Date: Friday, October 19, 2012
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America, announced that Jenifer Simpson, a well-known accessible technology strategist, has joined RESNA as Project Director to launch the new Accessible Technology Action Center (ATAC) that is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.
“Jenifer’s deep background in accessible communication technology makes her the perfect fit for ATAC, as this project will expand opportunities in this area for people with disabilities to secure and retain employment” said M. Nell Bailey, Executive Director of RESNA.
“This is a critical time in the disability community,” said Simpson. “Not only is there high unemployment and underemployment, but more and more it is information and communication technologies that are critical in the workplace. Our Center will bring together first-class partners and expert resources to advance employment for people with disabilities through focusing on accessible technology solutions and adoption.”
ATAC will expand access to information and communication technologies in the workplace for people with disabilities. Simpson will coordinate activities with a wide range of partners, including Raising the Floor (RtF), the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University (BBI), Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), among others. The project was recently established through a $950,000 grant from the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
Simpson previously worked at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), a national disability membership organization, as Senior Director for Government Affairs. While at AAPD, she led national efforts to increase technology accessibility widely in telecommunications, health information technology, broadband deployment, and emergency awareness. Prior to AAPD, she served at the Federal Communications Commission where she implemented disability accessibility mandates in the Communications Act. She’s also worked at the former President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and for United Cerebral Palsy. Simpson is a co-founder of the Coalition for Accessible Technology (COAT), a coalition of over 300 national and community-based organizations that advocated for accessible technology legislation and regulatory safeguards to ensure full access by people with disabilities to our nation’s communications infrastructure.
Simpson holds an MBA from Trinity University in Washington, D.C., and a BA in Art & Communication from the University of Massachusetts. She lives in Washington, D.C., and has an adult son with multiple disabilities who uses assistive technology.