Monday, April 23, 2012

'I’m talking about jobs, careers and opportunities'

I attended the Alliance for Full Participation Summit at the Gaylord National Conference Center and Hotel in Washington, D.C., in November. What I have to tell you in my report will be compelling.

Tony Sampson
First off, let me tell you about the presentation that Jaime Daignault and I did on getting ready for a job interview. Jaime is a policy associate at the Human Services Research Institute
in Tualatin, Ore.

Here are a few questions that came up: “Should you give high-fives in place of handshakes or wear shorts and sandals to job interviews?

Another is eating and drinking. Is it really necessary? What if the interviewer smells what you ate on your breath? And also, cell phones. If it rings, don’t answer it. Jaime is from The Riot, a self-advocacy organization in Oregon. She works on getting people with developmental disabilities out of sheltered workshops and helps them get jobs. And when I say jobs, I mean real jobs!

Menial jobs
I’m not talking about jobs that have people flipping burgers, working on yard crews, cleaning bathrooms in grocery stores (like I once did!) and working in hotel rooms making beds. I’m talking about, jobs, careers and opportunities like regular people. Jobs like working in warehouses, moving stuff; using computers in an office and typing and using their high school and college education. The Riot has its own webpage: It has some things that some counselors say to people (or clients/consumers) in the workshop: “We need you in the workshop,” or “You will never get a job in the real world,” or even “You’re too valuable to leave us.”

How can one organization be this discouraging? Even people who are unlikely to have jobs have dreams, too!

Read the whole piece. (p 8

Self-advocate Tony Sampson is a regular contributor to Apostrophe magazine. He's a graduate of Leaders in Disability Policy and a former member of the Maryland Disabilities Council. He has delivered many training sessions on inequality in the treatment of people with disabilities. He has worked at Home Depot for five years. 

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