September 16, 2003



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National Summit focused upon Increasing Employment Opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities
STRATEGIC PLANNING: 2003 and Beyond

September 16, 2003



Opening Remarks by: Dr. Robert A. Stodden, Principal Investigator, National Technical Assistance Center for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities

Keynote Speakers: Dr. Roy Grizzard (ODEP/DOL), Commissioner Joanne Wilson (RSA/DOE), Dr. Robert Pasternack (OSERS/DOE), Erik Wang (The White House Initiative on AAPI), and John Yeh (Viable Technologies).
Sponsored by the

National Technical Assistance Center for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities (NTAC-AAPI)
Based at the

Center on Disability Studies, University of


Hawaii at Manoa
Through Networks of

  • AAPI Persons with Disabilities

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Personnel

  • Community, Cultural, Business /Employer/Industry Organizations

  • AAPI Youth with Disabilities and other Professionals

Funded by



Rehabilitation Services Administration,

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services,

United States

Department of Education

Welcome Letter





Main conference Room, 1st Floor, NW

American Association of Home and Services for the Aging

2519 Connecticut Avenue


Washington, D.C.
Welcome: It is my pleasure to welcome you to the National Summit focused upon Increasing Employment Opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities. The faculty and staff of the National Technical Assistance Center for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities (NTAC-AAPI) have prepared an exciting and informative summit agenda. We look forward to your active participation and input during the day.
Purpose: The purpose of the National Summit is to gain input from key national representatives for strategic planning to increase employment opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities for the coming year and beyond. Also, the group will participate in a discussion on the purpose and current work-scope of NTAC. Participants will contribute to forward thinking goal areas and innovative ways to reach those goals.
Intended Outcomes


  • Documentation of recommendations for policy makers to increase employment opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities nationwide, in both rural and urban areas.

  • Greater commitment through subcontracts with participants and their networks for increasing employment outcomes of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities.

  • Stronger and broader networks for nationwide collaboration, to respond quickly to the changing needs for technical assistance by the population being served.

Thank you for your input and participation.


Aloha,
Robert A. Stodden, Ph.D., Director

National Technical Assistance Center for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities

University of Hawaii at Manoa

KEY ISSUES FROM THE NATIONAL SUMMIT
Introduction

The Summit of the National Technical Assistance Center, held on September 16, 2003 in Washington, D.C., concluded with some critical issues. The purpose of the summit was to increase employment opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. A number of key national representatives including Assistant Secretary, Dr. Roy Grizzard from the United States Department of Labor; and spoke on important issues related to disabilities and employment Assistant Secretary Dr. Robert Pasternack and Commissioner Joanne Wilson from the United States Department of Education. In addition, key national representatives from employer, consumer, and vocational rehabilitation groups offered their insight and experience on how to improve employment opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities. More than 50 people attended the summit from various government agencies (Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Labor, CSVR, Workforce Investment, RSA, White House Initiative on AAPI, EEO, and Dept. of Veteran Affairs), non-profit organizations (American Association of People with Disabilities, Federal Asian & Pacific American Council, Center for Workforce Preparation, Tawainese Association of America, ENDependence Center of N. Virginia, Solutions Linx, Protection and Advocacy, Inc.), employers (Viable Technologies, National Business & Disability Council, Maximus, McDonald’s Corporation), and university professors/specialists. Key issues that emerged from this summit include: attitudinal barriers from the mainstream community on disability, consumer empowerment with a focus on self-confidence, and networks of businesses talking about disabilities to other businesses. There was a strong emphasis on the primary role of rehabilitation to empower people with disabilities by providing them with education, training, services, and competence. The summit also focused on solutions to barriers facing people with disabilities such as providing employment, fostering independent living, and increasing culturally sensitive and appropriate services.
Opening Remark

NTAC’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Robert Stodden provided the opening remark with the purpose of the summit and a brief description of the Center. The Center is a collaborative arrangement with the Centers for Independent Living and the Hawaii Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, and the National Association of State VR Directors. The Center currently has four National Networks. The first network focuses on AAPI Persons with disabilities and includes working with Centers for Independent Living, and parent information groups for parents who have young people with disabilities looking to transition into employment. The second network focuses on State Vocational Rehabilitation Services. The Center is targeting the 15 states that have the highest prevalence of AAPI people, so that VR personnel can better respond to the needs of AAPI persons with disabilities. The focus is on training, technical assistance and information dissemination that impact this group at the national level, state VR directors and local VR services. The third network is looking at persons who employ AAPI persons with disabilities. This group consists of cultural community networks and employer networks that can assist with employment matching. The fourth network is focused on lack of leadership in the coming generation. The objective is to develop youth leadership activities with the hope of identifying, encouraging, and fostering the growth of leaders from the next generation. Training is provided across all four networks. Dissemination of information and outreach to AAPIs occurs through various organizations. The focus on all NTACs (funded out of RSA) includes outreach and evaluation. This also includes supporting the CIL system to be responsive to AAPI persons with disabilities and working directly with AAPIs, employers, agencies, VRs, VR directors,6 other agencies, and youth leadership development. The overall objective is to build and sustain capacity for AAPIs with disabilities to access and retain employment.


KEYNOTE ADDRESSES




Important Issues Emerged from the Summit

The main issues that emerged from the summit raised by key representatives, groups of consumers, employers, specialists, and university professionals include: attitudinal barriers, cultural barriers, lack of self-confidence, empowerment of consumers, and key personnel within Vocational Rehabilitation. In addition, some important examples were provided to demonstrate the importance of collaboration across federal, state, and local agencies as well as faith-based and community-based organizations and technical centers. Emphases were on solutions and barriers to employment for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities.




Keynote Address by Dr. Roy Grizzard

At the office of Disability Employment Policy, the goal is to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, and to have a focus on AAPIs and the cultural aspects they face in terms of having a disability and seeking employment. We are working very closely with other agencies and organizations such as the other speakers that you will hear today. And what you hear might be redundant, but that is good, because we are working with a common goal to improve employment for people with disabilities, including those who are AAPI.

These are important opportunities to probe their minds. I think it is great that you have someone like Kevin Bradley, from the McDonald’s corporation. Government cannot do it alone. There are corporations that make positive business by hiring people with disabilities. Not only because people with disabilities are going to spend their money at a place that has a friendly atmosphere, but also because they make good working, loyal employees. People with disabilities bring far more abilities to the job site than they do disabilities. And once accommodations are made, which are usually very cheap, and then the corporation can have a good worker who is loyal to the corporation. I do not tell corporations that they should hire people with disabilities because they will feel good about themselves. Now I hope they do feel good about themselves. You hire people with disabilities because it is good for your corporation. That is the bottom line.

