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On the Job:
Career Connections


Assisted by Samantha Estes (standing), FAST program graduate Loria West prepares for immersion into a "virtual world."
Reprinted from PN July 2001
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— The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) is the national organization of state directors who oversee employment issues and opportunities for people with disabilities. Every state has a department or commission of vocational rehab that manages the Public Vocational Rehabilitation Program (PVRP), which is supported by federal and state funds. Last year these programs put 235,000 people with disabilities into the work force at all income levels. The agencies also (1) provide assistive technology (e.g., special computer devices) to help people perform their work duties, (2) arrange services such as personal-care attendants, transportation, and mobility equipment, and (3) furnish training opportunities.

Contact: CSAVR, (202) 638-4634 / 333-5881 (fax) / csavr@gte.net.

— In 2000, President Clinton signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to hire 100,000 people. Over the next five years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to hire 3,000 people with disabilities.

Contact: (912) 757-3000 / federaljobs.net.

— "A Guide for People With Disabilities Seeking Employment," sets out the Americans With Disabilities Act's key provisions, including the definition of "disability" (which is different under the Social Security Act) and employers' obligation to make reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities. The guide's text is available on the following Web sites: www.eeoc.gov / www.ssa.gov/work / www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada.

— The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) has a new online job service to help employers and professionals in the disabilities field find each other. "Career Connections" allows job seekers to look for jobs and post confidential resumes in a searchable national database—for free. To post your resume, go to www.aamr.org/Careers/careerframe.shtml and select "Search for a Job."

— At age 9, Loria West was seriously injured when her family's car was hit head-on by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. Her parents were killed, and West sustained numerous injuries, including a broken back. She spent five months in Birmingham, Ala., hospitals.

She graduated from West Morgan High School, Calhoun Community College, and Athens State University (Athens, Ala.). She and her daughter live in Decatur.

In 1995, West joined NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Space Shuttle Projects Office, Huntsville, Ala., as a summer intern with the Future Assets Student Talent (FAST) program. Sponsored by Alabama A&M University (Huntsville), the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, and NASA, the program places high-school and college students with disabilities in temporary summer jobs.

When West's summer with FAST ended, the Shuttle Office hired her as a temporary employee while she completed her business administration degree, concentrating on human resources. She joined Marshall's civil service team in August 2000. In September 2000, she found herself at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., preparing for the launch of U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis on Mission STS-106.

Contact: Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812. www.msfc.nasa.gov/news.

 

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On the Job:
Career Connections

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