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Gateway Technical College has been honored with the statewide Disability Justice Award for 2019 for its work to create an “accessible, welcoming educational environment for students,” the group said as it announced the recognition.

Disability Justice is a nonprofit civil rights organization that advocates for the civil rights of people with disabilities that may be visible, invisible, temporary or long-term. They presented the college with the award at the Gateway Technical College Board of Trustees meeting yesterday morning.

“Gateway Technical College is the outstanding example of inclusive education in Wisconsin,” said Dorothy Dean, founder, and CEO of Disability Justice. “We are impressed with Gateway’s long-term commitment to disability civil rights through in-service education for staff, planning for future student needs and regular upgrades of bricks and mortar.”

Gateway has worked hard to make itself even more accessible to students, staff and community members, and college leaders say the award shows that progress has indeed been made.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized and to be able to say that our work is helping Gateway to be a great place to learn and work for all,” said Tammi Summers, Gateway’s dean of Learning Success. “We’ve made significant changes to our processes and how we respond to, and meet, students who need to connect with disability services. This demonstrates that those processes have not only been instituted but are working well.”

The award shows Gateway strives to make sure all students feel welcome and that they, indeed, belong here at the college, says Summers: “It means that Gateway has fostered an environment where students know they can come and succeed at whatever definition of success they so choose, despite any barriers they may have.”

Josh Vollendorf, Gateway director of Compliance, says the college works hard to ensure its facilities meet the needs of everyone. Just as importantly, though, he says the college has also invested in assistive technology to help students gain success in career and education.

“We address those disabilities both seen and unseen,” says Vollendorf.  Vollendorf said the college developed a strategic collegewide accessibility initiative in 2018 and has begun the work of systematically enhancing accessibility for students, employees and the public in all areas of the college – academic, facilities, employee learning, and technology.

“Gateway Technical College embodies the best of what education is,” said Dean. “Gateway is a flourishing educational community where students, faculty, staff, and the public thrive, no matter what disabilities they may have.”

Disability Justice is a nonprofit civil rights organization, which advocates for full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For more information, please contact Tammi Summers at (262) 564-2538.