One of my responsibilities in human resources was hiring teachers. It made me feel good at the end of the day when I offered a contract to teachers, that they left my office smiling, excited to have a job, able to take care of their families, and ready to contribute to young people. But I did not hire them because it made me feel good. I hired them because they were able to teach. And that same attitude must be placed into the minds of employers, that the persons with disabilities they hire will help them to do good business.

ODEP’s mission in DOL is to reduce barriers for people with disabilities to become employed and to act with other agencies in federal government to help streamline services. We work with other agencies such as SSA, DOJ, and DOE. I met with the department of commerce about how technology has helped to level the playing field. But it is so important that as technology grows and changes, that accessibility be built into technology, and not an afterthought. We need to make sure people with disabilities are not the caboose on the train, but somewhere close to the engine.

We have put out several grants targeted to demonstration and best practices projects that are targeted to particular audiences. These grants are specifically directed to getting people with disabilities employed. High school high tech grants, for example, are to get young people with disabilities to consider technical careers. We have grants focused on customized employment working through our one-stop systems, leading to negotiated job description and job requirements between the employer and potential employee with a disability. One of the biggest barriers is getting to work. Now-a-days, with modern technology, you can take the work to the person. Telework, not telemarketing, should be emphasized. We are not advocating people with disabilities calling people at 6am to sell aluminum siding. Last year I was in Hawaii, and once you get out of the Honolulu area, or out to some of the islands, you’re getting into rural areas. What better place for people with disabilities in rural areas, than telework. Because all you have to do is run the wires up to the house.

What are these grants for? They serve 2 purposes: To bring success and to have people go to work. ODEP monitors grants very closely, and if the grants are not accomplishing the targeted purpose, then they are not going to be refunded. We want to see positive results. If we can see positive results in those grants, then we believe that whatever is done can be replicated. We are doing activities with the EU and UK that can be replicated across the world. We do live in a global economy and global employment atmosphere. We use those grants, secondly, as a research vehicle. Discarding those things that do not work, and replicating those things that do work, and through the vehicle of the grant, developing positive policy agendas that we actually make and give away to other agencies, private and nonprofits.

We offer some direct services through the Job Accommodations Network. Check out the website. This website provides accommodations information to corporations all over the country. Last year resulted in 30,000 accommodations. The website is already paid for, use it. It can look at a work situation, the essential elements of the job, and then provide expert information on how to accommodate the particular individual in the particular situation, where to find accommodations, how much they cost, and the best deal. ODEP also runs EarnWorks website. It is the employee assistance referral network. It is a matchmaker. Through this comprehensive website, we take resumes and job profiles, and we match them. There are thousands of individuals in this system.

Last year, the president asked us to develop and manage a website for the entire government. Disabilityinfo.gov. It is a comprehensive website including HHS, DOJ, DOE, DOL, and SSA. This website provides information related to anything related to disabilities, even down to emergency preparedness. Finally, we have the workforce recruitment program. The Program identified 1,500 people with disabilities graduating from college, and helped them find jobs. Over 300 of them found jobs [not sure about figures here]. It gives an opportunity for individuals to learn the soft skills of employment, how to get along, how to understand punctuality and work ethics, working in a team. Then it gives an opportunity to develop a resume. In closing, we have a number of grants at the DOL. One of the grants, directed to AAPI activities at the University of Hawaii. The first thing I did when I was appointed was to travel to Hawaii and visit this project. When presented with the lei today, it brought back fond memories. Neil Sherman, the director of VR in Hawaii, his hobby is to make leis, and he presented a beautiful one. This makes me want to go back to Hawaii again. We had a delightful day in Chinatown, where my wife expressed her love for AAPI by spending a lot of money that day.

Some of the results of that particular project include involving 221 youth who attended self-advocacy and leadership training workshops; 40 were AAPI, and all but eleven were minority youth. Some of the outcomes: 38 of them were employed, 28 are continuing with postsecondary education, 15 are entering another training program. We see that as positive results of what we are doing at ODEP. Crossing cultural lines is very important, and fusing cooperation that ultimately will result in all Americans being able to benefit from being an American, and one of the greatest benefits is employment. Employment defines who we are, what we do, and defines our spirit. We need to leave here and turn preachment into practice. So that we see AAPI individuals with disabilities get work and say “yes, I earn a pay check, and I do a good job.”
Keynote Address by Commissioner Joanne Wilson
“You can’t throw away a whole life just because it’s been banged around a little bit.” This is a line from Sea Biscuit. As a colt Sea Biscuit ate a lot and slept all day, and he was trained to lose races so that other horses knew how to win. But a trainer and jockey came along who saw something in Sea Biscuit. From their efforts, Sea Biscuit became one of the most famous racehorses of all time. This is a true story during the Great Depression. This story gave hope to our country. This movie reflects the work that we do every day in the rehabilitation process. We are working with people with disabilities and minorities who are the Sea Biscuits in our society. Our task is to reach out and help them become Sea Biscuits.

The motto in education is No Child Left Behind, and I want to add No Person with a Disability Left Behind. I met with group after group in our office about what we need to do.

People with disabilities can lead independent lives and achieve meaningful competitive employment. I believe that is true whether of Asian descent or off on a pacific island. I really believe one of the major problems is not the disability itself, but the misconceptions that exist within friends, family, employers, and sometimes ourselves as vocational rehabilitation workers. My husband is from India, and he did a very courageous thing. First of all, he decided to marry me—a white woman from America. Strike two was that he was going against arranged marriage. And strike three was that he married a blind person. We spent a lot of time together. At first he wanted to hide my blindness, but we couldn’t keep that up for long. Ultimately, we broke through a lot of barriers. As I worked with other blind people there, I learned about the barriers embedded in the culture there. Mostly what I found was that a lot of the barriers were exactly the same. We have universal issues that we face as people with disabilities. The major barrier with all people was attitude.

