WASHINGTON, May 20, 2015 - A Defense Department program designed to help disabled service members, wounded warriors and federal employees access free assistive technology recently made its 150,000th accommodation.
Founded in 1980, the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program provides free assistive technology and support services for federal employees with disabilities and service members with functional limitations.
Granted by U.S. Congress, and established by the 2000 National Defense Authorization Act, CAP became the first centrally funded reasonable accommodation program in the federal government and is the largest assistive technology program in the world.
Recently, the program made its 150,000th accommodation, a DoD employee experiencing complications as a result of Parkinson's disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system.
"Like so many of our customers, this individual came to CAP not knowing what they needed," said CAP Director, Stephen M. King. "We conducted a comprehensive needs assessment and recommended potential accommodation solutions, including screen magnification software.
"The software, along with other items we identified, was ordered and should be in the customer's hands this week," he said.
King discussed why the program's efforts are unique. "While under no legal obligation to provide accommodations to federal employees outside of DoD," he said, "defense leaders decided to allow other agencies to tap into the program and benefit from its efficiency and ease of use.
"DoD demonstrates our leadership in the disability field by not charging the agencies for the support CAP provides," he added.
According to the disability initiative, since non-DoD agencies began taking advantage of CAP services in 2000, DoD has provided more than $17 million in assistive technologies to support, equip and empower federal employees at 68 partner agencies.
In addition to serving its 150,000th accommodation, King noted that CAP has been recognized as a "best practice" in the federal government.
"We are in the people business," he said. "All of our customers are counting on us to provide the assistance they need, when they need it most. We take our responsibility seriously and are honored to support every one of our customers, but especially service members."
Since CAP expanded to support the military population in 2004, more than 42,000 computer and electronic items have been provided to wounded, ill and injured service members and other military personnel with functional limitations.
According to Michael Young, a CAP technology manager, the program's small, fairly non-descript office in the Pentagon is usually busy with a constant flow of customers as it conducts individual assistance and needs assessments.
There were 302 customer contacts and 60 needs assessments conducted in April alone at the Pentagon CAPTEC Evaluation Center alone, he said.
Young, and Erin Sanderson, assistant CAPTEC manager, are two of the eight civilian employees and 21 contractors who serve as staff for the worldwide-reaching program.
Both CAPTEC managers also noted the program isn't just for active duty troops; the initiative allows separating service members to retain equipment after separation enabling them to pursue education and employment opportunities.
Customers wishing to visit the CAPTEC evaluation center can schedule an appointment via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 703-693-5160.