The Fedcap School Graduates Another Remarkable Class

The Fedcap School Graduates Another Remarkable Class

Seventeen remarkable young people graduated from The Fedcap School in a ceremony on June 14, 2022. This year’s class continued an exceptional metric of success for The Fedcap School—100 percent of enrolled students have graduated over the past five years. All of this year’s graduates are either starting jobs or going to college.

Many of the students are the first in their family to graduate from high school. One graduate, a young woman who joined the school at 13 and is now 21, struggled hard at first but has earned a bonded security license to provide security for banks. She said, “I thought I would never make it to this day. I’m a different person now and I can hardly believe it.”

“I was especially proud of this group because they had two years of remote instruction,” said Fedcap School Director Luanne Macri. “I saw firsthand what being out of school for that long did to them, and how they regressed. They missed their friends. It was hard, and it took a while to get it all back.”

Eric Waters, Senior Director of Wildcat, a company of The Fedcap Group, gave an inspiring keynote speech to the graduates and guests. He talked about his long years of work in the child welfare system, and his current work with people who are incarcerated. Eric teaches a class at Sing Sing Prison, and recently asked his students, many of whom were incarcerated at a young age, if they had any messages for the graduates. One of the men, who has been incarcerated for decades, responded with a moving and powerful letter that resonated deeply with the graduates: “Prison is a lonely place where all your friends and even family forget who you are. Think long and hard about what you want to become, and the places you don’t want to go. Your graduation is a step in the right direction. Now prove to the doubters that you are something. Too often we lose track of who we are and head down the wrong path. The memory of today and the happiness you feel needs to be what keeps you moving in a positive direction. Don’t give up on your dreams or take your freedom for granted.”

Located in West Orange, NJ, The Fedcap School is dedicated to helping students ages 13-21 classified with cognitive, multiple, or behavioral disabilities succeed, thrive into adulthood and achieve sustainable economic well-being. Students are eligible, and encouraged as indicated, to stay with the school until age 21, so that they can continue to receive needed services. “That way, we can focus on work readiness, attitude, and building the skills needed to be successful in college or the workplace—things unfamiliar to many of our students,” Luanne said.

The Fedcap School’s graduation success rate, and the accomplishments of the job and college-bound graduates, is all the more remarkable given that all students who attend The Fedcap School are diagnosed with emotional regulation impairment (ERI), which can be characterized by an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships, inappropriate behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances, or a pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression. Abuse, incest and violence are common occurrences in the lives of the students. Many have lost family members to violence, and all have been approached to join a gang.

What accounts for The Fedcap School’s profound impact on the lives of these children, and the team’s success if helping them to graduate?

“Students with ERI are hard to manage and that makes placement difficult, so we made a decision years ago to ensure that we were a solid resource and successfully serve children with ERI,” Luanne said. “We do it by communicating, by listening and suspending judgment. It’s easy to judge based on how they talk and act, but we listen to earn their confidence, and we respect them so they will respect themselves and us. I have seen and heard things where I have to hold it together, then go find someplace to cry and shake it off. It isn’t a job for the faint of heart.”

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GRADUATES!

Gabriel Galvez Gains Stability for Himself—and His Family—Through Working with Fedcap Rehabilitation

Gabriel Galvez Gains Stability for Himself—and His Family—Through Working with Fedcap Rehabilitation


Gabriel Galvez had a hard time as a young man. He struggled with depression and made some poor decisions along the way. After a period of incarceration, he had a moment of clarity that he said hit him “like a shining star.”


“I was headed down the wrong path and didn’t realize the harm he was causing to myself and my family. I didn’t want to live in poverty. I know I could do better.”

He certainly has, A hardworking father of two, Gabriel, 31, started working for Fedcap at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building on 125th Street in Manhattan. It was a long way from his home in Brooklyn, and he and his wife had to pay for child care because they couldn’t pick their kids up from school. Gabriel was able to transfer to 14th Street to work on sanitizing projects related to the pandemic. It was closer to home, but an even better opportunity soon presented itself.