People with disabilities have a right to choose what they want to do in their lives. That is why choice is such an important part of the rehabilitation process. A lot of times, the opportunity for choice is taken away from us. Sometimes we might choose the wrong thing, but we have the right to fail. We have a right to choose, and to take responsibility for the results. The primary thing you need to do as you work for the rehabilitation system, is to empower people with disabilities, to give them the services, the confidence, the expectations, to get to the heart of people with disabilities and empower them. How do we empower people? We should work in partnership with federal, state, private, but mostly other folks with disabilities. We can start working and infuse into our system the expertise of people with disabilities. One of the main things I got from people with disabilities is that the rehabilitation system does not believe in them and they want to be more of a part of the system. We have 1.2 million people in our system, and less than 12,000 rehabilitation counselors. It is big caseload.

RSA initiatives: we are reviewing some grant applications at this very day, where state agencies can apply for and use funds to work with people with disabilities, who will work with transition-age kids and serve as role models and counselors. It is a means to show them that they can advocate for themselves and live a better life. You are doing that at NTAC. So in the mentoring program, we are trying to encourage people with disabilities to reach back and bring up the Sea Biscuits who need them. We also are trying to improve literacy. Dr. Robert Pasternack and I work together as a team, and he keeps telling me that we need to work with employers so that they want to hire people with disabilities. And I am always saying that we need to get the people ready to work, so that employers want to hire them, so we are working on both ends. Now we’re giving Martin Seligman a grant to train people to work with people and teach them how to be more optimistic, to help them believe in themselves and develop the tools to achieve. We are putting out a tool on empowerment. We are really emphasizing in the Rehabilitation System to go to conferences of people with disabilities and observe and hang around large groups of people with various disabilities, and to really understand what the disability rights movement is telling us. So that it influences the policies we develop and the practical initiatives we do. We need to be immersed in the lives of the people we serve. A lot of counselors tell me, we want to empower people with disabilities, but we are not empowered ourselves. As a result, we have started new empowerment initiatives that go in and work with agencies, look at their system and determine how to remove barriers.

Thank you for what you are doing. Together, we can make winners.


Keynote address by Mr. Erik Wang
Traveling around is one way to get out in the field and experience how it is. I visited a vocational center that taught individual job skills and arts, including helping individuals with disabilities. The Center helped them find work. Some issues affecting AAPI population: health, mental health and language. There are over 100 languages and dialects spoken. There is no infrastructure to deal with these issues. We at the White House Initiative try to establish types of infrastructure to serve AAPIs. There is an Executive order to improve their quality of life. There are cultural barriers that needed to be addressed such as employment, culturally appropriate services, employment training, and independent living.

Some recommendations include how the Federal Government can service the AAPI population. We need more community and cultural assistants. We need to look at mainstreaming alternatives to medicine and therapy and how to integrate modern medicine with alternative therapy.

How do we transmit these issues into policy making? We need an Interagency working group to be involved in the following areas:


  1. Federal capacity – ability of the federal Government to reach out to the AAPI community

Having material translated into local languages, and disseminated into the various means – ethnic media – all intensive purposes – reach out by having ethnic media

Appropriate languages that reach out for these population – front line – Social Security, medi-care



  1. Around technical assistance – taking out these services to the people to use them. Bring together all these agencies into one umbrella - to create linkages at the local level

  2. Economy Development – how to bring minority into the full economic

Department of Labor – next week Thursday at Marriot –opportunities.com

2 workshop – how to work with disable community, how to hire disable

community AAPI – opportunity conferences

Thank you.
Keynote address by Dr. Robert Pasternack
I want to start out by telling you how disturbed I was by an article in the Washington Post. A single dad put his 20 something year old child with CP in a nursing home, because he couldn’t find any employment for him. What is wrong with our system that we see stories like this? This young man wants to do PR for sports teams. The young man himself said, “What happened to my transition plan?”

The largest minority group in our country is people with disabilities. I used a line from Martin Luther King’s speech. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” How incredibly unjust is it that this man had to put his son into a nursing home? And I am appalled to stand before any group today. I want to go over the New Freedom Initiative with you. This president recognizes people with disabilities. One out of five Americans has a disability. I am looking forward to coming to your part of the world and visit. I’d love to go right now, but I’ve got a lot to do.

Unprecedented economic growth: why didn’t people with disabilities participate? Because what we have done is try to play on people’s compassion, instead of going to businesses and telling them the facts about hiring people with disabilities:


  1. Low turnover rate

  2. Low absentee rate

  3. Higher productivity

  4. Better morale

We are trying to make a case that it is a good business decision. The partnership between the DOE and the US Chamber of Commerce is a good example. What we have been doing in the last 15 years did not work. So it is time to talk to business. Most businesses do not trust government, so we are trying to find businesses to talk to businesses. This year, 50 million people with disabilities are going to control 180 billion dollars of disposable income. This president understands that and is telling government agencies to work together like they never did before. 300 billion dollars of SSI and SSDI are going out to people with disabilities. SSA has some incredibly disturbing statistics. Only 2/10 of 1 % who get on SSI or SSDI get off. What we’ve got to do is to keep them off of those programs by getting them meaningful competitive employment so that they are paying into the system rather than taking out of the system. We have talked about people with disabilities as needing a handout. We need to start talking about people with disabilities having a range of disabilities and working very hard to be successful.

We talk about cultural competence, and I think it is ridiculous to think that I could be competent in AAPI, but I can be knowledgeable. One of the reasons the mental health system is not working is because we do not understand the cultural issues involved.

Why is it that we continue to stigmatize psychiatric disabilities, while other medical conditions are covered? The second issue in the NFI, is homeownership. Homeownership for adults without disabilities is 68%, while it is very low for adults with disabilities. Why is that? Because they cannot find a job. We as a country have never even thought about people with disabilities accumulating wealth. SSI program trains people to be dependent, not to live independently. Rather than perpetuating this mythology that people with disabilities cannot do the same work that other people do, we should encourage interdependence and independent living. We still have not changed the attitudes of the people doing the hiring. Spread the message that disability is not inability. People with disabilities can do the work.

Transportation systems are an important issue. If you cannot get to work, how can you keep a job? The president is a problem solver. It is easy to talk about the problems; it is harder to fix them. We’ve got to continue investing in emerging and assistive technology. It can totally transform the life of a person with a disability. The President understands those issues and cares deeply about those issues. That is why he released the NFI in his first month of office. One of our challenges is to make that document a reality. Everything I have told you so far is not a republican or democratic issue; it is an American issue.

One of my responsibilities is overseeing the Randolph Shepherd Act, which applies to people who are blind and entrepreneurship. People within the AAPI community understand entrepreneurship. One of the things that is happening is that people with disabilities are getting involved in running the food services on bases. Last year, the snowstorm shut everything down, and only essential employees had to go to work. We were visiting a base, and a disabled employee named Joe had somehow made it to work. We asked why he came, and he said he heard that essential personnel have to go to work.

