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Work-based learning and students with disabilities: one step toward high-skill, high-pay careers.

Employment in a high-skill, high-pay position is a big part of the American dream American dream also American Dream
An American ideal of a happy and successful life to which all may aspire:
. Yet, many people with disabilities fall short of realizing this dream. A survey commissioned by the National Organization on Disability concludes that only 29 percent of those with disabilities of working age are employed full- or part-time part-time
For or during less than the customary or standard time: a part-time job.

 as compared with 79 percent of those who do not have disabilities. Of the people with disabilities who are not working, 72 percent report that they would prefer to have a job. In addition, two-thirds of adults with disabilities report that their disabilities have either prevented them from getting the kind of job they would like (41%) or made it more difficult (26%) (National Organization on Disability, 1998). Equity in career opportunities is an important goal, but one not easily achieved

Obstacles to employment in high-skill positions for people with disabilities include lack of encouragement from individuals with whom they interact, inadequate support systems and accommodations, and lack of access to technology that can maximize independence and productivity. Computer and Internet Internet

Publicly accessible computer network connecting many smaller networks from around the world. It grew out of a U.S. Defense Department program called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), established in 1969 with connections between computers at the
 technologies can play a key role in helping individuals with disabilities overcome some of these obstacles. Blind students equipped with voice and Braille Braille (brāl), in astronomy, a small asteroid notable because it has the same atypical geologic composition as the larger asteroid Vesta.  output systems can manipulate manipulate

To cause a security to sell at an artificial price. Although investment bankers are permitted to manipulate temporarily the stock they underwrite, most other forms of manipulation are illegal.
 data and text in ways that were not possible in years past. With technologies such as alternative keyboards and voice input systems, individuals with mobility impairments that limit the use of their hands can gain full access to computing computing - computer  resources and tools and thereby perform high-level job functions side-by-side with their nondisabled peers. Careers that exploit technology offer great potential for individuals with disabilities. Technology can also facilitate support and encouragement to individuals with disabilities through electronic communities and information resources (1) The data and information assets of an organization, department or unit. See data administration.

(2) Another name for the Information Systems (IS) or Information Technology (IT) department. See IT.
 about alternative accommodations.

Many employers face current shortages of technical talent and predict greater shortages in the new millennium. They often report their number one challenge is finding an adequate supply of talented workers. To find qualified workers, private industry, non-profit organizations A non-profit organization (abbreviated "NPO", also "non-profit" or "not-for-profit") is a legally constituted organization whose primary objective is to support or to actively engage in activities of public or private interest without any commercial or monetary profit purposes.  and government agencies must recruit from all sectors of society. Talented prospective workers can be found among college-bound youth with disabilities. However, these students must be encouraged to enter high-tech high-tech also hi-tech
adj. Informal
Of, relating to, or resembling high technology.


same as hi-tech

Adj. 1.
 fields, obtain academic preparation, develop self-advocacy Self-advocacy is an important term in the disability rights movement. It is also used in regard to patients taking control of their own care in the medical system. Self-advocacy and disability  skills, and learn the necessary job skills to successfully perform in these positions.

Work-Based Learning Experiences

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
This article or section is currently being developed or reviewed.
Some statements may be disputed, incorrect, , biased or otherwise objectionable.
 of 1990 (PL 94-142), revised in 1997 (PL 105-17), seeks to ensure that students with disabilities receive an education that facilitates the transition to further education and work. Similarly, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 (PL 103-239) increases work-based and school-based learning opportunities for all students. The act creates a national framework to help states and communities create comprehensive systems to help all students apply classroom learning to high-wage, high-skill jobs or further education, and it advocates work-based learning and college preparation, explicitly mentioning students with disabilities as a target population for program inclusion. States and communities are developing programs nationwide to meet the transition needs of all students. College and university programs also offer a wide variety of work-based learning options for students enrolled in their institutions.

A work-based learning experience is any activity that gives a person an opportunity to witness or participate in typical tasks that take place in an employment setting. Described below are a few of the work-based learning activities most commonly available to high school and college students.