In December, 2021, when Fabio Lopez, Area Manager for Fedcap Total Facilities Management (TFM), got a call about a vacancy on the MTA contract at 130 Livingston Street Plaza in Brooklyn, he called supervisors at 14th Street to see if they could recommend someone. They could; it was Gabriel.

From the start of his work for Fedcap, Gabriel was known as a great worker. “I was told that he would be a perfect fit for that location because of how he had proven himself as an employee,” Fabio said. “There were no issues at all with him and he always gave 110 percent.”

Herbert Mercado, Gabriel’s supervisor at 14th Street, concurs. “He got along well with all the other workers and always got the job done. I was happy to recommend him.”

“To me learning is fun,” Gabriel said. “I’m very handy, and I try to be open-minded. I like to help people out, I have always been that way.”

The move to 130 Livingston Street would be a good one for Gabriel. With the potential for COVID-related services winding down, and with two children ages 14 and 6 to provide for, Gabriel wanted something more stable. The work at Livingston offered that, as well as opportunities to become a team leader or field supervisor. It also meant a morning shift, leaving him enough time to pick up his kids at school.

Prior to the move becoming official, Fabio met with Gabriel at 14th Street. “He was very motivated,” Fabio said. “He opened up about how grateful he was to Fedcap for providing him with the opportunity for more stable work so that he could continue to provide for his family.”

John Savilli, Facilities Manager for the MTA-NYC- Headquarters, 130 Livingston, has been working with Gabriel since he joined the MTA contract at Livingston in March, 2022. One of the things that John noticed immediately about Gabriel is that he loves to help his colleagues. He’s very communicative, and eager to teach new skills and techniques that he has learned on the job.

For example, on a recent Saturday, Gabriel came in to learn about a new process for stripping and waxing floors. The process involved new cleaning procedures and chemicals, and Gabriel dove right in, asking questions, learning it cold, and eagerly explaining it to his colleagues.

“I never saw anyone so excited about learning a new process,” John said. “He even had some suggestions for how it could be improved. Gabriel is a real gentleman, very outgoing and very resourceful, and a mentor to other employees. He always goes above and beyond and will work any shift where he is needed, including emergency shift, overnights and weekends.”

Gabriel is thrilled with his new job, and hopes one day to be a team leader or supervisor for Fedcap. “Fedcap has been a great community and family for me. I have learned so much, and they help me out a lot with my personal disability. I’ve learned to be more aware of certain things. Fedcap is just awesome, one of a kind.”

Fedcap Rehabilitation Workers Thanked for Keeping GSA Facilities Open During Pandemic

Fedcap Rehabilitation Workers Thanked for Keeping GSA Facilities Open During Pandemic

 

Fedcap Rehabilitation workers at the GSA New Jersey Consolidated contract have shown unwavering commitment throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.

On Tuesday, March 29, Fedcap Rehabilitation President Steve Coons visited with the team for a thank-you lunch provided by GSA. Also present were GSA’s Gary Palmer, Mark Drumel, and John Beier, who all praised the Fedcap client worker staffs for their service, their selfless work ethic, and attention to detail as they kept the GSA facilities safe and open for business every day during the Pandemic, for tenants as well as the public who utilize these facilities.

April is Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month. This special recognition, created in 1972 by the autism community, was changed from autism “awareness” to “acceptance” because the community wanted to move the conversation away from “awareness,” a word it considers stigmatizing, as if autism were a threat about which we must be vigilant.

Autism is certainly not that. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a developmental disability characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. There are many subtypes of autism, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. Over 7 million people in the United States are on the autism spectrum–people from all racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. According to the CDC, one in 44 children is diagnosed with autism.

The increased prevalence of autism, and a growing understanding of what it is and what it is not, underscores the urgent need for education, equitable access to diagnostic evaluations, and early interventions that have a significant impact on lifelong outcomes. Young people and adults with autism urgently need greater access to employment. Up to 85 percent of college educated adults with autism are unemployed, and over 70 percent of adults with autism are underemployed or unemployed. Especially in a time of chronic labor shortages, companies could benefit by hiring more people who have autism and are neurodiverse—these individuals bring a wide range of skills to the workplace that can be harnessed with modest accommodations.

