Student Awards Program for Universal Design in Workplace Accommodation

Summary / Outcome Goals

The primary objective of this project is to introduce the principles of universal design (UD) and workplace accommodations to high school students, through the National Engineering Design Challenge, sponsored by the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) and AbilityOne (formerly known as the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Program). While this exercise is intended to create awareness of UD principles among high school students, it is unique in that the target audiences extend well beyond the students and teachers involved. Because the projects will be exhibited in each school, the results will not only engage the students involved, but will create an awareness of UD among parents, teachers and friends who attend the exhibitions. In so doing, we expect the effectiveness of the effort will be multiplied exponentially.

Specifically, the Work RERC will: 1) sponsor a special award for UD as part of the competition; 2) provide materials and activities to help the students learn about UD concepts; and 3) serve as project judges for both the special award and overall competition.

For more information about the NEDC Competition, visit: http://www.jets.org/programs/nedc/index.cfm.


National Engineering Design Challenge: U.D. Award 2011

Congratulations go to Hotchkiss High School for winning a Work RERC-sponsored award for "Best Application of Universal Design Principles" as part of the National Engineering Design Challenge (NEDC). The NEDC challenges high school students from across the country to design and build a workplace accommodation device to help a person with disabilities from their community.

Man on crutches walks down a hall while wearing The Caboose 
harness that tows his suitcase

The Hotchkiss H.S. students won both the UD award and the overall competition for their design of "The Caboose" a hands-free method for people to transport their luggage while traveling for work. The device is a backpack like harness that attaches to a carry-on bag, allowing the user to tow the bag. Although initially designed for an individual who uses crutches, the students noted that it would also be useful for individuals with gripping difficulties, as well as people who were simply trying to hold on to too many items at once. Watch their semi-finals presentation here: Watch the Caboose semi-finals presentation..


National Engineering Design Challenge: U.D. Award 2010

Congratulations go to Bishop Kelly High School for winning a Work RERC-sponsored award for "Best Application of Universal Design Principles" as part of the National Engineering Design Challenge (NEDC). The NEDC challenges high school students from across the country to design and build a workplace accommodation device to help a person with disabilities from their community.

Winners of UD (and overall) awards: Bishop High School Team Photo of Portable AT Writing Device

The Bishop Kelly High School students won both the UD award and the overall competition for their design of a "Portable AT Writing Device (PAWD)" to help people who have tremors write by hand. The device was initially designed as an easy-to-use, ergonomic, and portable tool for a specific individual. Subsequent versions were redesigned to work with right- or left-handed users, fit a range of hand sizes, and easily load and unload a variety of writing implements. Watch the PAWD semi-finals presentation.


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