The Other Side of
The Office for Students with Disabilities
Division of Student Affairs
Volume III, Issue 2 Spring 2002 Editor: James Walborn
DISABILITY AWARENESS DAY
On Tuesday, March 19th, Disability Awareness Day will be held on the Davie campus in the auditorium and breezeway of the Liberal Arts Building from 4:30 to 7:00PM. There will be many representatives from Broward County non-profit agencies available to provide information about their services. Nationally renown speaker Kenny Johnson, a blind comedian who won the prestigious "Media Access Award," will entertain and enlighten everyone.
All FAU students, faculty and staff, as well as the public, are invited to partake in the free food, refreshments, and festivities. If you have any questions please contact the Office for Students with Disabilities on the Davie campus at (954) 236-1222. Come and enjoy.
OSD/CDC: ENCOURAGING EMPLOYMENT
The OSD and CDC (Career Development Center) cooperated to bring an innovative employment project to FAU. On February 4 - 5, 2002 a government recruiter interviewed 27 FAU students with disabilities for both summer internships and full time employment through a very special program. The Work Force Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities is an employment project co-sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Dept. of Defense.
The program provides a referral system for the 1300 college students with disabilities, who will be interviewed across the country this spring, for both private companies and government agencies. While the OSD recommended students for the program, the CDC assisted them in developing their resumes and interviewing skills.
The OSD Assistive Technology Coordinator, Don Grossman, reflected, “Not only are there more students being interviewed this year, there are more private vendors utilizing the recruitment data, which means that there will be even more employment opportunities available for students with disabilities.
The CDC Associate Director, Sandra L Jakubow, is thrilled about the quality of the internships and employment prospects which will be made available for students through this recruitment process. States Jakubow, “The Work Force Recruitment program provides students with disabilities an excellent opportunity to intern in places such as the nation’s Capitol with a number of leading organizations.”
U. S. Dept. of Labor Recruiter Dina Dorich: “I do this as a labor of love every year. It is always a pleasure to meet all of the talented students. I think that this is a real good employment program.”
For many of the students this was their first interview in which they participated. The typical sentiment was expressed by Samantha: “The interview was a positive experience for me. This interviewer was very comforting, which helped me to calm down.”
Seth: “I felt that the recruiter actually cared about what I had to say. I was surprised to learn that the program encompasses a lot of jobs in the private sector that the government isn’t usually involved in.”
Greg: “The interviewer was very professional. I was asked questions about my goals and perspectives, and I hope that I was able to convey my potential, and that I am a highly motivated student. You come away from this interview feeling confident, and that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything.”
Samantha: “Unfortunately, a lot of people make judgements about you based on your disability, while overlooking your other capabilities. However, with this program the employers are already more interested in your abilities than the fact that you may have a physical or psychological impairment.”
The CDC looks forward to an on-going partnership with the OSD in preparing FAU students for competitive positions in the work place. For more information please contact the CDC at (561) 297-3533 and the OSD at (561) 297-3880.
SHARING WITH SHARON
Sharon Ahumada has been the Office Administrator for the OSD on the Davie campus for the last three years. She is an FAU graduate with a bachelors degree in Fine Arts.
Sharon schedules students’ appointments, and handles their testing needs, and deals with the faculty. “I help them fill out the forms--both the students and the faculty,” Sharon notes.
Since I’ve been working at the OSD there’s been some changes. I have seen professors get educated about disabled students, but there’s still a long ways to go,” notes Sharon. “Many people have difficulty understanding about hidden disabilities.”
“It’s been a growing experience for both me and my son. For an eight year old, he has seen a lot of different disabilities, but, at times I had to explain about disabilities that are not observable,” Sharon acknowledges. “It’s kind of hard but it opens his eyes to a lot of things.”
Any hobbies? “My passion is graphic design. I do some free lancing,” Sharon states. “I like to be very creative.”
Any dislikes? “I don’t like discrimination. I don’t like someone just assuming something about someone,” affirms Sharon. “We should never be afraid to ask questions.”
Anything unusual in the fridge? “I have these little fuzzy brown sour fruit about the size of a quarter called tamarindo. You suck the fuzz until you get to the seed, then you throw it away.” Yummy!
FAU’s seven campuses are located in some of the fastest growing counties in population in the nation. The counties are mandated by the State to maintain their Transportation Disadvantage systems (often referred to as “Dial-a-ride” services), which provide low cost transportation for the disabled individuals and senior citizens who cannot drive.
In the eight years since the funding was appropriated the number of people requiring this assistance increased 75%, so the counties are having difficulty maintaining services. Local lawmakers state that funding cuts are imminent.
The Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund is maintained by a $1.50 fee per vehicle at registration renewal time, however, non-business trucks, trailers, RV's and motorcycles are exempt.
Before the Florida legislature are House Bill 141 and Senate Bill 100 which would close these loopholes without raising taxes. To express concerns regarding these bills contact the State Representatives in your area.
We want to encourage comments and contributions from our readers. Please address any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues. Current and past issues are available at http://www.fau.edu/osd.
This newsletter is available in alternate format upon request from the Office for Students with Disabilities. Boca: SU 133; phone 561.297.3880, TTY 561.297.0358. Davie: MD I, Room 104; phone 954.236.1222, TTY 954.236.1146. Jupiter: SR 117; phone 561.799.8585, TTY 561.799.8565. Treasure Coast: JU 312; phone 772.873.3441.