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SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE HONORED BY ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION SERVICES FOR COMMITMENT TO EMPLOYMENT FOR DISABLED PEOPLE

 SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE HONORED BY ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION SERVICES FOR COMMITMENT TO EMPLOYMENT FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
 ST. LOUIS, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A commitment to offering employment opportunities to people with disabilities recently earned honors for Southwestern Bell Telephone (NYSE: SBC), it was announced today.
 The company received the Joseph R. Larsen Memorial Award from the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. The award is named for the former director of the University of Illinois Rehabilitation Education program.
 Southwestern Bell was nominated for the Larsen Award by rehabilitation specialists in Illinois who are familiar with the company's support of rehabilitation education and employment of people with disabilities.
 That support includes involvement with the ADEPT (Associates for Disabled Entry Programmer Training) program, a computer programming training program offered by Goodwill Industries of Missouri. Candidates for the program must be classified as severely disabled.
 Since the inception of the ADEPT program in 1988, Southwestern Bell has assisted in the training and hiring of students, said Goodwill Industries instructor Ben Settle.
 "Southwestern Bell has participated in our tutoring program and the mentor program, in which a programmer from the company offers moral support to students," Settle said. "In addition, the company offers paid internships to students who complete the program. And the company has hired four former students over the past three years."
 One of those students, Felicia Booker, is currently a computer programming intern in St. Louis working in information systems. Booker, who has a vision impairment, said the program is ideal for people with disabilities.
 "It's taught me what the actual job is like -- what it means to be a professional," she said. "You're required to be at work on time and do professional quality work."
 Another former ADEPT student, Mike West, is now an associate analyst at Southwestern Bell. West, who has quadriplegia, works on programming for software systems that help the company administer its telecommunications network.
 "Before starting classes at ADEPT, I didn't even know how to turn a computer on," West said. "The program is very comprehensive. It's the equivalent of two years' training compressed into nine months."
 West's initial internship turned into an extended one. Last April, he became a full-time employee. During his training at ADEPT, West received mentoring help from Gerri Botindari, a systems analyst at the company.
 "She supported me all the way through and kept me from quitting," West said, adding that he actually looks forward to Monday mornings. "I love it here."
 -0- 10/22/92
 /CONTACT: Joe Elstner of Southwestern Bell Telephone, 314-247-2888/
 (SBC) CO: Southwestern Bell Telephone ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU:


SH -- NY118 -- 3736 10/22/92 14:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 22, 1992
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