Through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, awarded on a competitive basis, the Secretary is authorized to fund a technical assistance program to provide technical assistance to entities, principally entities funded under section 3011 or 3012 of this title.
In designing the program to be funded under this section, and in deciding the differences in function between national and regionally based technical assistance efforts carried out through the program, the Secretary shall consider the input of the directors of comprehensive statewide programs of technology-related assistance and other individuals the Secretary determines to be appropriate, especially—
(1) individuals with disabilities who use assistive technology and understand the barriers to the acquisition of such technology and assistive technology services;
(2) family members, guardians, advocates, and authorized representatives of such individuals; and
(3) individuals employed by protection and advocacy systems funded under section 3012 of this title.
The Secretary shall fund the establishment and maintenance of a National Public Internet Site for the purposes of providing to individuals with disabilities and the general public technical assistance and information on increased access to assistive technology devices, assistive technology services, and other disability-related resources.
To be eligible to receive a grant or enter into a contract or cooperative agreement under subsection (a) of this section to establish and maintain the Internet site, an entity shall be an institution of higher education that emphasizes research and engineering, has a multidisciplinary research center, and has demonstrated expertise in—
(i) working with assistive technology and intelligent agent interactive information dissemination systems;
(ii) managing libraries of assistive technology and disability-related resources;
(iii) delivering education, information, and referral services to individuals with disabilities, including technology-based curriculum development services for adults with low-level reading skills;
(iv) developing cooperative partnerships with the private sector, particularly with private sector computer software, hardware, and Internet services entities; and
(v) developing and designing advanced Internet sites.
The National Public Internet Site described in subparagraph (A) shall contain the following features:
The site shall be designed so that any member of the public may obtain information posted on the site at any time.
The site shall be constructed with an innovative automated intelligent agent that is a diagnostic tool for assisting users in problem definition and the selection of appropriate assistive technology devices and assistive technology services resources.
The site shall include access to a comprehensive working library on assistive technology for all environments, including home, workplace, transportation, and other environments.
The site shall include resources relating to the largest possible number of disabilities, including resources relating to low-level reading skills.
To the extent feasible, the site shall be linked to relevant private sector resources and information, under agreements developed between the institution of higher education and cooperating private sector entities.
At a minimum, the Internet site shall maintain updated information on—
(i) how to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate activities to further extend comprehensive statewide programs of technology-related assistance, including the development and replication of effective approaches to—
(I) providing information and referral services;
(II) promoting interagency coordination of training and service delivery among public and private entities;
(III) conducting outreach to underrepresented populations and rural populations;
(IV) mounting successful public awareness activities;
(V) improving capacity building in service delivery;
(VI) training personnel from a variety of disciplines; and
(VII) improving evaluation strategies, research, and data collection;
(ii) effective approaches to the development of consumer-controlled systems that increase access to, funding for, and awareness of, assistive technology devices and assistive technology services;
(iii) successful approaches to increasing the availability of public and private funding for and access to the provision of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services by appropriate State agencies; and
(iv) demonstration sites where individuals may try out assistive technology.
In carrying out the technical assistance program, taking into account the input required under subsection (b) of this section, the Secretary shall ensure that entities—
(A) address State-specific information requests concerning assistive technology from other entities funded under this subchapter and public entities not funded under this subchapter, including—
(i) requests for state-of-the-art, or model, Federal, State, and local laws, regulations, policies, practices, procedures, and organizational structures, that facilitate, and overcome barriers to, funding for, and access to, assistive technology devices and assistive technology services;
(ii) requests for examples of policies, practices, procedures, regulations, administrative hearing decisions, or legal actions, that have enhanced or may enhance access to funding for assistive technology devices and assistive technology services for individuals with disabilities;
(iii) requests for information on effective approaches to Federal-State coordination of programs for individuals with disabilities, related to improving funding for or access to assistive technology devices and assistive technology services for individuals with disabilities of all ages;
(iv) requests for information on effective approaches to the development of consumer-controlled systems that increase access to, funding for, and awareness of, assistive technology devices and assistive technology services;
(v) other requests for technical assistance from other entities funded under this subchapter and public entities not funded under this subchapter; and
(vi) other assignments specified by the Secretary, including assisting entities described in section 3013(b) of this title to develop corrective action plans; and
(B) assist targeted individuals by disseminating information about—
(i) Federal, State, and local laws, regulations, policies, practices, procedures, and organizational structures, that facilitate, and overcome barriers to, funding for, and access to, assistive technology devices and assistive technology services, to promote fuller independence, productivity, and inclusion in society for individuals with disabilities of all ages; and
(ii) technical assistance activities undertaken under subparagraph (A).
To be eligible to compete for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements under this section, entities shall have documented experience with and expertise in assistive technology service delivery or systems, interagency coordination, and capacity building and advocacy activities.
To be eligible to receive a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement under this section, an entity shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.
(Pub. L. 105–394, title I, §104, Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3648.)
This section is referred to in sections 3011, 3013, 3015 of this title.