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PRESIDENT CLINTON TO VISIT MICHIGAN FOR NEXT STOP ON PRESIDENT'S "DIGITAL DIVIDE" TRIP: TRIP TO FOCUS ON DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

September 15, 2000

President Clinton will visit Flint, Michigan on September 21, 2000 as part of his initiative to bridge the digital divide and create digital opportunity for all Americans. This event will highlight the importance of ensuring that new information and communications technologies are accessible to and usable by the 54 million Americans with disabilities. As with previous trips, the President will announce concrete actions by the government and the private sector that will help ensure that people with disabilities are full participants in the Information Age. The President is travelling to Flint to highlight several model programs that are empowering people with disabilities by providing access to cutting-edge technology, increasing employment opportunities, and allowing people with disabilities to acquire new skills using distance learning.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESSIBLE TECHNOLOGIES: Making mainstream information and communications technologies accessible to people with disabilities brings more Americans into the Information Age. Incorporating accessibility features into mainstream technologies also improves their usability for everyone. Web sites that are designed to be accessible, for example, allow increased access to the Web for people using mobile phones. And captioning helps people who are trying to learn English as a second language.

Continuing breakthroughs in assistive technologies, such as voice recognition, electronic books, and computers that can be operated by the movement of one's eyes, enable more people with disabilities to take advantage of mainstream technologies. Accessible technologies, in turn, promote fuller participation in our society, including the enhancement of educational and employment opportunities.

THE CLINTON/GORE ADMINISTRATION HAS IDENTIFIED 5 KEY GOALS IN EMPOWERING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE INFORMATION AGE

Working closely with disability communities, the private sector, and technology experts, the Administration has identified five goals that will empower people with disabilities in the Information Age. The President will announce commitments by the government, the private sector, universities and non-profit organizations to help address these five goals:

-- Increasing the accessibility and usability of existing information and communication products and services;

-- Improving the state-of-the-art of assistive technology;

-- Ensuring that existing efforts to bridge the digital divide and create digital opportunity are accessible to people with disabilities.

-- Using information technologies to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities; and

-- Increasing access to technologies for people with disabilities who cannot currently afford it.

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