The DRC was established in 1999 as a centrally funded reasonable accommodation program for employees with disabilities in DOT. Prior to that time, reasonable accommodations were granted at the program office level, often resulting in inconsistent practices among Operating Administrations (OAs) and individual programs. Employees with disabilities advocated for the creation of a Department-wide program where reasonable accommodations would be provided consistently and effectively throughout the Department.
The DRC is centrally funded through the Working Capital Fund (WCF). By consolidating resources in this Department-wide program, the DRC is able to provide reasonable accommodations without an additional impact to an individual OA’s program budget. Each OA contributes to the WCF for the purpose of having access to a variety of centralized Departmental services, of which the DRC is one of those services.
In 2003, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), DOT entered into a partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) Computer/Electronics Accommodation Program (CAP). This partnership provides another resource for obtaining reasonable accommodations. Under this MOU, DOT receives certain types of assistive technologies at no cost from CAP, for as long as CAP funds are available.
While DRC models much of its program on the highly successful CAP program, there are significant differences. First, CAP’s funding source is from a direct appropriation, and funds are spent until they are exhausted each year. This often results in lapses in service toward the end of the fiscal year, or in the beginning of a fiscal year while waiting for an appropriation. DRC’s funding mechanism is different, which provides flexibility to request additional funding based on actual needs in a given year. Second, DRC’s program is designed to provide a broader range of services to our employees than CAP is designed to provide; including interpreting, personal assistance services and readers. The partnership with CAP results in a cost savings to DOT each year toward the purchase of specific assistive technologies, but only represents a fraction of the total services that DRC provides.