SCSILC Position Statement: Accessibility in SC Governmental Programs, Activities, and Services
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), state agencies are mandated to assign at least one employee to ADA coordination responsibilities (read: an ADA coordinator). The role of an ADA coordinator is to ensure that public entities are ADA-compliant; ADA coordinators are also charged with providing ADA-related policy and practices information to employees and consumers.
In 2017, Able South Carolina (Able SC) surveyed 78 South Carolina state agencies on two significant criteria: 1) did the agency have a designated ADA coordinator on staff, and 2) did the ADA coordinator receive bona fide ADA coordination training? The survey results were as follows:
- Of 78 state agencies surveyed, 37 responded.
- 29 agencies had an identified ADA coordinator on staff; eight agencies did not.
- Seven out of the eight agencies faulted “staff capacity” as an obstacle to designating an ADA coordinator.
- One agency determined that a designated ADA coordinator was unnecessary because it did not have any employees with disabilities.
- The agencies by and large did not offer ADA-certified training to their designed ADA Coordinators
- 10 agencies conflated ADA duties and training with HR-related tasks and preparation.
- One agency had an ADA coordinator trained through an ADA-recognized training program.
These findings demonstrate a lack of proper ADA coordination duties and training among state agencies in South Carolina. Furthermore, these results reveal the possible acceleration of ADA violations within state agencies that could prohibit the provision of services and accommodations for people with disabilities as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Benefits to Assigning and Training an ADA Coordinator
Perhaps many state agencies deem the task of assigning and training an ADA coordinator as excessively time-consuming and costly. However, such a task can be relatively painless and beneficial for state agencies:
- Designating and training an ADA coordinator will result in state agencies being ADA compliant.
- State agencies will be more inclusive to people with disabilities.
- For people with disabilities, an ADA coordinated agency will provide greater access and public accommodations.
- South Carolinians with disabilities are state residents and have the right to have access to and reasonable accommodations to all state agencies.
SCSILC Access Committee ADA Coordinator Position Statement
For the above-mentioned reasons, the SILC fully affirms the stance that state agencies have the legal responsibility, in compliance with the ADA, to designate and correctly train an ADA Coordinator on staff. As such, the act of assigning and qualifying ADA Coordinators is an act of risk management with real and lasting benefits to the accessibility of services to South Carolinians with Disabilities. Additionally, the SCSILC affirms what the ADA requires: ADA Coordinators, their role, and their contact information should be posted publicly online and in physical locations at a minimum. The SCSILC resolves to host all ADA Coordinator information on their website as a central listing.