The companies of The Fedcap Group have long embraced best practices around autism evaluation and early intervention, providing evidence-based treatment for children and their families living with ASD. Our companies are at the cutting edge of advocacy, employment, and support services for young people and adults living with autism—having just established the Greenleaf Neurodiversity Center in Austin TX, helping young people transition to rewarding, community-based jobs. These services have had a profound impact on so many lives—and stand as a powerful rebuke to the stigmatization of autism, and a resounding affirmation of acceptance. All of our lives are richer when people of all abilities participate fully in community life.

Please join us during Autism Acceptance Month in celebrating people of all abilities. Thank you for striving toward making acceptance the new normal.

Fedcap’s Document Management brings One Stop Solutions to Business

Fedcap’s Document Management brings One Stop Solutions to Business

The Fedcap Group has been recognized as a pioneer in social enterprise since its founding 87 years ago. That proud tradition lives on today in the work of Fedcap Rehabilitation’s Digital Imaging and Document Management team.

Under the leadership of Kevin Pugh, the team’s excellent work has left a trail of very satisfied internal customers. “When the Document Management team started working at different customer sites, we talked about delivering the best quality of services and viewing all opportunities as potential customers with referrals,” Kevin said. “I am extremely proud of the staff because of their dedication and commitment to successfully establish the first mobile scanning team at Fedcap.”

Fedcap’s Career Services program offers youth and adults (18-24 years) applying for or receiving cash assistance benefits opportunities to help them increase their job skills and build a career that will lead to success and financial security. Referrals are made through the program’s contract partner, NYC Human Resources Administration.

Each year Career Services programs are audited by the city and state, and are required to maintain client records, said Kelly Washburn, Senior Director of Workforce Development. The program, which began in 2017, was paper-based for its first years of operation, generating mountains of paperwork including intake forms, job search logs and assessments that were stored in hundreds of boxes in file rooms.

The excessive storage created major headaches. Document retrieval was inefficient and time-consuming. Storage was expensive, as there was no room to keep all the boxes on site. Fedcap Inc. maintains a risk register for all programs of factors that could adversely impact program operations or contract requirements. The paper overload problem in Career Services was part of the register.

When the pandemic hit and referrals were put on hold, the team saw an opportunity to digitize the documents. Kelly heard about the document management team from a colleague, and a decision was made to use this valuable internal resource. Within a week Kevin assessed the job, and provided cost breakdowns and a proposal. Coordinating with the program’s operations manager, Kevin brought the equipment on site, and then brought in his team.

The work began in October—converting documents into images and digitizing the entire filing system—and was completed by the end of March. The program is far more organized and efficient now. Client files stored in a secure SharePoint folder can be accessed with the click of a button, whereas before staff might have searched for hours or days. Digitization never would have happened without the document management team, as it would have taken staff years of work and cut into valuable client time.

”The team was super professional and efficient, and made everything so easy for us,” Kelly said. “They treated us like any valued commercial customer, and far exceeded expectations.”

When Silvia Estrada started her current position as Director of Justice Initiatives for Fedcap Inc., filing and recordkeeping for the Rikers SMART program were paper-based. With no formalized system and piles of boxes and paperwork, Silvia reached out to Kevin for help. The team picked up the boxes of documents and organized them so that every single case file had a name and could be easily accessed. When the SMART contract was up for renewal the team returned a second time to organize documents for the jail-based program, and again the team came through, completing the job within a week.

The impact of the document management team’s work has been remarkable, saving uncountable staff hours. The program is audited regularly by its funder, NYC Department of Corrections—there have been three separate audits since the digitization effort. In the past it took a month to prepare for audits, and required a team of five people to search for the relevant documents. Now, it takes a few days, and Silvia can do it herself. “This is an amazing resource that a few years ago we didn’t know existed,” she said.

While Fedcap Rehab’s Article 31 clinic in the Bronx maintains electronic records for current clients, it had a massive backlog of paper records that it was obliged to maintain for six years. Kevin’s team came to the location and did the scanning work onsite, and arranged for proper disposal of paper records.

