Maureen Beach, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks today at a Department of Labor event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“In the ten years since the ODEP was created, we have made great strides in helping Americans with disabilities access the workforce and attain the measure of independence and dignity that comes with a job.
“I was honored to have played a role in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, and I want especially to recognize my former colleague – and one of my predecessors as Whip – Tony Coelho. He was the heart and soul behind that landmark legislation. The millions of Americans with greater opportunities today because of that legislation owe him great thanks.
“In many ways, the establishment of the ODEP was a continuation of the work we began eleven years earlier with the passage of ADA.
“First we made it easier for those with disabilities to access public spaces, and then we made it easier for them to go out into those spaces and access jobs. A young man named Adrian recently interned in my office. Adrian has Down Syndrome. He was excited to be a part of our team and had a great experience in our office, asking to come back and do it again.
“Opening up work opportunities, including internships and training programs, to those with disabilities will not only serve the interests of justice and equality but also enable businesses, non-profits, and governments to tap into their talents, skills, and energy.
“I want to congratulate Secretary Solis and Assistant Secretary Martinez on the work they are doing to expand ODEP’s reach, and I look forward to seeing this work continue for many years to come.”