We can make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in this country.
Noted Speech by Mr. John Yeh
As a member of the National Asian Deaf Group, we always talk about the issues that we’d be able to work with AAPI. As an employer, I’ve been in business for a long time, and it gave me the opportunity to be an employer and to make opportunities for people with disabilities. I came here to America in the 60’s from Taiwan. I lived two blocks from here, so it feels really good to be here.

When I went to Gallaudet University, I got funding from VR, and I was very thankful. A lot of friends offered me a job as a teacher or supervisor. I was upset that I was not able to get a job in the field that I wanted. So I went home to my family. My parents had sent my sister and I, who are both deaf, to get an education and competitive employment. I did fairly well. When I took Computer Science that was a new area, a new career. I really depended on note takers, library assistance, and help from the professors. My brothers were able to get jobs. I must have sent out several hundred resumes. But most employers did not understand what to do about a deaf employee. So I got a job at Gallaudet. The opportunities there were limited. I went back to my family and said that working for a company all my life would be stunting, and I wanted to start my own business. My parents thought that I was crazy.

In 1980, I started IMS with my brothers. We were mainly looking for an interpreter, opportunities, services and developing program and software for microcomputer, pc computers, several thousand contracts, etc. The business started to grow and started to hire more people. The federal government began to buy software programs. As a disabled person, I understand the issue with disabilities. We started to hire people with disabilities. The company grew to 500 employees with million dollars contract. By 1985, as a result of restructuring and competition, this med-size company was sold, but the people who worked remained working there. It was one of the agreements made that people would remain there for as long as they wanted to be employed there. After we sold the company, we were semi-retired. But that ended quickly. In about two years, I started another company called Viable Technologies. The software we are developing is using voice recognition for people to see. This concept is called voice transcriber-train to enter the computer to recognize and send voice transcriber to central call center and send that out to real time. The pilot program is underway to test if this process will work. This is a real opportunity for people with disabilities to work at own site to work with vocational rehabilitation. This past summer we had 8 individuals who were in the pilot program they were trained to become voice transcribers. We will also help with language problem to meet the demand.



An Overview of Panel Sessions


The National Technical Assistance Center’s (NTAC) Project Director, Dr. Woel Soon Kim-Rupnow, provided an overview of panel sessions with three stakeholder groups: (1) Consumers, (2) Vocational Rehabilitators, and (3) Employers. The first session , a Consumer Panel featured Ms. Jean Lin, Mr. John Yeh, and Ms. Wendy Hsu. Each consumer speaker presented their perspective on disability and how it affected and still affects their employment opportunities. Mr. John Yeh decided to become an employer in order to be able to choose a career that he wanted. Ms. Jean Lin became an advocate to spread messages about cultural sensitivity and disabilities. Ms. Wendy Hsu is struggling with employment because of her disability. She feels that most employers perceived her disability as an inability to perform job duties required of her. The second panel focused on Vocational Rehabilitation. Three speakers from state and CSVAR discussed the importance of Vocational Rehabilitation: Elizabeth Parker, Sallie Rhodes and Rita Martin. The last session, the Employers’ Panel, was structured differently than the first two sessions utilizing a question & answer format. Each employer speaker was asked questions concerning employment and disabilities and what employers can do to increase employment opportunities for the population. The summit concluded with participants breaking into small groups to discuss and offer recommendations for NTAC strategic planning for next year and beyond.


CONSUMER PANEL




Jean Lin’s Speech

Hi, my name is Jean Lin. I work for Protection and Advocacy in California. I am sure that many of us in this room are familiar with the Protection and Advocacy system. It is a federally funded organization that provides free legal services and advocacy throughout the state. Therefore, each state has its own PA services.

Well, I was asked to share my story with everybody today. I work for PA as a multicultural affairs advocate. I feel very honored and privileged to have this position because it allows me to work with my passion area, which is to outreach and educate our multicultural communities with regards to disability rights issues. As you can tell from my brief biography, I identify myself as a Chinese American with Cerebral Palsy. My family immigrated to this country back in the late 70’s from Taiwan. I came here when I was about 12 years old; therefore I had the opportunities to go through the education system. But it was a maze for my parents. They had no knowledge, or a word of English. My parents really had to fight for their child with a disability to get through the maze of the educational system. At that time translation services were not available. Everything that my parents had to deal with was hit and miss. My mom says she could only understand what…that’s how she dealt with teachers through my educational years. Through my primary education, she had the only special education service that I received was the adaptive PE classes and resource teachers that helped me through my daily class assignment. Just to show you the impact of language barriers that affect many immigrant families is that my mom, when she had to go to my IEP meetings, often, she had to ask a friend to accompany her, or simply go in alone. I remember one time she was trying to tell my special education teacher that she needed a swimming class. But she cannot get the message across. Therefore, she literally dragged my special education teacher to the pool to tell her that “she needs this.” That is just one of the challenges that I feel immigrant families have to deal with.

I want to briefly talk about independence for many culturally interdependent services. As for me, I feel very fortunate that I was introduced into the independent living philosophy and services when I was young. So I had the opportunity to experience it. Also, I was a recipient of the independent living center program. But while I was experiencing it, I felt there was something missing. There was something that just didn’t feel right. Then later on, I realized that missing link was my culture. My culture did not play a role in the independent living movement. I remember when I was receiving services in the local ILCs, I feel that the providers did not provide me my cultural perspective, independence to the community, and to me. I feel that in working with our multicultural community, especially the AAPI communities, we emphasize, we value interdependence. As I always try to share with people, you know the phrase teaching people how to fish? “You give a person a fish, they can eat for the day, but if you teach a person how to fish, they can eat for a life time.” Well, the ILC meant to me: here’s the fish, now go fish. But what I try to share with community members is that when you, a service provider, train to work with the AAPI communities, you may want to just give them the fish and send them away. But I always want to say, “Please, I know that you have a pile high of caseloads on your desk, but you need to sit there and accompany the individuals as they catch their first fish before you say bye bye to them. Maybe you need to sit there until they catch their third or fourth fish, because that is how my culture is. My culture needs a lot of practice; needs a lot of community.” You as a service provider cannot just come to my community and make a brief presentation and say, “Here are the services. I hope you will call us.”

