Let the Network Begin!

Piecing together a career plan is a tough task for most everyone—just ask anyone who has tried. In this age of downsizing, mergers, acquisitions and every other attempt to economize in business, job seekers everywhere are feeling a bit like Humpty Dumpty. As much as they try, it’s hard to put good ole’ Humpty together for the first time, much less again and again.

If the Humpty Dumpty dilemma is difficult for the workforce at large, how much more challenging it is for people with physical limitations. The statistics on employment for people with disabilities is downright discouraging. In the Access Press article “Accessible Curricula”, October 10, 2003, we were again reminded that, “Of the 70% of people with disabilities that are unemployed two thirds are actively seeking employment.”

Do you ask yourself if all these job seekers will ever be employed people? Will it happen? Will the unemployment rates for people with disabilities ever drop? That would be news, wouldn’t it! But alas, we face the reality of the day, the pieces of poor ole’ Humpty—understanding how working will impact government benefits, transportation, accessibility, assistive technology, as well as networking, resume’ writing and more—are difficult and fit together to create a manageable career plan. It’s enough to make someone say, “Why bother?”

So why bother? The “Accessible Curricula” article addresses that question, too, “People with disabilities want to be seen as whole, productive people ¼with many talents and skills.” How true this is. So many well educated people with creativity, ingeniousness, persistence, determination and dedication are just looking for the opportunity to use those talents and skills productively.

Seeing the ongoing need for information, networking and support, a new Career Planning and Job Networking group has formed to help job seekers with disabilities tackle the issues related to employment. The goal is to provide an ongoing community based educational and supportive resource for people with disabilities who are seeking jobs, in job transition or planning future careers.

The Career Planning and Job Networking group will kick off monthly evening meetings at the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living in St. Paul early in 2004. If you are interested in being part this group please contact Jaime at 651-222-6783 or Alice at 651-483-1994.