Job Shadowing

Visiting a worksite and observing one or more employees performing the day-to-day day-to-day
1. Occurring on a routine or daily basis: the day-to-day movements of the stock market.

 duties of a job in which the student is interested can provide a valuable career exploration experience. The job shadower can learn the basic functions and experience the working environment of a specific job. A job shadowing experience can vary in length from an hour or two to a full day or more, depending on the interest of the student and the flexibility of the employer.

Internship internship /in·tern·ship/ (in´tern-ship) the position or term of service of an intern in a hospital.
n the course work or practicum conducted in a professional dental clinic.

An internship is an intense work experience of a limited time period. A student, internship coordinator, and employer collaborate to locate an appropriate work setting for the student to accomplish planned learning activities. The participant develops work-readiness skills and performs job functions under close supervision. Some programs offer academic credit for participation in internships.

Cooperative Education
Please note that Co-operative education can also refer to education about Co-operative societies. For this usage, please refer to Co-operative studies.

The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view

Cooperative education programs extend the classroom experience to an employment setting. They are typically offered as part of a student's specific degree program. For example, a student could work as a trainee in a software development company as part of a cooperative education experience in computer science. In a cooperative education experience a participant works in a trainee position in a field of interest and gains career-related skills. Co-op experiences are typically paid positions and usually carry academic credits.

Service Learning

Students can gain job skills as they provide a community service in non-paid, volunteer service learning experiences. Participants apply knowledge and skills while contributing to the community. Sometimes academic credit can be arranged for service learning activities. Participants gain job skills as well as references that are useful in gaining full-time full-time
Employed for or involving a standard number of hours of working time: a full-time administrative assistant.

, paid employment. For example, a student with a disability who is seeking employment developing and maintaining Web pages could gain experience by volunteering to develop a Web page for a place of worship Noun 1. place of worship - any building where congregations gather for prayer
house of God, house of prayer, house of worship

bethel - a house of worship (especially one for sailors)
 or a local charity group.

Benefits of Work-Based Learning

The transition from school to work is particularly difficult for people with disabilities. Attitudinal barriers and accommodation issues are compounded by the fact that college graduates with disabilities often have had few previous work experiences. Participating in work-based learning experiences has been recognized as a contributor to positive employment outcomes for all students, including those with disabilities (Doren & Benz Benz   , Karl Friedrich 1844-1929.

German automobile pioneer credited with manufacturing the first vehicle powered with an internal-combustion engine, patented in 1886.
, 1998). School-to-work program components that have been found to predict post-school success for students with and without disabilities include the emphasis on both academic and employment skills and the provision of work experiences while still in school (Benz, Yovanoft & Doren, 1997; Phelps Phelps may refer to:

In places in the US:
  • Phelps (village), New York
  • Phelps (town), New York
  • Phelps, Kentucky
  • Phelps (town), Wisconsin
  • USS Phelps (DD-360), a US Navy destroyer
People with the surname
 & Hanley-Maxwell, 1997).

Participation in work-related activities can help students to:

* clarify academic and career interests;

* gain academic credit

* select future courses of study;

* pay for a college education;

* develop skills in relating to relating to relate prepconcernant

relating to relate prepbezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc 
 supervisors and co-workers;

* test skills in a job setting;

* build a resume;

* develop a network of potential employers; and

* develop relationships with people who can be used as references when applying for positions upon graduation Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the associated ceremony. The date of event is often called degree day. The event itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. .

A student with a disability gains the additional benefits of being able to practice disclosing a disability, requesting accommodations and assessing the appropriateness of specific accommodation strategies.

For employers, providing work-based learning opportunities to students allows them to help prepare workers for the next generation and also test the job skills of potential future employees. When a participant has a disability, employers also gain practice in working with an individual to create a work environment that maximizes productivity and minimizes the impact of a disability.