The second thing I want to briefly talk about is entitlement to services. I worked with many immigrant families who don't feel that they have a right to services. Many families feel that it is a privilege to have the services that they receive. Many parents call me and share with me their issues in receiving services. And they feel that they know that something is wrong, but they do not want to rock the boat. They do not want the case worker to take away the existing services. That is why I try to share the advocacy skills with them.


That is another point. Advocacy—what is that? Many of our AAPI culture, we don’t believe in advocacy. Advocacy to us means protest, making trouble. It is not the belief in us or our community. That is not our culture. That is not our forte. But we need to somehow bridge and breakdown the barrier to our own community and show that services are not a handout. It is not a negative thing. It is a positive thing. So you as an individual can live as boldly as your life can take you. This morning, many of the speakers have touched the benefits and services that we have in this unique place that we call America. People with disabilities should receive SSI and be happy with it. People with disabilities are not expected to get gainful employment. Why is that? Why do we have this mentality that I have a disability, therefore I am useless. I feel that is a barrier that we as a community need to get over. And I think we still have a long way to go. AAPI’s with disabilities have the work skills that are demanded in the community. I still have friends who are sitting on their butt at home doing nothing because they don’t feel comfortable being out in the community. They’ve said that they are happy. They are content on SSI. I have a friend who is very knowledgeable with computers. But what is he doing? He is sitting at home doing nothing. I cannot explain it. He is happy with his monthly SSI money because he does not want to take the next step. He feels his independence in his own way. He feels very small if he needs to ask a service provider how to get a job, or ask to be a work rehab consumer. He does not feel like it is worth his time to go through the program. I’d better stop.
Wendy Hsu’s Speech

Today, I am going to talk about a few issues that affected me as a disabled person. Being disabled and Chinese American whose primary language is not English, I am faced with many problems such as how to study in college, how to get employment, how to get hired, and how to keep the job. My barriers are not limited to my physical disability. I have to deal with language, cultural issues, and job skills.

First, I have difficulty in getting a job because of my physical appearance. I believe that physical appearance is important to some employers. I often do not make a good initial impression with interviewers because of my disability. Even when I present myself professionally, my physical appearance is still a major obstacle. For example, I feel very nervous when an interviewer looks at my deformed face. I often feel as if that is all an interviewer sees of me. Most of the time, I feel like interviewers judge my work performance based on initial impression; my physical disability, not my ability. Perhaps they do not believe that a disabled person can work hard and learn quickly too. My job interview experiences have been mostly negative. I felt a major part of it is because I am a disabled person. I have friends and counselors who help me to deal with these issues. But in the real world, when you face with a potential employer, you have to behave certain ways. You have to work extra hard to prove that you are capable of functioning normally like other people.

The second barrier is language. I was born in Taiwan. When I first came to the United States, I did not know a word of English. During the early part of learning English, my vocabulary was limited to slang. This hindered my ability to seek a job. Later on when I attended school and learned to speak proper English, I was still faced with other problems; I had to overcome the physical disabilities. I have mild hearing loss where I cannot hear well if an interviewer speaks too fast. In addition, my speech impairment is another obstacle for me when I go for a job interview. I feel very frustrated that I cannot express my idea clearly during the interview. Also, I move slowly and cannot respond to a question quickly. I can feel that an interviewer gets frustrated with me.

Getting the right training can also be difficult. For example, I had to take a typing test when I sought employment at a local temporary agency. Since I could only type 25 words per minute, which was too slow for most office clerical jobs, I was never called back for an interview. They need people who could type 40 words per minute. I practiced my typing many times, but I could not reach their standard.

Sometimes I think life is not fair to a disabled person like me. I get upset easily because of these problems. I am also lucky because I have the support of friends, college counselor and career advisors. They encourage me to have confidence in myself. Self- confidence is a big issue for me. In college, I struggled with this problem. To give an example, I was so afraid that I would not do well that I did not want to take a requirement course. It was a speech class. My fear was that no one could understand my English. I speak English with a thick accent. But I finally overcame that fear and passed the speech class.

While my employment experiences were mostly negative, one employer made a difference. He was a personnel specialist at Montgomery College where I worked for four years. He saw beyond my disability and allowed me the opportunity to prove myself. He understood about my disability and was willing to take the time to explain the work. At the end of my contract, I was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding and dedicated service by the office.

I believe that most disabled persons like me are willing to work. What we need is a chance to learn and grow in a company so we can achieve our fullest potential.


John Yeh’s Speech
I am a person with just a few words. I always like being a doer and not a talker. A lot of my friends, they talk, and come up with ideas, but never do anything. There have been a lot of changes recently. Let me talk about individuals with disabilities, not just AAPI, but the interesting thing that I’ve learned about how to get funding. I was very fortunate that I got to go to Gallaudet University.

My first job was in a hot shop. I didn’t have to talk to anybody, so I worked there all through college. A lot of things happen in people’s lives. Rarely did I get called for an interview. I talk to my friends and find out for them that most employers would not call a deaf person back for an interview. But that is changing. More and more employers are starting to hire people with disabilities.

Individuals who are deaf tend to see a lot of barriers because they do not know their rights. They are locked at home because they got a green card and they think they won’t get services. Lack of information causes those problems. So we’ve set up the National Asian Deaf Group. The first conference had 500 people, from counselors to parents; all Asian individuals. I’ve learned so much from them. The issue was that they weren’t able to get access to services because of language. Today, I see that people are still finding those kinds of barriers. I have people come up and say they need a job. I tell them to contact their VR counselor, yet they never heard about it.

When we really talk about barriers, to me deafness is the biggest barrier because everyday life requires communication. When I talk to employers, they say their first reaction to people with disabilities is seeing their physical limitations. Suppose you bring in five individuals, a deaf person, a person in a chair, etc., and you have to hire one. I think the first person they would pick is the one they can communicate with, so I think the deaf person would be the last. When you talk about the language barriers, we go through the same thing. We all have similar experiences and views. I’m an unemployed person here. I went to SSA to find out, and they said that I was qualified to get SSI, and I realized that when you say it is not an incentive to get a job. So we should improve the system.

I believe that a lot of people with disabilities, especially Asian individuals, we have problems too. It’s really sad. I really hope that AAPI will be able to find ways for all of us to move and have the ability to get jobs.


