GSA gets help with assistive tech

Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP)

Disabled employees at the General Services Administration will be receiving assistive technology accommodations paid for by the Defense Department.

A signing ceremony at GSA June 30 solidified the partnership between the administration and DOD's Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP).

"The assistive technology devices and services that the Department of Defense will provide to GSA employees with disabilities at no cost to our agency is very much appreciated," GSA Administrator Stephen Perry said. "Today's agreement helps us to achieve our goal of maintaining a world-class workforce and workplace."

The National Defense Authorization Act granted CAP the authority to "provide assistive technology, devices and services to any department or agency in the federal government upon the request of the head of the agency."

CAP, established by DOD in 1990, has more than 50 partnerships with federal agencies to procure assistive technology for employees with demonstrated needs.

The partnership offers services to employees with a range of visual, hearing, dexterity and cognitive disabilities. The program takes into account each individual's specific situation, including computer and functional capabilities.

Funding from CAP allows GSA to provide employees with programs and services that it otherwise could not afford. For example, a Braille embosser and printer costs more than $6,000, and a Braille translator costs more than $14,000. Ordinarily, such tools would be difficult for GSA to procure.

Making room in the budget for one item means cutting funding for another. "We don't carry spare cash," said Terry Weaver, director of GSA's Center for IT Accommodations.

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