Society benefits when individuals with disabilities, as well as other underrepresented un·der·rep·re·sent·ed  
Insufficiently or inadequately represented: the underrepresented minority groups, ignored by the government. 
 populations, participate side-by-side with their peers in activities that were once unavailable to them. Full inclusion in work-based learning increases the supply of skilled workers available to fill high-skill positions. Positive experiences can also reduce the most significant barrier, negative attitude, faced by individuals with disabilities pursuing challenging careers such as those in science and engineering (Changing America America [for Amerigo Vespucci], the lands of the Western Hemisphere—North America, Central (or Middle) America, and South America. The world map published in 1507 by Martin Waldseemüller is the first known cartographic use of the name. , 1989). Full employment of people with disabilities can save billions of public dollars that are now used to support unemployed people Noun 1. unemployed people - people who are involuntarily out of work (considered as a group); "the long-term unemployed need assistance"

plural, plural form - the form of a word that is used to denote more than one
 with disabilities (Profit from Our Experience, 1995).

Examples of Work-Based Learning Programs

A high school student with a disability who wishes to take part in work-based learning experiences should consult with a school guidance or career counselor or call the district office to inquire in·quire   also en·quire
v. in·quired, in·quir·ing, in·quires

1. To seek information by asking a question: inquired about prices.

 about school-to-work options provided in the school district. Counselors or special education teachers can work with other staff, including rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy.  counselors, the employer and the student to help assure that reasonable disability-related accommodations are provided. Efforts should be made to help the student gain self-advocacy and other skills that make people competitive when seeking employment.

A college student with a disability who wishes to participate in work-based learning should ask academic advisors and faculty about opportunities. Even if a formal program does not exist, a faculty member may be willing to supervise a work-based learning experience under a directed study Noun 1. directed study - a course of study that is supervised and controlled by a specialist in the subject; "he registered for directed study"; "he got credit for directed study"; "he did directed study"  arrangement with an interested student. The career services or cooperative education program offices, more often available on large campuses than small, can also be of assistance in locating opportunities. The campus disabled student services office can help determine reasonable accomadations. Work opportunities on campus should also be explored, and community service organizations are always looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.

Several natiowide efforts to place college students with disabilities into work experiences that lead to high level positions are in place. For example, Entry Point! provides summer internships in private industry and government agencies to college students who are pursuing degrees in science, engineering, mathematics, and computer science. Participants are placed throughout the country in paid positions. Entry Point! was developed through a partnership between the American Association for the Advancement of Science American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), private organization devoted to furthering the work of scientists and improving the effectiveness of science in the promotion of human welfare.  (AAAS AAAS American Association for the Advancement of Science. ), IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) , NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
 in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Independent U.S.
, DuPont Dupont, DuPont, Du Pont, or du Pont may refer to: Companies
  • E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont), the world's fourth largest chemical company
  • Du Pont Motors
, Lockheed Martin For the former company, see .

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a leading multinational aerospace manufacturer and advanced technology company formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta.
, and UNUM Unum (NYSE: UNM) is a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based insurance company previously named UnumProvident, which was formed from the merger of two competing insurance companies, Unum of Portland, Maine, and Provident of Chattanooga.  Insurance Company. The AAAS also coordinates Achieving Competence in Computing, Engineering, and Space Science (ACCESS), a program that provides paid summer internships at NASA for college-level students with diabilities who are studying engineering, mathematics, physical science, or computer science.

The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities has two programs to support work experiences:

* the Workforce Recruitment Program for college students and

* High School/High Tech for precollege students.

The Workforce Recruitment Program coordinates with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide summer and permanent employment for college students. Applicants are interviewed and rated according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the Federal Government rating scale. Rating information is entered into a database for participating employers to access. High School/High Tech is a network of community-based programs that prepare high school students for science, engineering and technology careers. High School/High Tech activities are unique to each program, but typically include job site visits, mentoring, job shadowing, guest speakers, after school activities, and summer internships. Bridges ... From School to Work, sponsored by the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, is an example of another program that develops paid internships for students with disabilities while they are still in high school.

One Program's Experiences -- DO-IT DO-IT Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology  

Disabilities, Opportunities, Internet-working, and Technology (DO-IT) is based at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle and is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and the State of Washington. DO-IT serves to increase the representation of individuals with disabilities in challenging fields where they have been traditionally underrepresented. DO-IT staff work with high school and college students to facilitate successful college and career transitions. They foster activities that increase skills in using computers, adaptive technology Adaptive technology is the name for products which help people who cannot use regular versions of products, primarily people with physical disabilities such as limitations to vision, hearing, and mobility.  and the Internet; preparing for and succeeding in college; and transitioning from school to work. Staff also support Internet-based discussions with peers and mentors and coordinate work-based learning experiences for participants. DO-IT provides participants a myriad Myriad is a classical Greek name for the number 104 = 10 000. In modern English the word refers to an unspecified large quantity.