VR PANEL




Rita Martin
With me today is Elizabeth Parker, who runs the state VR agency in the DC area, and Sally Rhodes. My daughter just graduated last year from UH, and is now department head of special education on Oahu.
Elizabeth Parker: In September 2000, Mayor Anthony Williams’ outreach activities to AAPI communities include:


  1. Translating materials

  2. Diversifying the workforce

  3. Cultural competence training

  4. Developing partnerships

  5. Community Outreach

An AAPI coordinator meets regularly with AAPI community and other service providers such as RSA, Family Services, Youth Services, etc.

The Rehab Act mandates that services be individualized and provided in the mode of communication of the individual. There is a unique non-English diverse population in DC. If our RSA clients cannot communicate, they cannot get a job. In our administration, we have a special populations unit, which provides translation and interpreter services. The staff has done extensive outreach to AAPI community. We work to increase the numbers of AAPI employees in our agency. Office of quality assurance and federal compliance will conduct evaluation to identify barriers. We were among the first agencies to translate brochures into AAPI languages (simplified and traditional Chinese and Vietnamese). We hired 3 AAPI VR specialists in the past five years. One AAPI worker assigned to the Office of Disability Determination, one working direct service and one working specialized services to AAPI community. Many qualified AAPI applicants have been discouraged by our DC pay scale and have decided to work for federal agencies or private organizations. Also, there are stricter immigration requirements. Collaborating with DHS, we are having a one-day cultural awareness training that will focus on the special needs of AAPI clients.

Randolph Shepherd program was visited by a Japanese specialist. Our staff participates in events identified as specific to AAPI. Japan, Bangladesh, India and Vietnam sent delegates to learn how to prevent barriers to people with disabilities.

In 2002, a 21 year old deaf immigrant from China was recognized for her progress. Working with an AA VR counselor, the client became fluent in ASL and got a job as a part time library aid at Gallaudet University. Less than 1% has been identified as AAPI. But with increased outreach, we expect the number to grow.

There are many barriers: Language, educational requirements, security requirements, language skills, cultural differences.

Vision: More orientation about VR, increase AAPI employees and AAPI clients, and more dialogue with AAPI residents.

What can VR and NTAC do to help? They can assist us by allowing us to post job vacancies on the websites and plan workshops on cultural sensitivity. NTAC can recommend names that promote employment of people with disabilities and educate people about our services. Also, NTAC can assist with outreach.

Jay Pan
I work as an AAPI coordinator for Department of Human Services in Washington, D.C. If you walk down to Chinatown, you can see many seniors. They are my clients. If you refer to President Clinton’s executive order, the first step is translation of vital documents. Sometimes it’s hard to translate so that it makes sense. There are a lot of terms that don’t have equivalents in Chinese.

We go out and talk to people, give presentations and answer questions. Second, face-to-face sharing is important. In DC, it is hard to recruit bilingual staff because most Asians like to go to business and technology. Human services are low pay. This past spring we had a student from University of Oklahoma, who came to DHS as an intern. We built up the workforce. The intern performed very well, now we intend to hire him. Many American born Asians do not speak the language. So there is the challenge. Third, cultural sensitivity or cultural competence training is really important. We want to train the community at large to understand AAPI, and vice versa. Many AAPI ask why they do not understand me. Why don't you try to understand them? I work for greater Washington. I learn a lot. Before, my impression was that African Americans are criminals. But when I came here, I learned that I was wrong. They are just like me. The fourth objective is community partnership. The federal government is supposed to show the state how to work together. In the same way, the state government is supposed to show the community how to work together. We proposed to work with DOE, as well. I really focus on partnership. We partner with the universities. I’m really happy with the University of Hawaii, because they can work on research. We go out into the community to talk face-to-face. We have three ways to talk with our clients. Thank you for your time.


Ms. Rita Martin introducing Ms. Sallie Rhodes

We’re very fortunate to have someone from Sallie’s caliber arguing for us on the hill.

Ms. Sallie Rhodes
Same for Rita, she has been a wonderful addition to CSAVR staff. I was going to cover the proposed amendments to the rehabilitation act.

Legislation 101: A bill is introduced in House or Senate. It then goes to committee. After that, they come out onto the floor. Then they hammer out the language difference. Then back to house and senate to be passed. The House is finished, passed their bill. The Senate will get to the point of introduction of the bill, probably tomorrow. Then it will be sent to committee for mark up, then on the floor sometime before the legislative year. Things on the hill change every hour.

Quick overview of some of the recommended changes:

Title 1: Literacy. Assessing literacy needs to be included in what Vocational Rehabilitation offers. There are new references to mentoring services like an assessment of need for mentoring. Strengthened choice language, the individual will be given information about community programs that can assist the individual. Proposed and passed in house: demoting of commissioner position of RSA. Some opposed to this demotion because as a president appointee, the current position gets more access to secretary of education. If anything, looks like a demotion of disability issues. Relation to Olmstead decision is getting people out of institutions into community settings. Few other issues include regulatory definition of post-employment services and language authorizing federal VR to provide technical assistance to state VR to improve relationships with employers, language about VR hiring more people with disabilities.

A lot of these are very small things. I would call them refinements because Rehab Act is probably one of best pieces of law out there. There is some cross-listing with recent implementation of Ticket to Work program. It provides information about new programs under TW, particularly for people who do not meet order of selection, but need services. Maximus is responsible for Ticket to Work Program.

There is some refinement to language around transition planning. The last year and a half, transition has been most talked about. Talks about better coordination, working together, having VR more involved in IEP planning. There is a need for more impact on language in IDEA to connect special education services and transition services into VR. The problem is that there is no money for anything right now, so whether this happens or not is unclear, but congress sees it as important.

American Indian rehabilitation program can go up to 1.5% of VR appropriations. It is now less than 1%. It would allow successful projects to stabilize funding. Again, there is not enough money to go around funding this project.


Improvements in performance.

2003 allowed 30 million dollars for incentive grants that have not been distributed yet. VR appropriations have a consumer price or cost of living index. Some states fall out at less than CPI increase. We want to make sure every state gets the CPI increase. Counselors should be getting increases, and services increase in cost.


Rita Martin talked about: Changes to the Workforce Investment Act. Four major changes affecting VR include:


  1. Right now, only the state directors can sit on state boards. More access to WIA state boards.

  2. Greatest concern with WIA is infrastructure funding. What that provision does is allow the governor to require certain percentages from agencies. 1.5% to us, $40 mil. That would be in addition to monies that state VRs are already paying. We continue to try and advocate that if there has to be funds taken, how can we minimize it?

