Resolution 2021-01

Failure of the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to Provide Assistive Technology Accommodations

WHEREAS, The Division of Blind Services, Part of the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation OVR, is a state agency with a mandate to better the lives of blind and visually impaired individuals of Kentucky through independent living and employment training services; and

WHEREAS, Services and training are often provided by instructors who themselves are blind or vision impaired and full, independent and meaningful participation as an employee is critical to the success of the program; and

WHEREAS, to accomplish the objectives of the program, it is imperative that the Blind and visually impaired employees have access to the latest adaptive software and equipment to ensure that the high training standards as promulgated by the OVR can be achieved; and

WHEREAS, Significant advancements and changes in web browsers, Microsoft Office Products, operating systems and other peripheral software have and will continue; and

WHEREAS, Personnel are being asked to use assistive technology which itself is over five years out of date and not designed to function with current interface standards; and

WHEREAS, OVR has failed to review and fulfill accommodation requests timely for personnel employed for the Division of Blind Services to ensure that personnel may adequately perform all job functions assigned; and

WHEREAS, Inaccessible assistive technology will place a blind or vision impaired employee at a tremendous hardship, not only in their respective roles as instructors but also as independent employees in relation to internal communications, such as reports, time sheets, medical forms, etc.; and

WHEREAS, The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation OVR is a covered entity as defined by TITLE I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; and

WHEREAS, Title I of the Act prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment; and

WHEREAS, OVR provides services to the public and Title II of the Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all services, programs, and activities provided to the public by State and local governments: NOW, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED By the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky in Convention assembled on this sixth day of November, 2021, that this organization strongly insist that Blind and visually impaired employees of the Division of Blind Services, part of the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation be provided with the most up to date assistive technology software including but not limited to JAWS, Fusion, and ZoomText, as determined by the employee, without exception, in an ongoing timely and streamlined manner.