The term myriad is a progression in the commonly used system of describing numbers using tens and hundreds.
 of opportunities for work-based learning, specifically:

* DO-IT provides both unpaid and paid work experiences to students with disabilities within DO-IT programs. For example, college students with disabilities can work as unpaid interns This article or section is written like an .
Please help [ rewrite this article] from a neutral point of view.
Mark blatant advertising for , using .
 or paid staff during DO-IT's summer programs for teens with disabilities. High school and college students with disabilities can also engage in peer mentoring Peer Mentoring is a form of mentoring that takes place in learning environments such as schools, usually between an older more experienced student and a new student(s). Peer Mentors should not be confused with prefects.  and participate in panels, presentations and exhibits hosted by DO-IT.

* DO-IT identifies work opportunities for students with disabilities on the university campus. For example, some students have worked in the UW Adaptive Technology Lab in paid student lab assistant positions.

* DO-IT partners with Entry Point!, High School/High Tech, ACCESS, the Workforce Recruitment Program, and college-career development offices to recruit students with disabilities into these programs.

* DO-IT develops relationships with businesses and government agencies and helps recruit and support students with disabilities within their internship programs.

In all of these activities, DO-IT staff take an active role in assuring that students, mainstream campus career development providers and employers work together to make accommodations at the worksite to maximize the success of the student. In most cases, these accommodations require less effort and fewer dollars than the employer anticipated. Dan Hodge, technical recruiting manager at AirTouch Cellular, notes: "Our costs for accommodations are usually a lot less than we anticipate they're going to be." Employers are encouraged to work with the student in determining reasonable accommodations reasonable accommodations A standard of providing for a worker's or customer's needs, as mandated by the ADA, which requires that a business make appropriate changes in the environment to accommodate those with mental or physical disabilities as long as such . Together they address the questions:

1. What does the task or assignment require?

2. What physical, sensory sensory /sen·so·ry/ (sen´sor-e) pertaining to sensation.

1. Of or relating to the senses or sensation.

, and cognitive skills cognitive skill Psychology Any of a number of acquired skills that reflect an individual's ability to think; CSs include verbal and spatial abilities, and have a significant hereditary component  are needed?

3. What components of the task require accommodation?

4. What accommodation options exist?

A successful work experience helps a student gain confidence, insights into career options and skills in performing job tasks and working with coworkers. The employer gains confidence in making accommodations for an individual with a disability and a higher degree of comfort in fully including people with disabilities at the worksite. A successful work-based learning experience contributes to the development of positive attitudes of supervisors and coworkers about working with individuals who have disabilities.

The work-based learning activities of DO-IT are coordinated under the DO-IT CAREERS program, which is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The name also serves as an acronym acronym: see abbreviation.

A word typically made up of the first letters of two or more words; for example, BASIC stands for "Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
 of the following reminders to participants as they prepare for the world of work.

* "C" is for Careers. Think about what interests you. Be imaginative, then narrow down the list.

* "A" is for Academics. Determine which academic programs best suit your career goals.

* "R" is for Research. Research careers that spark spark, in electricity: see arc.

(language) SPARK - An annotated subset of Ada supported by tools supplied by Praxis Critical Systems (originally by PVL).
 your interests, maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

* "EE" is for Experiential Education The perspective and/or examples in this article do not represent a world-wide view. Please [ edit] this page to improve its geographical balance. . Practice job search skills. Participate in internships, service learning, cooperative education programs, and other work-based learning opportunities.

* "RS" is for Relevant Skills. Use on-the-job experiences to learn practical "real world" skills. Apply what you've learned in school to the work-place. Test which accommodations work best.

Another successful practice of DO-IT is to connect young people with disabilities with mentors who have disabilities and are succeeding in challenging college studies and careers. Mentoring occurs in person and via an electronic community on the Internet.

