Good news about the value of Pace students in the Pleasantville community appeared in an article about the Seidenberg School’s program for helping senior citizens.
Having a job makes one feel like a productive member of society. But for individuals with intellectual disabilities, interviewing and producing a resume can pose a challenge.
This fall 2010, AHRC New York City’s Employment and Business Services (EBS) Department has collaborated once again with students attending Pace University (left) to help job-seeking individuals with developmental disabilities present themselves at employment interviews.
Note: The following release was recently sent by a nonprofit organization that Pace students work with.
NEW YORK, NY December 8, 2010 – Having a job makes one feel like a productive member of society. But for individuals with intellectual disabilities, interviewing and producing a resume can pose a challenge.
This fall 2010, AHRC New York City’s Employment and Business Services (EBS) Department has collaborated once again with students attending Pace University to help job-seeking individuals with developmental disabilities present themselves at employment interviews.
The Pace University class, entitled Community Empowerment through Information Systems and Technologies, started in the fall of 2007. It is taught by Dr. James P. Lawler, a professor at the Pace University Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Throughout this semester, students worked directly with 19 developmentally disabled individuals who are looking for work, but need assistance in public speaking, interviewing, resume writing, and presenting themselves to employers.
Many of the job candidates are nonverbal or have limited verbal abilities. Using information technology, PACE students created interactive electronic resumes and biographical Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to show employers. These visual resumes and biographies also help AHRC EBS staff find employment for program participants.
Young adults “just like them”
“Working with students from Pace opens new horizons for our individuals as they not only prepare their visual resumes and learn about technology, but also get to interact with young adults who just like them are looking for jobs, planning their careers, and going to school…so they get new ideas, have different perspectives and go through the self-discovery process,” said EBS Program Coordinator, Naira Aslanyan.
For the past three and a half years, AHRC New York City and Dr. Lawler have formed a productive service-learning relationship. Proponents of service learning believe that it is a method that supports youth development, assisting students in gaining a deeper understanding of themselves, the community, and society.
This is what makes service learning different from other community service or volunteer work–education is at its core. Students participating in projects must prepare, act, reflect and demonstrate what they have gained through their community involvement. In this instance, individuals with developmental disabilities get the rare opportunity to market their skills to employers, while students learn from and develop a deeper understanding and acceptance of the disabled population.
A workforce including people with challenges is viable
People with disabilities thrive when given the opportunity to work. From 2009 to the present, 336 individuals obtained employment with over 100 employers in New York City. Jobs are in the fields of delivery services, food services, hotel housekeeping, maintenance, administrative, and retail services.
The goal of AHRC New York City’s Employment & Business Services division is to provide program participants with the chance to be employed in a competitive business. Their success demonstrates to the business community that an integrated workforce, including people who face intellectual or developmental challenges, is viable.
For more information about AHRC New York City or hiring employees with developmental disabilities, visit www.ahrcnyc.org or call 212-780-4491 or 212-780-4493 or email Hernan.Amorini@ahrcnyc.org or Luis.Martinez@ahrcnyc.org.
AHRC New York City, a family governed organization, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, and their families. AHRC currently serves over 13,000 individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the five boroughs. The array of residential, day habilitation, educational, respite, and medical services offered by the organization is unsurpassed. For additional information about AHRC, please visit www.ahrcnyc.org or www.ahrcnyc.wordpress.com.
Contact: Kate Mammolito – Public Relations
AHRC New York City
83 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038
Visit AHRC New York City‘s website
Visit the Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Techonology website.
Pace professor Jean Coppola (left), leads a program where students help teach senior citizens computer skills.
From the aricle:
The Chalfont-based company also has partnered with an intergenerational computing program at Pace University in Westchester County, N.Y., where students help senior citizens learn computer skills.
“When I saw it, I said to them, ‘Wow, this is the computer I’ve been waiting for,’ ” said Jean Coppola, the Pace University professor who leads the project. “The college students struggle over and over again because the older adult can’t get this mouse concept down. To double click to you and I is easy. It’s a struggle for them. To read an e-mail, it can take an hour.
The Telikin, developed by a Chalfont-based company of the same name, uses touch-screen technology to help senior citizens keep in touch with family.
“Everything confuses them on the screen. They’re afraid of breaking something. Forget it with a laptop. It’s just too small for them with their fingers, and don’t even think about a touch pad or a track point. They need specialized mice, which they can’t afford,” Coppola said.
Coppola said Telikin has also been agreeable to her suggestions on how to make the product even easier for seniors, many of whom crave the technological connection.
Chris Barba (pictured in top hat), a 2009 Scituate High School graduate, acted throughout high school and had other main roles before, but said he has never been a part of a production as big as this one. Barba is starring this week in Pace University’s “A Christmas Carol” as Fred, Scrooge’s optimistic nephew.
Barba explained that Fred continually tries to get Scrooge to see things in a better light then he is able to. And he said that no matter how much Scrooge rejects him, Fred keeps going back to form a relationship with Scrooge.
“Everyone knows the story of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and when I got the role I assumed I knew, but I realized that you can never really know too much,” said Barba. “You have to take to it seriously and get it right and do research and planning and be open to discovery as with any other role that you knew nothing about.”
“I was really heavily involved in acting program at Scituate High School,” Chris Barba said. “I was definitely a drama geek and was always reading plays and working hard all through high school.”
But Barba wasn’t so sure he wanted to pursue acting as a career until Maura Tighe, the drama director his freshman and sophomore year of high school, convinced him otherwise.
Barba said Tighe taught him about building a character.
“You think that performing is getting out on stage and saying lines in the most entertaining way possible, but I started to learn that when you create a character, you create a whole person, someone who may be similar to someone you know,” he said. “It’s something I learned more detail about in college, but she was the first person who planted that seed in my mind.”