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Forum to Discuss Employment for People With Disabilities

Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at RIC

Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at RIC

Rhode Island College and the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities will host a free public forum, “Introduction to the Discovery Process and Customized, Community Employment,” on Thursday, June 19, 6-8 p.m. at Alger Hall, Room 110. The forum is part of a yearlong series on employment for people with disabilities and illustrates the range of strategies that are available to both job developers and employers. Those wishing to attend the forum are asked to register through the Sherlock Center website, www.sherlockcenter.org.

Anthony Antosh, director of the Sherlock Center, explained that many people with disabilities have not had extensive experience with work. “Discovery is a structured process that permits people to sample different types of work. This helps them to build interests, to understand their strengths and to develop career plans,” he said.

“Customized employment,” Antosh continued, “is a process for shaping a job so that it matches individual strengths. This has proven to be a very effective strategy for supporting people who have significant challenges.”

Rooted in the belief that everyone can work, both discovery and customized employment have been effectively used to increase the number of people with disabilities who enter the workforce, Antosh said.

Panelists for the program include Michael Callahan, president of Marc Gold & Associates, and Colleen Moynihan, director of the Business Development Center at New England Business Associates (NEBA). The Mississippi-based Marc Gold & Associates is a network of training consultants who specialize in employment and community participation for persons with significant disabilities. NEBA, based in Springfield, Mass., assists individuals with disabilities or other barriers in reaching their employment and/or education goals and offers programs in supported employment, self-employment, job skills training and postsecondary education.

Sponsors for the series include the R.I. Developmental Disabilities Network, the Sherlock Center, the R.I. Developmental Disabilities Council, the R.I. Disability Law Center, the R.I. Parent Information Network, Rhode Island College, the Department of Human Services Office of Rehabilitative Services, the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island and the R.I. Chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First.

Housed at Rhode Island College, the Sherlock Center is the federal University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities for Rhode Island. As part of its vision, the Sherlock Center states that “the goal for every person with a developmental disability is a self-determined life that includes a quality place to live, individualized integrated employment and an individual lifestyle.”