ADA 25 Chicago Summit Explores Opportunities

November 19, 2015

On November 16 and 17, leaders from throughout the region and the country gathered for ADA 25 Chicago’s Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit. Attendees explored strategies to increase access and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in education and employment.

"On this 25th anniversary of the ADA, we need to mark the progress but also note the work ahead of us," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at the event.

Representatives from Microsoft, Harvard, Walgreens, the Federal Communications Commission, and more joined the conversations on panels. Speakers and breakout sessions shared information about accessible technology, education policy, hiring candidates with disabilities, and the power of individuals with disabilities in the marketplace. U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez emphasized this area of priority.

“The biggest piece of unfinished business from the ADA is employment," Perez said.

Another highlight of the summit was an announcement by Karen Tamley, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, introducing the first class of Leadership Institute Fellows. The Leadership Institute will convene emerging leaders with disabilities to create solutions for increased inclusion in Chicago’s civic leadership. Although conversations at the summit identified many areas of need, the beginning of initiatives like the Leadership Institute spark hope for futures progress.

"With sound leaders like those of you in this room, we can create more places for Americans with disabilities to succeed," said Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.

Center for Independent Futures is proud to be one of over 200 organizations joining ADA 25 Chicago to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by creating partnerships around disability issues. Read more about our commitments here. For more information about ADA 25 Chicago, visit


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