“Kevin devised a one-stop solution for us, and did it in accordance with HIPPA requirements,” said Ed Bolognini, Executive Director of Wildcat and ReServe. “They delivered platinum-level service ahead of schedule and at an excellent price. Whenever I call Kevin with a question he calls me back ASAP and remembers every detail about the job. This is social enterprise at its best, delivering a quality product while having an impact in keeping with our mission.”

To find out how our Print Imaging and Document Management Services can capture and maintain your vital data, contact Kevin Pugh, Document Management Manager, at kpugh@fedcap.org.

Judge Robert Katzmann – A Preeminent Jurist, Leader and Friend Who Saw Potential in Everyone

Judge Robert Katzmann – A Preeminent Jurist, Leader and Friend Who Saw Potential in Everyone

With great sadness we mark the passing of Judge Robert Katzmann, a preeminent jurist and longtime friend and supporter of Fedcap Rehabilitation Services. Judge Katzmann was praised by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as “a visionary who brings out the best in people,” and having “an innate sense of justice, morality and integrity.”  

Judge Katzmann was a strong supporter of the AbilityOne program, in which people with disabilities work and flourish in settings such as the Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse. Many of the janitorial and maintenance personnel working for Fedcap Rehabilitation Services were happy and honored to work in Judge Katzmann’s chambers and courtrooms, as he performed his important work for the Second Circuit. 

“Judge Katzmann was a tremendous supporter and advocate for people with disabilities through his work, and generous deeds,” said Steve Coons, President, Fedcap Rehabilitation Services. “The men and women with disabilities working at the Courthouse have lost a leader and advocate who saw potential in everyone, and everyone who came into contact with Judge Katzmann knew that they profoundly mattered to him – and for that, we at Fedcap are so very grateful.”  

As chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, Judge Katzmann helped guarantee legal representation to immigrants and championed civic education. The son and grandson of Jewish refugees who fled Germany and Russia, Judge Katzmann spearheaded the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, the first government-funded program of legal assistance for noncitizens who were being held by federal authorities. The project evolved into the Immigrant Justice Corps, the nation’s first fellowship program dedicated to providing competent counsel for immigrants. 

“Almost single-handedly, he convinced the organized bar to provide free quality representation for thousands of needy immigrants,” Jed S. Rakoff, a senior U.S. District Court Judge, told the New York Times. “No judge ever took a broader view of the role of a judge in promoting justice in our society or was more successful in turning those views into practical accomplishment.”

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Remembering Herb Sturz – Our Colleague, Friend and Champion

Remembering Herb Sturz – Our Colleague, Friend and Champion

It is with great sorrow that we mark the passing of Herb Sturz, a legendary social entrepreneur, towering figure in criminal justice reform, and great friend and supporter of The Fedcap Group. Herb had a genius for bringing people together and getting things done. He was a trailblazer with a passion for justice whose life work and impact are felt worldwide. He leaves an indelible legacy that will inspire future generations.

“Herb was a beloved friend, and I am deeply saddened by his passing,” said Christine McMahon, President and CEO of The Fedcap Group. “He had the ability to take complex issues and simplify them to a few points, to create an environment in which everyone could get on board. Despite his towering achievements over nearly 50 years, Herb was always humble, and never sought power—only results. His passing is a great loss to all who believe in justice.”

Herb’s life was dedicated to fighting for the vulnerable and disadvantaged He had an unshakable belief that people deserve a second chance, regardless of their past mistakes. His accomplishments are legion. Herb was the founder or co-founder of Wildcat, ReServe, TASC, the Center for Court Innovation, Project Renewal, Vera Institute of Justice, Neighborhood Improvement Project and numerous other organizations. He served as New York City Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice and Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission, Herb was a member of the editorial board of The New York Times and, he spearheaded a decades-long effort to close the jails on Rikers Island.

