|Occupation||Advocate, Publisher, Journalist, Public Speaker|
Chet Cooper, is best known as a leading advocate for people with disabilities, most notably in the areas of education, equal employment, and housing. Cooper is the founder/creator of ABILITY Magazine, ABILITY Awareness, and JobAccess.org.
In 1991 Cooper launched ABILITY Magazine, the first newsstand magazine focusing on issues of health and disability. Distributed by Time Warner, ABILITY Magazine is a bimonthly (6 issues annually) publication.
In 1995 Cooper founded ABILITY Awareness, a non-profit foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities through housing, employment, education, media and volunteer opportunities. In response to the growing population of low-income people with disabilities, Cooper created ABILITY House, a program of ABILITY Awareness. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, ABILITY House creates accessible homes for low income persons all over the United States, including Oahu, Hawaii. ABILITY Awareness created the ABILITY Magazine Award (via ThinkQuest Internet Challenge), which provides scholarships to winning teams of students where one or more members have a disability.
ABILITY Jobs - JobAccess.org
Cooper also developed JobAccess.org, an internet employment site for people with disabilities. Partnered with CareerBuilder.com, JobAccess.org helps those with disabilities find jobs within companies, government and non-profit organizations. According to Cooper, eighty percent of workers with disabilities are unemployed looking at the Percent of Population in Labor Force numbers the government provides. However, many have given up searching for work after countless unsuccessful attempts. As a result, they no longer are classified as unemployed and consequently government estimates of the disabled without work is substantially less than the real number.
Awards and Recognitions
He has been honored by President George W. Bush at a private White House ceremony where he was presented with the President's Community Volunteer Award, the highest national honor bestowed upon a volunteer. Chet Cooper has further been recognized by the California Governor's Committee for "exemplary leadership in the community" and has received a special Congressional recognition for outstanding community service and the Easter Seals Awareness Award, to name a few.
He is a member of the California Governor's Media Access board, Rosalynn Carter's Mental Health Partnership Steering Council and serves on committees for COSD (Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities), Actors with Disabilities Showcase and LAP (Local Access Place). Cooper is a speaker and has addressed audiences on both national and local levels including serving as the keynote speaker at the President’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities national conference and two-time speaker at the National Community Service Conference, which was held in conjunction with the Points of Light Foundation.
Chet Cooper has also been pontificating about the power social media has on promoting awareness for disability issues. From speaking to the UN on September 7, 2011, to organizing and moderating the first panel at the UN on disability and social media on September 13, 2012,  Cooper continues to present the tremendous influence such social media channels as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have. He discusses social media tools, their measurable performance, Web influencers, value of unique information and content generation.
Cooper has personally been diagnosed with ADHD, Dyslexia, and shares family members also with disabilities, Cooper has completed an undergraduate degree in biology at California Poly Tech and attended law school at Western State University.
- , ABILITY Magazine, Chet Cooper Biography
- , Ketupa.net, A Media Industry Resource
- , "Ability House Meets Habitat For Humanity." MidWeek Windward Pa'ina May 03, 2006.
- , Colby, Jamie. "Employment for People With Disabilities." Fox News December 23, 2009.
- ,"How to Engage Media to Promote Awareness." Inclusive September 7, 2011.
- ,"UN Enable."
- ,"Social Media and Disability." United States International Council on Disabilities.
- , Gee, Elise. "Rebuilding their abilities." Daily Pilot October 30, 1999.