  3. Until that system is fully accessible to our population, it is counterproductive to take resources from people with disabilities. We should be a participating partner, but we want our people to access the system.

  4. Seats on the state board, seats on local boards. Need some representation from the disability community should be a part of the WIA decision making at the local level.


Question from Susan Dua, Exec Director of Center for Independence of Disabled in New York. I was really delighted to hear what is happening in DC. I want to invite you to bring your expertise to Manhattan. Right now our VR agency in NY has identified a pattern of under-service to AAPI population. We’d like to establish partnerships to serve AAPI. I’m eager to hear where you started and how you would suggest we start?

Answer from Elizabeth: it’s hard to say where we actually started. But I would suggest going into the communities and start the dialogue and hire employees who are aware and connected to the communities.

EMPLOYER PANEL




Dr. Richard Leucking, moderator for employer panel from Transen Inc.

I love to engage and listen to the employer perspective. My first job with VR, the slogan was “hire the handicapped.” A lot of things have changed, but for me, something has not changed. If we want to increase and improve jobs, we need to listen to the people who provide jobs. I want to acknowledge Maggie Lee, who was instrumental in getting the panel here. She has also been working with one-stop centers. Also, thank you to Kathy Healy, who is from the Center for Workforce Preparation. They have a wonderful website: www.uschamber.com/cwp, then scroll to find the employment for people with disabilities page. I also wanted to thank Dawn Le who invited the following people to attend this summit:


Ching San Wan, Chinese

Kim B Kim, Korean Center

So Ban Tun, Cambodia

Thank you, Dawn for coming and bringing these guests.


I’m going to ask a question and have each address them in order.

Reintroduce: John Yeh, has the employer hat on this time.

Kevin Bradley, McDonald’s corporation

Daniel Woody, Wu Yee Children’s Services, nonprofit small employer


First question: Describe your company and its experience hiring people with disabilities.

Kevin: Our founder, Ray Crock, told us, let’s not think of MD as a hamburger company that sells food to people, rather let’s think of it as a people company that sells hamburgers to people. We created McJobs. Unfortunately, the dictionary defined McJobs as low end bottom level employment. We took offense to that. We see it as opportunity. We are in this for money. We don’t think it’s the case the hiring people with disabilities is the right thing to do, we believe it’s the smart thing to do to increase your bottom line.

Daniel: I have over 10 years of experience in the disability field. I worked with VR to get people work. As part of that process, I started to do consultation work with companies to find out how we can meet their needs with the people we serve. Since then I’ve moved into the human resources field as an employer. I’ve taken my experience over the years at Wu Yee Children’s Services and carving out specific teaching positions for people.
Second question: From an employer’s perspective, what will be the most significant issue for people with disabilities?
John: That question is really difficult. The answer is that there will be a really fast change because of technology. If you want to be a carpenter, you need good tools. The same thing goes with companies. But again, we need to improve language and communication, so that people can socialize and work together. Our culture is really humble and quiet, but we need to show that we can be good leaders and contribute to the world of work. The employers are really the responsible ones to empower employees. I read that you needed to have 30 or 40 programmers to meet a deadline, and we wanted to hire a diverse group, but that wasn’t able to happen. So we need to push that issue of hiring a diverse group.

Kevin: I agree that communication and having the right tools are very important. But I also think that there are some cultural barriers. My mother told me to work hard, and don’t rock the boat. I had a cousin who was blind and she was sheltered, but her parents died and she struggled. I look at the title of this summit, but I don’t see employers in the room? We’re preaching to the choir. You don’t have the right people here today. You all know what’s going on in VR and on the hill. You’re all getting the same news. You’re not going to increase employment opportunities if you’re not talking to employers. My plea to you is to get employers in the room. That’s the challenge for the next 1, 5, 10 years. We have jobs. We can’t carve out jobs anymore. Now we’re doing more with less because of technology. Learn about us, learn about our jobs, and then provide us with candidates as an asset.

Daniel: I would say that the work we did in carving out jobs was not about a handout, but increasing productivity of other employees to make more money. Talk about business being the seller to other businesses, is really true. I think that you can’t really talk about the next 5-10 years without looking at the service provider. The focus is really individualized support. My experience in the AAPI community is very family focused, so you have to have a family focused model. Once that happens, the issues that I really see tend to be around transportation. In rural areas and outlying counties, we had the jobs, but we couldn’t get people to work. As jobs are moving out to the suburbs in business parks, transportation may become a bigger issue. Technology is a double-edged sword. It levels the playing field, but at the same time it eliminates manual jobs that people who don’t speak English can work. More education is necessary now for jobs.
Dr. Richard Leucking -Third question: What needs to happen to improve employment outcomes for AAPI with disabilities?
John: I really have to agree with the things that were said. We don’t have any employers here. They create jobs, we need them here. I am a real strong advocate, and I have a real positive attitude. I hope you don’t mind me switching and talking about what we can do here with Viable Technologies. We want to make jobs more available. Transcribers don’t have to work out of the home. As I see that, it makes me think a little harder about what would be the benefit to people with disabilities. I want to create those jobs for them. I want them to have the opportunity to make it happen. We want to supply that opportunity to create the jobs for what they need. We can provide transcription for all students, professors, workers.
Dr. Richard Leucking -Back to the same question, how are we going to do that? It's the attitude of the employer.

Kevin: The Business Leadership Network was created by…and the US Chamber has been working with us. It is about businesses talking with businesses. Most businesses are not big. Our goal is to share resources, wins and losses with smaller businesses. We share that it is not difficult to hire people with disabilities. If government is in the room, they cannot talk frankly. But businesses can give the business case and talk about it. You have to talk to HR professionals. I gave a talk about this issue. Few people knew about accommodations network. We need good workers, but we no longer have the resources to partner with the service provider. We do not have time anymore. The good ones come to me. I would rather work with an agency that sends one good service provider, rather than one that throws ten against the wall and hopes one sticks.

Dr. Richard Leucking -The BLN is having a national summit in November. That’s a place where employers will be.
Daniel: A lot has to do with partnerships. CC can help train people. There is an agency in NY called Inroads that works with minorities to find them internships. If we can do something like that for people with disabilities, we can go a long way.
Dr. Richard Leucking - Question: Mr. Yeh, You are actively working to hire people with disabilities. Do you find the process of working with VR service providers easier or harder than hiring people without disabilities?