Herb’s impact on The Fedcap Group cannot be overstated. In 1972 he founded Wildcat, the nation’s first organization to design and implement a transitional work program for unemployed persons with conviction histories. He was the force behind Wildcat becoming part of The Fedcap Group. In 2005 he co-founded ReServe, to place experienced workers over 55 years of age with government and social services agencies to help fill critical staffing gaps. “ReServists” have provided many millions of hours of service, creating huge impact in poverty fighting, education, health care and capacity building. In 2013, ReServe joined The Fedcap Group and continues to grow and expand its impact. In 2007, Herb and partners, with generous help from the Atlantic Philanthropies, turned Single Stop—a national organization committed to building pathways out of poverty build pathways out of poverty for people with barriers to economic well-being—into a separate nonprofit agency. To date, Single Stop has helped 1.9 million households recover $6 billion in benefits. In 2017 Single Stop became part of The Fedcap Group and its technology continues to help thousands find the critical government supports they need. View The Fedcap Group’s tribute to Herb Sturz.

A child of immigrants who came through Ellis Island, Herb’s career began in the 1950s, when he wrote a 10-part series on the Bill of Rights for Boys’ Life magazine. The feature led to a meeting with Louis Schweitzer, an activist millionaire. Together they formed the Bail Reform Project, which spared many low-level offenders from long prison stays and served as a national model. The two men founded The Vera Institute of Justice in 1961. The agency undertook groundbreaking work in criminal justice reform that continues today and generated close to 60 other projects related to criminal justice, community courts, prison reform, addiction, homelessness and job training.

In 1967 Herb founded Project Renewal, which provides an array of integrated programs and services to the most vulnerable New Yorkers. He founded Wildcat Service Corporation in 1972, the nation’s first organization to implement a transitional work program for unemployed persons with criminal convictions.

1975 was a busy year for Herb. He founded Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest nonprofit victim assistance agency that touches the lives of more than 250,000 children, adults, and families affected by crime and abuse in NYC. He entered government as Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice, and later, City Planning Commission Chair under Mayor Ed Koch. As Chair, Herb developed a number of neighborhood-planning initiatives, including an Arson Strike Force, which sought to combat the epidemic of fires ravaging tenements in low-income neighborhoods.

In 1998, Herb founded The After-School Corporation (today called Expanded Schools), creating the nation’s first citywide system of quality K-12 after-school programs. At Herb’s urging, George Soros, the billionaire investor and founder of the Open Society Institute (where Herb was a trustee), made a five-year challenge grant of $125 million. The investment paid off, with matching public and private funding of over $375 million supporting 250 programs that serve over 40,000 children.

In 1999, Herb helped create the Afterschool Alliance, an advocacy group that raises awarenessabout the importance of making quality, affordable programs available to all children. The Alliance currently includes 163 mayors, 106 police chiefs, and 63 prosecutors, along with many social service agencies and major corporations. He helped put together Afterschool Congressional Caucuses in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives.

Mayor Ed Koch took office in 1978 promising to end “inhumane conditions” at NYC jails. He set about making good on his promise by naming Herb Sturz, Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice, a title later changed to Coordinator of Criminal Justice. In 1979 Mayor Koch and NY State Governor Hugh Carey announced a plan for the city to lease Rikers Island to the state for 99 years for $200 million to be used to build five new jails in the boroughs and rehabilitate Rikers. Under the plan, Rikers would house only those convicted of serious crimes, not those awaiting trial or sentencing. The deal was negotiated by Herb Sturz and Robert Morgado, the Governor’s secretary.

During two days of hearings about the plan in October 1979, Herb described the numerous Rikers Island riots and court battles, and “an alarming number of suicides.” He said there were “two basic things wrong: it is in the wrong place and would need $100 million in repairs to make it safe”. He said the lease deal would allow the city to rid itself of Rikers Island and “make a fresh start to build the best system in the nation.”

Herb’s long fight to shutter Rikers Island was realized in 2019, when the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform voted to close the jails on Rikers Island. “Herb was a dear friend and colleague,” said Michael Weinstein, Executive Director of Impact Matters, ReServe Board Chair and Single Stop board member. “He was someone who had great ideas and got things done, and always looked to the future. He was very in involved in closing down Rikers and turning it into something much better. It’s sad he won’t see it happen, but it will happen.”

