2001 Conference Proceedings

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WHY ENTREPRENEURS CAN PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES!

James M. Barry

The most exciting trend in the electronic information age industry of today is the evolution of the spirit of the entrepreneur! Ideas are the capital that moves commerce. Opportunities are developing, new jobs are unfolding, businesses are being created, and fortunes are being made! Creative minds are solving a wide range of vexing problems. Technology is the common denominator.

A parallel trend with more esoteric implications is the elevation of Assistive Technology to this milieu prominent position. Advances in Assistive Technology have enabled people with disabilities to compensate for a variety of functional limitations and in the process, empowers the individual to develop the appropriate prerequisite skills that are indispensable to be productive in a competitive environment. Yet people with disabilities still have a staggering 60-70 % Unemployment rate!

What's wrong with this picture?

The training of people with disabilities is required. This has to be done before they can be qualified to be ready for work! Applications of work people with disabilities can do abound! Being able to utilizing this impressive array of Assistive Technology in the work place is key.

I'm on the President's Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities and we are attacking this issue with new resources. We are trying to come to grips with this dilemma. We are beginning to address possible solutions and alternatives. One of these alternatives is going into business for yourself. This is not a career path for everyone. It is risky, demanding and expensive.

As an ENTREPRENEUR, options can be explored and developed. People with disabilities have the motivation, the vision, the ideas and internal drive - what they do lack are the resources!


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