To meet the needs of our rapidly
changing economy, IAJVS initiated a collaborative training
program to provide computer skills training and job placement
for persons with HIV/AIDS, severe mental health disabilities,
and physical disabilities. Funded by the U.S. Department
of Labor, five Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) sites around
the country – Boston, Chicago, Gulf Coast (Tampa Bay),
Philadelphia, and San Francisco – train clients in
the marketable skills in demand within the computer industry,
with a particular concentration on web design.
Specifically, the disAbility Employment Initiative training
- provides computer training and placement targeted to
specific career-ladder jobs in high growth industries;
work readiness, job search, and customer service training;
available fully accessible computer and software resources
for skill development and job search; and
retention and career advancement services.
Understanding the need to work with employers, JVS staff
developed the program curricula in coordination with the
needs of local employers, and have incorporated materials,
equipment, and software used in the workplace, in order to
increase the ability of participants to subsequently meet
job requirements. Each participant has access to his/her
own computer during class time. All training services are
designed to provide both group and individual instruction,
and additional tutorial sessions are offered as needed.
Computer-based training provides a whole new array of employment
opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The development
of adaptive technology and the expanding use of telecommuting
provide the disabled population with the ability to participate
in alternative work arrangements. Because there are limited
resources for the targeted populations in this proposal,
our program serves as a model to agencies nationwide, illustrating
how training in the technology arena can not only break the
cycle of dependency, but also secure well-paying positions
with excellent career tracks.
The disAbility Employment Initiative was refunded by the
Department of Labor in May 2002 for continuation of this
successful program. Stay tuned as we publish lessons learned
and successful strategies here on this site.