It is hard to imagine New York City without the impact of Herb Sturz. Herb was much more than a visionary social reformer. He was a great listener, a warm, compassionate man who was a friend and mentor to so many. He never dismissed or made assumptions about people who held opposing views, and never lost sight of his goals. His quiet powers of persuasion helped to make the world a better place.

Herb will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on.

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Fedcap Rehabilitation Teams Help GSA Sites Stay Safe

Fedcap Rehabilitation Teams Help GSA Sites Stay Safe

Fedcap Rehabilitation, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit agencies for janitorial, mechanical maintenance, and other services, has been providing the General Services Administration (GSA) with facilities management and custodial services since 1977. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, 2020, Fedcap crews began working 24/7 at GSA Federal Buildings in Newark and Paterson, NJ, to protect tenants and the public from the virus.

Whenever a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case is reported in any of the buildings, teams don Tyvek suits and perform “hot” deep cleaning with CDC-approved coronavirus-killing disinfectants, following the virus’ path from building entry to exit. Crew members perform augmented cleaning services at GSA properties multiple times each day, ensuring that all touchpoints are disinfected, including elevators, doors, restrooms, and fire escape handrails, as well as thoroughly disinfecting entire work areas.

Fedcap workers handle a variety of cleaning services for our GSA customers, including carpet sanitizing, shampooing and vacuuming, daily bathroom cleanings, and restocking of paper products. All Fedcap staff members are properly trained and outted for handling our daily contract obligations at all of our GSA facilities, including employee uniforms, PPE, cleaning supplies and equipment, and more.

“I am extremely grateful and proud of the incredible work, collaboration, teaming history, and corporate partnership Fedcap and GSA has in place, especially given the many challenges we continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic,”said Steve Coons, President of Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, Inc. “Because of GSA’s committed leadership, strong communication efforts, and mission focus, Fedcap is able to support GSA in all areas related to COVID disinfecting responses, and other tenant support services that are critical in keeping the GSA managed facilities operationally ready, clean, safe, and open for business at all times.” 

Fedcap also handles snow removal operations at the four GSA sites in New Jersey locations. This work includes ensuring that GSA building steps, sidewalks, garage ramps, security barricades, open plazas, outdoor parking lots and access streets remain clear of ice & snow. The Fedcap team is equipped with ice melt materials,ice melt spreading equipment, snow shovels, motorized power brooms, snow plowing tractors, snow plow trucks equipped with ice melt spreaders, and even small size front-end loaders for snow removal operations.

When some of the biggest snowstorms in years hit the region, Fedcap crews were always ready to jump into action—no matter the time of day or amount of snow.“There have been times when the crew has worked 12-16 hours straight to ensure that safe conditions are in place for the public,GSA employees, GSA customers and anyone else coming and going from GSA facilities,”said Jon Cray, Contract Project Manager, Fedcap Building Services. 

In addition to four sites in New Jersey— three in Newark and one in Paterson— Fedcap serves nine GSA sites in Manhattan and three sites in Brooklyn, totaling over 7.6 million square feet.

Download a PDF of this article here. 

 

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Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which President George H.W. Bush, who signed the ADA into law, described as “a declaration of equality.” The legislation was widely hailed as expanding the rights and independence of Americans with disabilities, and as “the most sweeping anti-discrimination measure since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

The ADA banned discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government’ programs and services to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Today we take ramps, closed captioning and workplace accommodations for granted, but prior to the ADA these were not available for the tens of millions of Americans living with a disability.

The Fedcap Group is honored to recognize the 30th anniversary of the ADA, which brought fairness, opportunity and fulfillment to the lives of millions. We understand the life-changing implications of having the opportunity to reach one’s own potential.

Thanks to the ADA and the brave individuals with disabilities who fought for its passage, we no longer think of people with disabilities as different from anyone else. There is still a long way to go to ensure full rights and participation, but we stand with the nation in celebrating this milestone legislation as well as the immeasurable contributions of people with disabilities to the safety, prosperity and wellbeing of our country.

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