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DISTRICT PROGRAM TO TRAIN DISABLED ON COMPUTERS.

Byline: John Sanders Staff Writer

A new Antelope Valley Union High School District program will train disabled teen-agers in computer technology and get them subsidized, temporary jobs in private industry this summer.

Funded by a $100,000 grant from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, the district's Developing Realistic Education/High-Tech Activities to Make you Successful, or DREAMS, program focuses on disabled students already knowledgeable about computers and provides them training to improve their skills.

``It's an excellent opportunity for students with disabilities to get high-paying, high-tech jobs,'' said Mike LoPicolo, coordinator of the Work Ethics Career and Real-life Experiences Transition Program, of which DREAMS is a part. ``A lot of times a student with a disability may not have the skills to do math, science, social studies and those types of skills. But you would be surprised at some of the quality computer work that some of these kids can turn out.''

The district identified 269 students with some type of disability and computer skills. They were given applications for the program, and from those about 30 teens were picked for classes that start June 21.

Students had to have passing grades and present at least one letter of recommendation.

Taught by Chris Jensen and Jim Allen, the classes will be held for three weeks from 8 a.m. to noon daily at Lancaster High School. Then the program organizers hope to put teens into minimum-wage jobs that match their skills, with their salaries paid by the grant for 180 hours.

NASA grant will pay for the instructors' salaries, the students' wages and workers' compensation insurance. Each student will earn about $1,000 working approximately 180 hours.

``It should be mandatory for every high school in the country,'' LoPicolo said.

Students during the three-week session will learn how to make resumes and how to dress for interviews. They will also go through mock interviews, and they will learn about work ethics. They will also take field trips to various businesses and listen to guest speakers.

``I was really excited to get the grant,'' LoPicolo said. ``It's really a great opportunity for the high school district and the community.''

Employers interested in using the teens can contact the WE CARE office at (661) 948-7655 Ext. 206.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 21, 1999
Words:375
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