The Iowa Reverse Job Fair Effort

A reverse job fair participant stands in front of a poster board outlinig his professional work.

By Guest Bloggers David Mitchell, Administrator, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Michelle Krefft, Resource Manager for Business Services, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Chair, Employer’s Disability Resource Network

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides a chance for state systems to think differently regarding service delivery to individuals with disabilities that results in employment.  In Iowa, this has provided chances for various employment systems to come together with new energy, purpose and innovation as we work to align processes, increase capacity and move the employment dial forward for individuals with disabilities. An example of this type of collaboration is the reverse job fair concept. Iowa has developed a collaborative group of partners – the Employer’s Disability Resource Network, who have worked together to host the reverse job fairs.

The reverse job fair takes the typical business career fair, where job candidates travel from booth to booth – and reverses the action. In the reverse job fair, job candidates host their own booths, preparing their marketing materials to brand their skills, abilities and interests in entertaining and informative ways. This allows them to present themselves in a manner that showcases their work contributions and provides a new method of communicating with businesses that fits the comfort level of the job seeker. As business hiring authorities travel from booth to booth, the candidates present themselves highlighting their specific business contributions. Job candidates prepare in advance practicing their 30-second elevator speeches and preparing poster boards, models, or video and picture demonstrations, as creative displays of work skills that might meet a business need.

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Spotlight on: Paradox Sports

Alyssa White, Program Intern, Paradox Sports

By Guest Blogger Alyssa White, Program Intern, Paradox Sports

Paradox Sports is a small, non-profit adaptive organization based in Eldorado Springs, Colo., and is a nationally recognized leader in providing programs and education for rock climbing and ice climbing for people with disabilities.

The Paradox mission is clear: to revolutionize lives through adaptive climbing opportunities that defy convention! Paradox Sports seeks to recognize and foster an individual’s potential and strength, defying the assumption that people with a physical disability can’t lead a life of excellence and adventure. Paradox Sports connects community, encourages individuals push their limits and changes beliefs about what’s possible with a disability. Over the years, Paradox Sports has changed and grown, but at the core, the unwavering dedication to living fully and in the moment remains. Paradox runs adaptive climbing trips and trainings across the country for people with physical disabilities in order to make human-powered sports accessible to everyone. Paradox strives to not just lead trips and trainings, but to educate, empower and inspire!

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Making the Performance Triad a Lifestyle

Sergeant First Class Sean A. Green, Master Fitness and Resiliency Trainer for Army Central Command

By Guest Blogger Sergeant First Class Sean A. Green, Master Fitness and Resiliency Trainer for Army Central Command

While assigned to the Wounded Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB), I had the extraordinary opportunity to work with many of our nation’s heroes who sustained injuries while serving in combat overseas or in the line of duty. Most were preparing for their transition either back to civilian life or reintegrating back into active duty. Many of the injuries sustained by the service members included physical and behavioral injuries.

Often times a warrior in transition will have to take multiple variations of medications in order to assist with their functionality during daily activities. However, I witnessed the strength, ambition and resilience that is ingrained within our veterans. I witnessed these very same veterans arduously train for and eagerly participate in the Warrior Games, Invictus Games, and a number of other competitive adaptive sports.

During my assignment within the WTB, Gen. Patricia Horoho (Ret.) launched the Performance Triad, or P3 initiative. She realized the extreme importance of physical activity, sleep and nutrition as it pertains to optimal performance for all soldiers within the Army.

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The Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Independence Bound

Administration for Community Living

Editor’s Note: This blog was cross-posted from the Administration for Community Living’s blog.

By Bob Williams, Deputy Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities, and Director, Independent Living Administration

The original Rehabilitation Act became law just for the First World War and little change was made to it over the next five decades. In contrast, the landmark legislation that passed in 1973 altered the course of history in fundamental ways. When the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 became law, I was just starting my freshman year in high school. My parents and I worked hard for years to win the right, or at least the chance, for me to attend the same school and classes as every other kid in my town. This chance, coupled with the passage of the ’73 Act, opened up doors of opportunities for hundreds of thousands baby boomers with significant disabilities like me and successive generations in ways that seemed like the stuff of fiction 40 years ago.

The Act itself was the subject of intense debate and compromise on the part of Congress and the President. Earlier versions of the bill were vetoed by President Nixon in October 1972 and again in March 1973 because he believed the legislation, though well intended, would lead to unintended consequences both for government and people with disabilities it was intended to assist. This sparked protests led by young disability activists like Judy Heumann and others who took to Madison Avenue in New York City to demand legislation be passed. Months later, when he signed the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 into law, the President hailed it as creating “expanded job opportunities and further(ing) steps toward independence” as well as demonstrating the good that can come from “executive-legislative cooperation.”

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New SNAP Pilot Provides Grocery Delivery for Homebound Disabled, Elderly

Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

By Guest Blogger Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

Your neighborhood grocer may be conveniently located just a few short blocks away. But for many persons with disabilities and the elderly participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the store might as well be on the other side of the world.

It’s a difficult problem that USDA’s new homebound food delivery pilot aims to alleviate, not just for the more than 4 million nonelderly adults with disabilities participating in SNAP, but also for the nearly 5 million seniors, who often face similar challenges and who may face disabilities, as well.

USDA recently announced the food purchasing and delivery firms selected to take part in the one-year pilot, which will be conducted in locations nationwide, perhaps at a location near you. Firms selected include Denver Food Rescue (Denver, Colo.), Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (Las Vegas, N.V.), Many Infinities, Inc. (Alabaster, Ala.), Senior Services of Alexandria (Alexandria, Va.), and Store to Door (Roseville, Minn.).

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