November 21, 2001
News Media Contact
Department Nominee Receives Department of Labor honors people with
disabilities advocate Bruce Borden
President’s New Freedom Initiative Award
MADISON – On behalf of President George Bush, U.S. Department of
Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao today recognized Bruce Borden at a
Washington D.C. awards luncheon as one of the first recipients of the
President’s New Freedom Initiative Award. Wisconsin’s Department of
Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Jennifer Alexander nominated Borden
for his collaborative efforts in developing programs and services and
advocating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The
award recognizes individuals, businesses or organizations that demonstrate
exemplary and innovative efforts in furthering the employment objectives
of the President’s New Freedom Initiative.
"For the past twenty years Bruce has devoted much of his time and
efforts to providing more opportunities to people with disabilities,"
said DWD Secretary Jennifer Alexander. "Bruce has provided insight,
personal experience and invaluable expertise to the department in order to
further shape policy, programs and services to benefit people with
disabilities across the state of Wisconsin."
Since a diving accident left him a quadriplegic in 1981, Bruce Borden has
devoted his time and energy to organization, advocacy and coalition
building efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities. The New
Freedom Initiative Award recognizes Bruce’s efforts in:
- Founder of EBTIDE (Economic Benefit through Individualized Disabled
Employment), a grassroots, consumer non-profit organization to remove
employment barriers and promote advancement for people with disabilities
- Creator of legislation for various homeownership initiatives focusing
on affordable housing. Bruce’s leadership and ideas helped design the
legislation which became Section 302 of the "American Homeownership
and Economic Opportunity Act" signed into law in December 2000.
Elimination of Employment Barriers and Financial Disincentives:
- Creation of the Wheel Chair Recycling Program, which enables
low-income families with a member who is disabled to receive equipment
that assists in integrating them into the community more quickly.
- Development of Pathways to Independence (a DVR program), a program
that offers comprehensive services designed to remove or reduce
barriers to employment for people with severe disabilities. Bruce
provided several key concepts including simplified access to
- Architectural lead of DWD’s "Making it Work" project,
designed to eliminate financial disincentives due to loss of
irreplaceable benefits. Bruce analyzed policies and helped raise
awareness that disincentives prevent people with disabilities from
participating in employment opportunities.
- Forging a partnership between EBTIDE and DWD’s Division of
Vocational Rehabilitation for a pilot project called "Work
Without Walls. This initial program utilizes broadband technologies
and video conferencing capabilities to reduce isolation factors for
those with disabilities working from their homes.
Borden received this prestigious award today in Washington D.C. with
DWD Secretary Jennifer Alexander and DVR Administrator Charlene Dwyer in
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