As the part of the nation's most established and respected membership association for rehabilitation professionals, we welcome you to the Website of the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association (MRA).  MRA members work to eliminate barriers and increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  We provide our members opportunities for advocacy and increased awareness of issues through professional development and access to current research topics. Together, we work towards a society where there are no barriers, environmental or attitudinal, to full employment and participation in life. We invite you to join our growing community by becoming a member today!

Presidents Corner

Click here for a video message from MRA President, Wally Waranka.

My Reflections on 25 Years of the ADA

Twenty-five years ago the ADA was signed into action and since that time it has been a very interesting journey.

The ADA was made an Act so there could be more flexibility, if needed, to work on issues and concerns through the courts.  This has been an ongoing process, which has seen some good and bad results from these cases.

We have made some progress when it comes to making places accessible and open to all; but that does not mean are done.  We still have more to do.

How about in housing, for example.  The process of constructing accessible housing has been slow.  Affordable, accessible living space needs to be put into construction plans immediately.  It’s a lot easier to build accessible housing, than to have to make housing accessible later.

Transportation has gotten better for everyone, but there are still some areas where the availability and the way transportation is provided still needs additional work to make it fully accessible.

Telecommunications has made some of the biggest movements forward for us with the advent of smart phones.  With built-in text reading programs, accessible programs and apps for both phones and computers, persons with special needs can participate like anyone else.

But, one area that still puzzles me. When I go to a movie theater, I am able to watch a movie with descriptive commentary.  But, when the same movie comes out on DVD, the descriptive track is often not available.  Why is that?  Is it that difficult to put descriptive audio on that DVD?

When I get to employment, this is the biggest area that stands out for me.  Over the past 25 years, can someone explain to me why the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has not changed and some would say has even gotten worse?  What changes need to be made, so all qualified individuals have the opportunities to get meaningful, long term employment?

These are just a few of my observations of the ADA.  Why is it that we are still having to deal with a lot of this after 25 years?

I feel the ADA still has to find solutions in the area of educating the public.  We, as a people, need to keep working to get the word out that we are just like everyone else.

We may have some different ways we accomplish our daily tasks, but that does not mean we are different from everyone else.

I am a person first, just like we are all persons.  Being blind is only a part of who I am.  Blindness does not define me. 

Yes, it does affect the way I have had to go through life but at 55 years old I don’t feel I have had a pretty bad life on the contrary it is really pretty good.

After 25 years I would hope that society would be more open to us as a group to be with.

Yes we are out there more and are around doing everyday things but we still get many different reaction from those we encounter and can get treated in so many defend ways.

I have been in the field of working with fellow people with disabilities an what I feel is a barrier to the number of unemployed getting in to the work force is the issue of not understanding or knowing about hiring people with disabilities.

Yes we can make all the requirements to have people with disabilities hired but if the business does not understand nor has fears of hiring us it just won’t happen.

I do feel it has to come from the CEO or president that this is one of his goals for the company to bring on board qualified individuals with disabilities and then work with the whole company to help all answer questions and concerns.

There are still many businesses out there that have a lot of wrong ideas about what it will cost or do to their bottom line and in reality they would be getting an excellent e employee.

25 years have come and we have made some movements forward an as we go ahead I call us all to step up to educate and advance us forward by getting more to except us as full participants in are daily world existents.

Wally Waranka

 MRA News

Fall 2015 Spotlight Now Available

Sep 28 2015

The Fall 2015 Spotlight is now available! To download it and other Spotlight Issues please visit the Spotlight Page

JPD is Taking Nominations for Placement Person and Employer of the Year!

Sep 02 2015

Click here to nominate an Employer of the Year

Click here to nominate Placement Person of the Year

MRCEA is Seeking Student Scholarship Applicants

Aug 25 2015

MRCEA is seeking student scholarship applicants for a chance to serve as MRCEA Student Representative. Award winner will receive memberships into MRA and MRCEA and small cash stipends to defray student's costs of entering employment.

MRCEA is now taking Counselor of the Year Nominations

Aug 25 2015

Minnesota Rehabilitation Counselors and Educators Association Wishes to recognize an outstanding counselor at the MRA Banquet dinner on Thursday, October 22.

Please join us for our JPD Christmas in June Holiday Party

Jun 18 2015

On Thursday, June 25th 

4:30pm - 7:30pm

at Beef O Brady’s

254 W Broadway St, Monticello, MN 55362

4:30 pm -- Hors d’oeuvres &

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Membership in the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association (MRA), with simultaneous membership in the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA), offers many excellent opportunities to further develop your professional skills, knowledge and relationships. Learn More >>

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