2001 Conference Proceedings

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Sue Cusack, M.Ed.
Technology Specialist
Institute for Community Inclusion/UAP
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 355-8457 (voice)
(617) 355-7940 (fax)
(617) 355-6956 (TDD)
E-Mail: cusack_s@a1.tch.harvard.edu

US Census data indicates that 13 million American with disabilities are under-employed or unemployed; and a recent Harris Poll reports that 79% of working age people with disabilities who are not working, want to work. The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) with funding from Microsoft and in partnership with the University of Massachusetts/Boston and the New England Council [a consortium of New England businesses], is addressing this issue in a new initiative called WorkTech Solutions, a project that matches employer needs with the employment needs of people with disabilities.

At the heart of this initiative is a model that utilizes technology and flexible design strategies (or universal design) to help employers address job requirements and workplace environments in ways that attract and retain qualified individuals with disabilities. This model recognizes that individuals with varying needs and abilities can perform effectively and independently if technology is leveraged to its full potential. Additionally, as employers engage in strategies that promote access and flexibility, the application of universal design is extended beyond the environment to include the multifaceted issues of employment, retention, and promotion.

WorkTech Solutions will provide three primary services for the business community. First, a team of experts in technology, employment, and workplace environments, will work in partnership with businesses to respond to their unique employment needs. This team provides services such as:

The efforts of the team will be complimented by an accessible and user-friendly web site that is workplace and employer focused. At this site, employers will find:

a project description which identifies goals, project activities, and products; an application for supports and services which provides businesses the option of applying online for WorkTech Solutions supports and services:

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