Student Voices

Many participants in DO-IT programs for youth have benefitted from participation in work-based learning experiences. For example, in the DO-IT Scholars Program, students with disabilities prepare for the transition to postsecondary education and careers. The goal of the program is not only to help these students make successful transitions from high school to college to careers, but to facilitate their development as leaders in their communities as well. Students in the program are loaned computers and adaptive technology that allow them to access the computer independently, and they are provided with an Internet connection. They attend two summer study programs at the University of Washington (UW), where they experience college life and develop supportive peer relationships while gaining valuable computer, self-advocacy and work-related skills. For a third summer session they have an option to work as interns. Once scholars enroll in college and pursue careers they become DO-IT ambassadors, sharing their experiences with the younger scholars.

In 1993, high school student Randy The name Randy generally derives from the names Randall or Randolph (meaning wolf with a shield). Randy is used as a given name primarily in the US and Canada. Men known as Randy
  • Randy Fiesta - Currently working at Alabang.Known for his Dancing Moves.
, blind since birth, became a DO-IT scholar. Randy was loaned a computer with screen reading software and a voice output system and provided with an Internet connection that allowed him to complete school assignments without a human reader. He participated in electronic discussions with other DO-IT scholars and adult mentors, most of whom have disabilities themselves. After attending two summer study sessions at the UW, he worked as an intern intern /in·tern/ (in´tern) a medical graduate serving in a hospital preparatory to being licensed to practice medicine.

in·tern or in·terne
 the following summer. After high school, Randy majored in computer science at the Evergreen evergreen, term commonly used as synonymous with conifer and applied also to all those broad-leaved plants that bear green leaves throughout the year. Of the latter, most are plants of the tropics, subtropics, and other areas where the growing season is prolonged (e.  State College in Olympia. He continues to actively participate as a DO-IT Ambassador, mentoring younger students and participating in program activities.

During Randy's college career, he took part in several work-based learning experiences, in addition to the nonpaid internship at DO-IT's Summer Study Program. He participated in panels at several DO-IT professional development programs. DO-IT staff helped Randy secure a 6-month, puses than small, can also be of assistance in locating opportunities. The campus disabled student services office can help determine reasonable accommodations. Work opportunities on campus should also be explored, and community service organizations are always looking for volunteers.

Several nationwide efforts to place college students with disabilities into work experiences that lead to high level positions are in place. For example, Entry Point! provides summer internships in private industry and government agencies to college students who are pursuing degrees in science, engineering, mathematics and computer science. Participants are placed throughout the country in paid positions. Entry Point! was developed through a partnership between the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), IBM, NASA, DuPont, Lockheed Martin, and UNUM Insurance Company. The AAAS also coordinates Achieving Competence in Computing, Engineering, and Space Science (ACCESS), a program that provides paid summer internships at NASA for college-level students with disabilities who are studying enginee ring, mathematics, physical science, or computer science.

The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities has two programs to support work experiences:

* the Workforce Recruitment Program for college students, and

* High School/High Tech for pre-college students.

The Workforce Recruitment Program coordinates with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide summer and permanent employment paid cooperative education placement in the Information Technology department at the Weyerhaeuser Company. Randy brought adaptive technology, loaned to him by DO-IT, with him to his work experience. His knowledge about his accommodation needs and the ready availability of the technology that allowed him to be independent and productive helped to make his appointment at Weyerhaeuser successful. His work-based learning experience gave him the opportunity to try out a job at Weyerhaeuser, test his accommodations in a job setting, demonstrate his skills, and develop an important contact for his first job after graduation. In fact, Weyerhaeuser, impressed im·press 1  
tr.v. im·pressed, im·press·ing, im·press·es
1. To affect strongly, often favorably:
 with his performance during his cooperative education experience, offered Randy a permanent, full-time position in their information technology department. Clearly, his work-based learning experience proved to be a critical step on his road to securing a high-skill position.

The following paraphrased comments from DO-IT scholars, ambassadors and mentors echo Randy's experiences, illustrate a wide variety of work-based learning options and support the value of work experiences for students with disabilities (DO-IT goes to work, 1998):

* I had a project my senior year of college where I built and maintained a Web site for my church. I'm still maintaining it even after college. It has let me gain experience through experimentation on how to build an effective Web site. It is important for any student to do this, and it is especially beneficial to people with disabilities because they sometimes need more help to overcome employers' biases.

