Taking CAP out of handicapped

8 Dec 2009 | Lance Cpl. Lia Gamero

If a 7-year-old girl was asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she will probably say a princess. It’s what a lot of girls dream about as young children; to be a beautiful, helpless princess that needs a strong, handsome prince to come save her. Those little girls grow up, and as adults, most don’t want to be seen as helpless and needing a hero.

Coincidentally, service members returning from overseas are considered heroes. But these men and women sometimes do need help after taking injuries and suffering limb loss or other permanent damage. Most cannot perform the same duties required for work.

The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program is available to help disabled service members or federal employees perform their job or be able to continue working.

“This program was created to help people that have disabilities continue working,” said Geri Haga, Equal Employment specialist at Civilian Human Resources Office-East. “It takes whatever limitation they have and provides them with the technology or software to be able to work.”

CAP was first established in 1990, but is now starting to get more support and become more prominent in the workforce. It is centrally funded by the Department of Defense and now works with 65 federal agencies. CAP’s mission is to provide assisting technology and accommodations to ensure people with disabilities and wounded service members have equal access to the information environment and opportunities in the DoD and throughout the Federal government.

“What we are trying to do is keep more federal employees and service members in the work force,” said Haga. “So many Marines leave the Marine Corps with disabilities thinking that they can’t work anymore and can end up with problems because they are unemployed. The majority of them don’t know that this program is available to help them, no matter what kind of disability they have.”

The program evaluates each individual’s disability and job requirements to find what type of solution is needed.

People with vision impairments can acquire voice output technology such as screen readers and scanner-readers, Braille devices, portable note-takers or screen magnification software such as print enlargers.

“There are keyboards that can be put in that have Braille on the complete keyboards for people who are blind,” said Haga.

For hearing problems, CAP has assistive listening and amplification devices, telephone ring signalers, closed captioning equipment for in-house videotapes and voice-carry-over telephones. Each software program or piece of hardware can be used to accommodate a different problem.

With over 81,000 accommodations, there is technology available to help just about any disability.

“This program can help so many people continue working,” said Haga. “The most surprising part is that it’s all free. I love that about this program.”

The program is free for government employees and because of its availability the Wounded Warriors program is now working with Civilian Human Resources-East to introduce wounded service members to the program. Marines can use the program to accommodate their workplace so they can continue to work for the federal government.

“This is a great program and we want to get the word out so that more people can take advantage of what we have to offer so that they can keep working,” said Haga. “Nobody should be held back because of a disability.”

For questions or more information, visit the CAP Website at or contact Geri Haga, at 910-450-9485 for information on how to get an evaluation.