Microsoft Employees Receive Hammer Award for Assistive Technology

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 28, 1999 — Following closely on President Clinton’s January 13 commitment to make the federal government a “model user of assistive technology,” the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR) today presented the coveted Hammer Award to a team led by the Department of Education, which devised comprehensive requirements for accessible software design. As members of the team, Greg Lowney, director of accessibility for Microsoft, and David Bolnick, accessibility program manager, as well as representatives from Trace Research and Development and IBM, were honored with individual Hammer Awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Vice President Al Gore introduced the Hammer Award in 1993 to recognize teams of federal employees, state and local employees, and citizens, who are making government work better and cost less. Created as a direct response to the $400 hammers uncovered in government budgets by federal auditors, the Hammer Award consists of a $6.00 carpenter’s hammer, a ribbon, and a note from the Vice President, all in an aluminum frame.

The Department of Education considers universal accessibility to information a priority for all employees and external customers, including individuals with disabilities. With assistance from Microsoft, Trace Research and Development and IBM, the Department’s Assistive Technology Team established the Requirements for Accessibility Software Design to ensure the accessibility of its programs and activities to individuals with disabilities. The guidelines also are used widely by federal agencies to ensure compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 when they are purchasing information technology systems.

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