* I had a valuable work experience when I was in high school. I worked on a project in Explorer Scouts
This term should not be confused with Exploring, which was a program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Explorer Scouts (shortened to Explorers), a section of the Scout Association in the United Kingdom for 14 to 18 year olds, was introduced in 2003
. We formed a group that worked at a local TV station, and we actually produced six half-hour TV programs that aired on Sunday Sunday: see Sabbath; week.  afternoons.

* Where I live, in the country by a very small town of 514 residents, there just isn't anything for me. I work on our family farm doing some of the paperwork for our finances on my computer. I guess that is a kind of work experience and should look good on a resume (besides providing me with a small sum of spending money).

* I am visually impaired and hearing impaired as well ... I am currently involved in work experience programs within my school and the community. The school district has a program called "School-to-Work" and a "School-Within-a-School" program. In the past 2 years, I have been to a doctor's office, an Internet provider Internet provider - Internet Service Provider  and a travel agency. I have gained a lot of knowledge of business management, work ethics work ethic
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.

work ethic

a belief in the moral value of work
 and other work-related skills. The program teaches resume composition, cover letter composition, business letters, some general knowledge of business law, interview practices and rules, and how to apply for a real job and use good communication skills with supervisors, staff, managers, and coworkers.

* I was an executive intern with a local meteorologist during my senior year in high school and then worked for two summers for the assistant state climatologist cli·ma·tol·o·gy  
The meteorological study of climates and their phenomena.

 of Colorado. These experiences strengthened my desire to go into atmospheric atmospheric /at·mos·pher·ic/ (at?mos-fer´ik) of or pertaining to the atmosphere.


of or pertaining to the atmosphere.
 science research. I also learned that connections can really help you get a job! And I practiced articulating my needs when necessary.

* During my senior year, I had an intern job at a local newspaper. I had been interested in doing some graphic work using computers for a couple of years. I had a couple of job shadows in high school that made me really consider something in this area. So this was a really good way to get my foot in the door. My internship was not a paying one, but I got high school credit for it since I did it during school hours. If you get paid, great. Now I work at Disability Support Services support services Psychology Non-health care-related ancillary services–eg, transportation, financial aid, support groups, homemaker services, respite services, and other services  at my college, and having the computer and graphics background helped make me more qualified for the position.

* I've had four work-based learning experiences. I believe it is very important for students with disabilities to have work experiences before they graduate. An internship gives students a chance to problem-solve how they will transfer an accommodation used in school to a work setting in a nonthreatening environment. It is a learning experience! You learn what works for you, and you learn what does not work for you.

Staff and employers who work with DO-IT scholars and ambassadors report the value of these experiences for students with disabilities. They confirm the importance of students with disabilities becoming knowledgeable about their accommodation needs and learning appropriate ways to discuss their disabilities as they relate to specific job tasks. Work-based learning offers a low-risk, nonthreatening opportunity to learn and practice these skills.

Although work-based learning programs abound, Julie Smallman, past coordinator of DO-IT CAREERS, notes "Students with disabilities aren't accessing these services at the rate of their nondisabled peers. Many students regard them as optional program components that aren't designed for them." Further, she points out, "Inaccessible inaccessible Surgery adjective Unreachable; referring to a lesion that unmanageable by standard surgical techniques–eg, lesions deep in the brain or adjacent to vital structures–ie, not accessible. See Accessible.  offices and materials, lack of targeted marketing and lack of knowledge about legal issues, accommodation strategies and other disability-related employment situations on the part of career counselors and program coordinators have posed barriers to the participation of students with disabilities in campus work-based learning programs."


How can we assure that more students with disabilities have access to work-based learning opportunities that will lead to employment in high-skill, high-pay positions? Creative strategies must be employed to help work-based learning program administrators, educators, parents, service providers, policy makers, funding sources, and other stakeholders Stakeholders

All parties that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in a firm-stockholders, creditors, bondholders, employees, customers, management, the community, and the government.
 work together to reach this goal.

