Connecting Service to Employment for Members of All Abilities

Participating in national and community service is one way for people with and without disabilities to gain valuable experience and skills toward employment. The National Service Inclusion Project is currently looking for success stories from service members with disabilities about how his or her service experience has linked them to full or part time work. If you are a service member with a disability who would be interested in sharing your story of your transition from service to employment, please submit your story here.

Below is Michael Agyin’s story of how his service experience led to his current position within the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood and Community Service.

During his term of service in 2000-2001 with National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), Michael served with his team in a variety of community-based projects, including at a summer camp for children with disabilities. “It was great to get the opportunity to instill in [the children with disabilities at the summer camp] from the beginning that they too could serve.” Michael, who is Deaf, worked with his team to enable more effective communication. “Some members picked up some ASL [American Sign Language], and sign language interpreters were provided for big meetings.”

After earning his Bachelor’s in Sociology from University of California, North Ridge, Michael decided to commit to another term of national service in 2006-2007. “I missed being part of AmeriCorps. Public Allies was a way back in to AmeriCorps…continue learning, and to break into the non-profit sector. I served as the Program Assistant for the Campaign for College Opportunity on the ‘Save Me a Spot in College’ Scholarship Contest and completed a community organizing course.”

“When I first saw an ad for AmeriCorps: NCCC, it said ‘Your World. Your Chance to Make it Better.’ From that moment on it felt like challenge, it felt like an opportunity, and most importantly it felt like a call to public service. It’s from this challenging and amazing experience that I learned and understood the power of compassion, corporation, and most importantly as a collective putting aside our fears, needs and wants to accomplish a worthwhile goal. These lessons are deeply imprinted in me now.” Michael currently works for Antonio R. Villaraigosa, the Mayor of Los Angeles, in the Office of Neighborhood and Community Services.

Michael will be speaking at 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, on June 23, 2009, during the Immersion Learning Session: Service as a Bridge to Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, from 3:30-6:30 p. m. Participants of all levels are welcome. This immersion learning session described below will discuss how service can lead to employment for individuals with disabilities.

The historic unemployment and underemployment of people with disabilities is indisputable. Four out of five persons with disabilities are not employed nor are they considered a part of the available workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Given this data and our current economy, developing competitive and marketable job skills are now more critical than ever. Volunteering and community service are proven avenues through which individuals have been able to improve their communities, gain skills, explore career paths, develop social networks, and experience the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of others. Join leaders from the national service and disability communities for a powerful dialogue on service and volunteering as a bridge to meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities.

Learn more about this immersion learning session.

We always look forward to serving you! Please feel free to contact us with any disability inclusion questions and requests for information at NSIP@umb.edu or 888-491-0326 (V/TTY). Visit our website for a list of trainings offered by NSIP.

We always look forward to serving you! Please feel free to contact us with any disability inclusion questions and requests for information at NSIP [at] umb.edu or 888-491-0326 (V/TTY). Visit our website for a list of trainings offered by NSIP.

The National Service Inclusion Project is a cooperative agreement (08TAHMA001) between the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston in collaboration with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Association on Higher Education and Disability, National Council on Independent LivingNational Down Syndrome Congress. Information contained in this email is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement from the National Service Inclusion Project or the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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