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EMPLOYMENT AND VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION

The Able to Work Consortium unites several dozen large corporations "focused on facilitating a fundamental shift in attitudes and awareness about the abilities of people with disabilities. Able to Work is managed by the National Business & Disability Council." The site allows businesses to post job openings for individuals with disabilities and allows job seekers to post resumes and search for openings.

Disabled people wanting to work from home can find valuable resources at the "Telecommuting" area of About.com.

"The Access Guide," created by the Program on Employment and Disability at Cornell University, is aimed at employers and "offers detailed information and hands-on examples of how to make workplaces accessible to everyone, including individuals with hearing- and vision-related disabilities." The "Workplace Tools and Tips" are concrete and useful.

"Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for People with Disabilities Seeking Employment" is a brief guide that explains the rights of people with disabilities under the Americans With Disabilities Act when they are seeking employment. The "Guide" is a joint effort of the Social Security Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice.

CareerConnect, a free service of the American Foundation for the Blind, includes a national online database of more than 1,000 employed blind or visually impaired individuals who are willing to discuss their professions or jobs. After locating a mentor, users can e-mail the individual directly from the site. Other tools on the site include a resume builder that produces a printable resume, a calendar to help users track appointments, tips on job-hunting, and information about interviewing. The site will also give users access to employers.

Disability and the Workplace: An Internet Primer, created by Deborah Joseph of the Catherwood Library at Cornell University, is a set of annotated and evaluated links covering the ADA, government sites, job hunting, law and legislation, disability organizations, statistics, workers compensation, disability mailing lists and disability management and the return to work. This is an essential starting point--bookmark it!

The Employment Assistance Referral Network (EARN) is a national toll-free telephone and electronic information referral service for employers who are seeking to hire workers with disabilities. A service of the United States Department of Labor, it connects employers with jobseekers and offers technical assistence to employers. Phone: 1-888-695-8289.

Based in New York City, "The eSight Careers Network features networking, forecasting and skill building opportunities for those of us who are dedicated to lifelong learning and who believe we are responsible for managing our own careers. " Their site has news, advice, support groups, information about adaptive technology in the workplace and focused discussion topics.

For a somewhat more heterodox perspective on employment, rehabilitation and training, go to "Vision: Within and Without" by a group of five anonymous AER insiders.

BLIND, Inc. (Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions) in Minneapolis, MN is a training center to serve the needs of persons who are blind or with limited vision.

The Job Accomodation Network has created SOAR (Searchable Online Accomodation Resource) to enable users to explore various accomodation options for people with disabilities on the job.

"Personal Assistance in the Workplace: A Customer-Directed Guide," edited by Ed Turner and others, covers needs-assessment, the role of the employer, funding and assistive technology. There is also a chapter on being an "effective workplace personal assistant." The short book (98 pages) is available in print for $14.99 or as a download for free.

The Small Business Administration is developing a website for entrepreneurs with disabilities.

Resume Workshop, an exciting and easy-to-use interactive utility by TECSO allows users to input information step-by-step and generate professional-quality resumes and cover letters.


Wisconsin Sites

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) in collaboration with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) provide Jobline, the audio version of Wisconsin's JobNet and America's Job Bank--an Internet listing of available jobs, helping job seekers find and apply for job openings located in a specific Wisconsin area or any other part of the country. The Jobline number is 800-414-5748.

Northcentral Technical College (Wausau, WI) Visually Impaired Program (VIP): rehabilitation, education, employment, low vision evaluations, technology loan center.

The People With Disabilities Project of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development makes Wisconsin JobNet available to all by placing adaptive computer workstations in 22 Job Centers around the state. The adaptive software includes a screen reader, screen magnifier and voice recognition; there is adaptive hardware for people with limited mobility or hand function.

"ODC is a private not-for-profit rehabilitation agency serving the vocational needs of adults with disabilities primarily in Wood County [Wisconsin]." It also runs industrial operations that "serve two major purposes; to provide work and training for people with disabilities and to provide vital operating revenue to fund growth within vocational programs to purchase necessary manufacturing equipment."

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is one of the Employment Networks offering its services to participants in the new federal Ticket to Work program. For a list of other Employment Networks, contact Maximus, Inc. (866-968-7842).

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