Those who coordinate high school and college work-based learning programs are in a unique position to provide opportunities to young people with disabilities. However, few of these programs make special efforts to recruit and support students with disabilities. These programs should

* consult with special educators, disabled student services staff and students with disabilities to create programs that meet the needs of students with disabilities;

* make special efforts to recruit students with disabilities into programs;

* assure that their facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities and that their program materials are available in alternative formats; and

* have in place policies and procedures Policies and Procedures are a set of documents that describe an organization's policies for operation and the procedures necessary to fulfill the policies. They are often initiated because of some external requirement, such as environmental compliance or other governmental  to accommodate students with disabilities and assure that appropriate accommodations are made in their program offerings and at worksites.

Parents, educators and service providers should help students with disabilities

* develop independent living, self-advocacy and social skills that will serve them well in an employment setting;

* gain access at an early age to powerful technological tools and use these tools to maximize independence, productivity and participation in academic and work-related activities;

* maintain high academic goals and take the math, science, and other preparatory pre·par·a·to·ry  
1. Serving to make ready or prepare; introductory. See Synonyms at preliminary.

2. Relating to or engaged in study or training that serves as preparation for advanced education:
 classes they need to pursue challenging careers;

* interact with successful role models, especially college students and adults with disabilities who are successful in challenging fields of study and employment; and

* become aware of programs that help individuals with disabilities become fully self-supporting members of society (e.g., the Supplemental Security Income Supplemental Security Income

A Social Security program established to help the blind, disabled, and poor.
 work incentive program).

To assure that students with disabilities gain appropriate skills and work opportunities, employers should

* make special efforts to recruit individuals with disabilities into their companies and become aware of accommodations strategies and resources such as the Job Accommodation Network service of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and

* help schools and work-based learning programs understand which skills and knowledge are most critical for high performance in the work force.


Students with disabilities face unique challenges as they transition to college and the work force. By participating in work experiences, students with disabilities gain knowledge about specific careers and skills in working with supervisors and peers, performing job tasks, and securing appropriate accommodations. Educators, service providers, government agencies, policy makers, funding sources, and parents should join forces to assure that high school and college students with disabilities have full access to a broad range of work-based learning options.

This article was developed under grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative re·ha·bil·i·tate  
tr.v. re·ha·bil·i·tat·ed, re·ha·bil·i·tat·ing, re·ha·bil·i·tates
1. To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.

 Services, Office of Special Education Programs (#H324M990010) and from the National Science Foundation (#9800324). The contents do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of these funding sources.

Bibliography bibliography. The listing of books is of ancient origin. Lists of clay tablets have been found at Nineveh and elsewhere; the library at Alexandria had subject lists of its books.  

Benz, R.B., Yavonoff, P., and Doren, B. (1997). School-to-work components that predict postschool success for students with and without disabilities. Exceptional Children, 63 (2), 151-165.

Changing America: The new face of science and engineering. (1989). Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation Task Force on Women, Minorities, and the Handicapped in Science and Technology.

DO-IT goes to work! (1998, July) DO-IT News, 6 (5), 7-10.

Doren, B., and Benz, M.R. (1998). Employment inequity revisited: Predictors of better employment outcomes of young women with disabilities in transition. The Journal of Special Education, 31 (4), 425-442.

National Organization on Disability/ Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities Americans with disabilities comprise one of the largest minority groups in the United States. According to the Disability Status: 2000 - Census 2000 Brief [1], approximately 20% of Americans have one or more diagnosed psycho-physical disability.  (1998). [Online]. Available:

Phelps, L.A., and Hanley-Maxwell, Cheryl. (1997). School-to-work transitions School-to-work transition is a phrase referring to on-the-job training, apprenticeships, cooperative education agreements or other programs designed to prepare students to enter the job market.  for youth with disabilities: A review of outcomes and practices. Review of Educational Research, 67 (2), 197-226.

Profit From Our Experience (1995). Washington, DC: President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

Dr. Burgstahler is the Director of DO-IT and Assistant Director of Information Systems, Computing and Communications, at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
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Title Annotation:results of a survey by the National Organization on Disability
Author:Burgstahler, Sheryl
Publication:American Rehabilitation
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2001
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