TSA hosts 10th annual Disability and Multicultural Coalition Conference

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National Press Release
Friday, September 21, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hosted nearly 40 disability and multicultural organizations and federal agencies at the 10th Annual TSA Coalition Conference held at the Agency's Virginia Headquarters on Sept. 18, 2012. The TSA Disability and Multicultural Coalition includes leaders from organizations representing various religious, cultural and disability communities.

The annual conference brings together coalition members and TSA senior leaders to discuss advances in security screening and issues of concern to coalition members and their constituencies.

"All of us at TSA commend the Coalition for its advocacy work on behalf of so many travelers," said TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinski, who discussed TSA's risk-based, intelligence-driven approach to security. "Your efforts are critical to TSA's mission of providing travelers with the most effective transportation security in the most efficient way."

"TSA continues to make notable improvements in how we train our employees," said TSA Assistant Administrator to the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Ombudsman, and Traveler Engagement, Kimberly Walton. "Improving the quality of our training remains a top priority. We are committed to the ongoing education of our workforce to accommodate the needs of travelers from disability and multicultural groups."

This year's conference focused on improving the security screening experience for passengers with disabilities and individuals from religious and cultural groups. Speakers from TSA shared the latest information regarding new TSA screening initiatives, including enhanced training, and the continued progress of risk-based security initiatives.

Coalition members and event attendees provided feedback and ideas from their respective communities and expressed appreciation to TSA leadership for the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about the security screening process.

More than 40 disability groups, multicultural groups and federal agencies attended the conference. The groups represented included the American Diabetes Association, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the National Association of the Deaf, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Council on Disability, the National Council on Independent Living, and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

In 2011, TSA launched TSA Cares, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call the TSA Cares toll free number with questions about screening policies and procedures as well as what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares serves as an additional, dedicated resource for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

For information about TSA, please visit www.tsa.gov.