Koreans Visit DoD Technology Center
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2004 South Korean representatives visited the Pentagon Oct. 27 to take a look at DoD's Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program's Technology Evaluation Center.
Kun Min Rhee, college professor and director of the
Rehabilitation Technology Center at Taegu University in Kyungsan, South Korea,
checks out equipment for persons with dexterity disabilities on display at
DoD's Computer/Electronics Accommodations Program's Technology Evaluation
Center in the Pentagon Oct. 27. Looking on is Jun Young-Hwan, a member of the
Korea Employment Promotion Agency for the Disabled. Photo by Rudi
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The group, interested in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities in their country had already, had already visited private-sector organizations and universities that have accommodations and training programs for people with disabilities.
Led by Kun Min Rhee, director of the Rehabilitation Technology Center at Taegu University, the group included three representatives of the Korea Employment Promotion Agency for the Disabled.
"KEPAD wants to establish a technology center in Korea for the first time," noted Rhee, also an associate professor and department chair at the university. "I was looking through many centers in the United States to visit, discuss and collect information, and we decided to visit at least one center, which was run by the federal government. We wanted to know more about their policies and how they use assistive technology in the employee's worksite environment."
Rhee contacted Young Woo Kang, presidential appointee to the National Council on Disability, and asked him to arrange a visit to CAPTEC. Kang, who is blind, made the arrangements and accompanied the visitors to the Pentagon.
KEPAD is a South Korean government-run agency that was established in 1990, the same year CAP was created, to hire people with disabilities, Rhee pointed out. He said KEPAD is open any civilian employee who needs assistive-technology services.
The visitors spent about two hours at CAPTEC viewing the equipment and firing volleys of questions at CAPTEC manager Michael Young.
Young pointed out that during his four-year tenure as CAPTEC manager he has greeted disability-employment officials from South Africa, Australia and Japan. "They were interested in emulating and modeling centrally funded accommodations programs similar to CAP in their countries," Young noted.
He explained CAP's services extend to employees of 61 other federal agencies. "Since the program's inception, we have filled more than 40,000 requests for accommodations," he continued. In fiscal 2004, the agency set a record with over 5,500 accommodations provided for employees with disabilities, he told the Korean visitors.
Accommodations include pieces of assistive technology for people with dexterity, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities. The CAP also provides training on the assistive technology.
"It may also include installation and integration issues if an employee's assistive technology will not communicate well or access a particular piece of electronic or information material," he said.
Not only does CAP strive to get people with disabilities into the workforce, "once they're in we want them to have equal opportunities to be promoted and grow," Young said. "That falls back on training. Federal employees, like employees anywhere, need training opportunities in order to advance.
"We support the full employment lifecycle of people with disabilities and increase their opportunities," Young said.