John Yeh: I really did put out ads for voice transcribers last December, in the newspaper and on website. The first week I got 50-60 resumes. None of them had disabilities. I hired five or six and trained them. Recently I got in touch with VR, and it is a process. But hopefully it will get faster.
Dr. Richard Leucking -Question: We can’t get employers to come. I know it’s because we’re government. The people we get in the audiences are HR from small and medium companies, because it’s free training. We have the money and the enthusiasm, but we cannot get employers. How do you attract businesses to come?
Kevin: EEOC does have inherent fear factor. Work with the chamber. You have to get to businesses through businesses. I went to my supply chain and invited them to come to my ADA workshop, and since they have contract with us, they will come. So work with companies to invite people. Honestly
Richard Leucking- Could you give us some ideas about how we can get to where businesses meet?

Kevin: Every line of business has some kind of association. They all have national conferences, etc. The leaders in the disability movement need to get to know the people in leadership in business. For example, go to the NRA, who has the largest conference and get on that kind of agenda. Now you are talking to employers. Find out who the leadership is for associations, and tell them that you have a viable workforce for them.

Daniel: As much as possible, do not go to HR, go to the CEO and management team. Then you can use that as collateral when you go to other businesses.
Soon: We have started a new service called HIRE-US. We are developing a database for employers of students with disabilities who are qualified and ready to work.
Discussion groups: Review the strategic plan and suggest something not in the plan, bring new ideas and new ways to work with business. Look over areas we can improve. What kind of resources do we need to network? At 4pm we will gather and each group can speak to the whole group about what you discussed. If you finish fast in your area, you can go to other areas.

EMPOWERMENT PHRASES


Assistant Secretary, Dr. Robert Pasternack states, “spread the message that disability is not inability.”


The Assistant Secretary, Dr. Roy Grizzard provides a good perspective on employment by stating that “employment defines who we are, what we do, and one of the greatest benefits is employment.”
“People with disabilities can lead independent lives and achieve meaningful competitive employment,” by Commissioner Joanne Wilson.
Dr. Robert Pasternack quoted a line from Martin Luther King’s speech “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“As an employer, I’ve been in business for a long time, and it gave me the opportunity to be an employer and to make opportunities for people with disabilities,” by Mr. John Yeh.
A consumer, Ms. Jean Lin said “As I always try to share with people, you know the phrase teaching people how to fish? “You can give a person a fish, but if you teach a person how to fish, they can eat for a life time.” Well, that’s what the ILC meant to me: here’s fish, now go fish.”

“My culture needs a lot of practice, needs a lot of community. You as a service provider cannot just come to my community and make a brief presentation and say, “here are the services. I hope you call us,”” by Jean Lin.

“When we talked about barriers, to me, deafness is the biggest barrier, because everyday life requires communication,” by Mr. John Yeh.
The key to access of employment opportunities suggested by Kevin Bradley, “Go to the NRA, who has the largest conference and get on that agenda. Now you’re talking to employers. Find out who the leadership is for association, and tell them that you have a viable workforce for them.”
CONCLUSION


All participants were grouped according to specific areas of the strategic plan. Each group offered suggestions and recommendations for the coming year and beyond. The groups also presented their recommendations. The summit concluded with a reception.


The employer group chose technical assistance as NTAC’s Strategic Plan Area and offered the following recommendations:

  • Consider examining existing data on issues and barriers from other cultures and how they apply to AAPI.

  • Synthesize data from other federal departments in addition to RSA e.g., labor, MMS.

  • Add workscope/directive to employer by using right language.

  • Take into consideration the culture and tradition of specific cultural group when talking of the concept of disability.

  • Promote employers talking to employers about how to benefit from hiring people with disabilities.

  • Encourage AAPI youth to get involved in youth leadership development initiatives.

  • “Nuts and bolts” of disability and diversity of services and multiple languages.

The outreach group suggested the following:



  • Follow-up with students exiting school to increase outreach.

  • Partner with One Stop Centers.

  • Increase training activities to different population groups.

  • Create a trainer-to-trainer program.

The Dissemination group recommended the following:


  • Increase personal contacts with other employers.

  • Develop video to increase awareness with other employers and featuring Mr. John Yeh as a success story.

  • Bring a group of people with disabilities to chamber of commerce, and assign them, and let them interact. It overcomes the fear of “what do I do”.

  • Increase exposure of people with disabilities to different work environments. There is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

  • Get involved with faith-based and community-based organization to get access to consumers and employers.

Suggestions from the Training Group:



  • Analyze of barriers and get really clear about who the training is for.

  • Partnership building and related issues to employment.

  • Identify different groups of AAPI people with disabilities? (New immigrants compared to people who have been here longer.)

  • Develop awareness of the importance of cultural sensitivity.

  • Data in NTLS

  • Train employers.



Cited Resources


Key national representatives provided extensive resources and information for people with disabilities. Some of these are:




  • Job Accommodations Network

This Network provides accommodations information to corporations all over the country. They can look at work situation, the essential elements of the job, and then provide expert information on how to accommodate the particular individual in the particular situation, where to find accommodations, how much they cost, and the best deal.

Website: http://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu/english/homeus.htm. Contact JAN directly at 800-526-7234 (V/TTY) or by e-mail at jan@jan.icdi.wvu.edu



  • Earn Works Website

Employer Assistance Referral Network (Earn) Works is the employee assistance referral network. It is a matchmaker. This network involves consumers by taking resumes, examining job profiles and matching them.

Website: http://www.earnworks.com/ . Contact EARN Technical Assistance Specialist at 1-866-Earn Now (V/TTY) or Fax at 703-310-0127 or email at earn@earnworks.com




  • Disabilityinfo.gov

This is a comprehensive website including HHS, DOJ, DOE, DOL, and SSA. The website provides a variety of subjects related to disabilities including emergency preparedness.

Website: http://www.disabilityinfo.gov/ . This website provides information only, and cannot respond to specific scenarios or provide personalized advice.




  • National Restaurant Association

The Association focuses on community service. It recently honored restauranteurs across the country for their impact and commitment on communities. The Association is one of the means for accessing employers. For more information, go to http://www.restaurant.org/ .

Tool on Empowerment recommended by key national representatives
Learned Optimism (1991) is a book written by Martin Seligman. Seligman is a cognitive psychologist. He found that the ability of some people to bounce back from defeat is not simplya “triumph of the human will.” but optimism involves a set of skills which can be learned.
Martin Seligman recommended a list of other classic self-help books. For information, go to http://www.butler-bowdon.com/learnedop.htm .


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