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State official: Disabled people often miss out on ADA rights, benefits

By: Tanner Hesterberg Email
By: Tanner Hesterberg Email

HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Many people with disabilities are unaware of the resources they have to succeed in higher education and the workforce, according to the message one state official delivered Monday to a crowd in Perry County.

Norb Ryan, Kentucky's coordinator of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) told people gathered at Hazard Community and Technical College that disabled Kentuckians have more access to jobs and education than they did when the ADA was enacted in 1990.

"Over the last 22 years we have come a long way in terms of employment and post-secondary education," Ryan said. "There is still a ways to go, but a lot of doors have been opened."

But disabled people, Ryan said, often fail to take advantage.

"When you get down to employment and other benefits of the ADA, it's important to know a little bit more about the specifics so they can use those as they go out and apply for jobs," he said.

Doug Fraley, the VP for Student Services at HCTC, said, "There's a lot of assistance in colleges, especially in our college and other colleges throughout the state of Kentucky to help folks with disabilities become what they want to as far as their career paths."

Ryan said many people with disabilities are unable to reach their goals in both higher education and the workforce simply because they don't take advantage of the resources that are available to them.

"Helping people with disabilities understand what their rights are under the ADA," Fraley said. "So that they are fully aware as they go out to find a job what they need to know to help them locate a job."

And achieve goals that may not have been possible a quarter-century ago.

"I would say to anyone with a disability, do not self-limit yourself."

Because disabled does not have to mean disadvantaged.

For more information on the rights and benefits available to disabled people under the AMA, visit:

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