The Great Plains ADA Center serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
The Great Plains (GP) ADA Center is part of the University of Missouri School of Human Environmental Sciences Architectural Studies Department. Our service region stretches over 1,000 miles and consists primarily of rural communities, but also includes the major urban areas of St. Louis Metro, Kansas City Metro, Des Moines, Quad Cities, Omaha, and Wichita.
The GP ADA Center emphasizes capacity-building and ADA implementation strategies. Two main focus areas of our service efforts are:
- Working with communities and businesses to appoint ADA Coordinators and to ensure these Coordinators have access to adequate training, support, and resources, and
- Providing trainings that bring together the disability community, state and local government officials, design community, business personnel, educators, etc.
ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program
The ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program (ACTCP) certifies that participants have completed quality training, which provides the knowledge base and tools necessary to be effective in the role of an ADA Coordinator.
The ACTCP provides five major services.
- Establishes a knowledge base essential to the role of an ADA Coordinator.
- Provides professional support to members.
- Verifies quality sources of training and content.
- Verifies completions of training credits (40 required)
- Provides an examination to demonstrate mastery of content.
Upon completion of the program requirements, participants receive certification for three years. Currently, 708 participants are working toward certification requirements and 140 individuals have received certification.
“Everyone who holds the title of ADA Coordinator needs to have at least a base set of knowledge…. They will be taken more seriously. They will be empowered and they will be more apt to make changes.”
~Liz Stanosheck, Former ADA Coordinator, Nebraska Dept. of Corrections
National ADA Symposium
The National ADA Symposium is a four-day comprehensive conference on the ADA that has been held annually for the past 19 years. The conference offers 72 breakout sessions; preconference, keynote, and advanced discussion groups; and networking activities. Breakout sessions cover topics designed to meet the needs of the diverse group of professionals involved in ADA implementation.
Sessions are presented by nationally recognized experts, including representatives from the key agencies involved in ADA implementation, such as the EEOC, U.S. Access Board, and U.S. Departments of Justice, Labor and Education.
The ADA Symposium is attended by approximately 700 participants from across the United States. Attendees are involved in all areas of ADA implementation and include advocates, ADA coordinators, architects, business community, code officials, educators, employers, government officials, individuals with disabilities and service providers.
Evaluation data shows that the National ADA Symposium has increasing impact on local ADA implementation. Fully 100% of attendees (up from 96% in previous year) surveyed reported that they learned new information, strategies and skills that they use on the job and in their communities.
As highlighted in a Regional Success Story, the GP ADA Center is assisting the City of St. Louis and the U.S. Park Service as it plans major renovation of the St. Louis Arch to make sure people with disabilities have access to all elements of this major project, including the arch, museum and educational centers.
Outreach to Building Code Officials
Building code officials are critical to successful implementation of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design in newly constructed buildings and renovations. As a member of the International Code Council (ICC), the GP ADA Center has successfully reached out to this target group through collaboration with the ICC that develops the International Building Code. These collaborative efforts have included working closely with ICC members to develop and present a “learning track” designed specifically for design officials at the National ADA Symposium. This track has become a feature at the National ADA Symposium and is promoted by the ICC to the building community.
The GP ADA Center has also developed an in-depth training on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessibility specifically for the building code officials. The course has been approved for ICC continuing education units and is promoted through the ICC to its members. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently approved these courses and promotes participation to its members as well.
This continuing collaborative effort has significantly increased the quality of accessibility training available to the design community at all levels. Support from the ICC and AIA has increased the number of design officials who have received in-depth training and validated that following accessibility codes and standards is professional practice.