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October 26, 2006

RIT/NTID Earns National Honor

From: NTID - Oct 26, 2006

Contact: Karen E. Black
(585) 475-6840


ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 26 – The National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a college of Rochester Institute of Technology, today received the New Freedom Initiative Award from U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. This prestigious honor recognizes exemplary and innovative efforts to recruit, hire and promote people with disabilities and to incorporate the principles of President George W. Bush’s New Freedom Initiative

The award was presented by Secretary Chao at a ceremony at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. Three other non-profit organizations, along with four businesses and one individual, were also honored.

“Americans with disabilities are a valuable part of our workforce,” said Secretary Chao. “The New Freedom Initiative Award ceremony is a great opportunity to recognize the employers, organizations and individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to equal access and opportunity for Americans with disabilities.”

Before 1965, nearly 85 percent of deaf adults worked in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs, because few higher education opportunities existed for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Since NTID was established some 40 years ago, that trend has reversed, as 92 percent of NTID graduates who choose to enter the labor force find employment in business, industry, government, education and other fields that are commensurate with the level of their education and training.

“Education and technology have allowed people with disabilities more opportunities as well as a smoother transition into the workforce,” said Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, CEO/Dean of NTID and Vice President for RIT. “The benefits of hiring people with disabilities are universal.”

Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized as a leader in computing, engineering, imaging technology, fine and applied arts, and for providing unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. RIT is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, where more than 1,100 students with hearing loss from around the world study, live, and socialize with 14,400 hearing students on RIT’s Rochester, N.Y., campus. U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities.

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