On February 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative. Founded upon the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New Freedom Initiative represents a comprehensive set of proposals designed to ensure that Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, make choices about their daily lives, and participate fully in their communities. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is uniquely charged with providing a national focus on enhancing the employment of people with disabilities. As such, ODEP has the key responsibility for implementing the employment-related aspects of the President's New Freedom Initiative.
Secretary of Labor's New Freedom Initiative Award
Established in 2002, the Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award annually recognizes non-profits, small businesses, corporations and individuals that have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts in furthering the employment and workplace environment for people with disabilities, a goal of President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative. On October 24, 2007, at the Sixth Annual New Freedom Initiative Awards ceremony, Secretary Elaine L. Chao presented awards to six winners. The occasion also marked the second annual presentation of the Secretary’s SPIRIT Award.
NFI Circle of Champions Share Successes
Beginning in October 2006, the Circle of Champions (CoC), comprising the NFI awardees in the business category, has become a valuable resource to ODEP. CoC participants have come together twice each year to help inform disability employment policy by sharing proven business strategies and effective practices that result in recruiting, hiring and advancing the careers of people with disabilities.