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For anyone in Broward County tasked with recruiting and hiring staff and ensuring that their programs, facilities, activities or services are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA), help is on the way. Broward County’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Professional Standards is offering its second free ADA Symposium on Friday, May 9, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Preregistration by Friday, April 25, is requested.

The symposium is designed for anyone working in a business or industry impacted by the ADA, including architects, advocates, attorneys, engineers, building code officials, contractors, ADA administrators and coordinators, human resource professionals and interior designers.

Steven Patterson, Broward County’s ADA administrator, explains that the ADA, which became law in 1990 and was amended in 2008, is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.

“The purpose of this symposium is to bring awareness and training about the regulations/laws to County employees, local government employees, business owners and any others interested in the ADA or working with the ADA. The intent is to also help eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities within the workplace and with respect to their ability to access programs, facilities, activities and services offered within the County,” said Patterson.

The focus of the symposium will be on first two of the five titles that comprise the ADA: Title I, Employment, and Title II, Public Entities and Public Transportation. One of the symposium’s presenters is from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who will address how the agency interprets the regulations/law and how they enforce them against employers who do not provide reasonable workplace accommodations to disabled employees. Another presenter represents the Department of Justice who will address the regulations and laws and how they are enforced with respect to roads, sidewalks and governmental programs, facilities, activities and services.

Patterson reports that there are more than 37 million Americans classified as disabled, which is about 12 percent of the total U.S. population. This makes people with disabilities the largest single minority group in the country. Floridians with disabilities are the state’s second largest minority group with 2.3 million people, representing 12.8 percent of the population. In Broward County, 8 percent of the working age individuals (16-64) are disabled.

While the symposium is free, preregistration by Friday, April 25, is requested by calling 954-357-6500. For more information, visit