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2005 Bridges to Employment

Bridges to Employment Conference First Event of Its Kind in Southeast
The Bridges to Employment conference - organized by the World Institute on Disability's National Technical Assistance Center, Proyecto Visión - attracted more than 150 job seekers, employment experts, employers, policymakers and advocates from around the country to Raleigh on June 1-3.

Creating Opportunities for Latinos with Disabilities in the US
'La verguenza' means shame. It doesn't matter whether you prefer the English word or the Spanish. What matters is that 'la verguenza' is probably the single biggest barrier to Latinos getting and staying employed, according to Kathy Martinez of Proyecto Visión.

Conference Participants Get a Crash Course on How to Influence Legislation
Every non-profit organization, especially those that advocate for people with disabilities, should become proficient in accessing state legislators who can help them push forth their agency's agenda. "Identify a champion legislator," said Marisol Jimenez-McGee, advocacy director for El Pueblo, Inc.

I Want to Work....or Do I?: All About the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives
Less than ½ of 1% of Social Security Disability recipients ever leave the rolls and return to work, according to Cheryl Bates-Harris, a longtime disability advocate and current Senior Disability Advocacy Specialist for the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS).

Latinos with Disabilities and Publicity: An Introduction to Media Relations
Latinos with disabilities and advocates can utilize the media to get their messages across to the community, participants at a national conference were told. "Publicity in broadcast and print media is a good way to reach audiences who do not have access to the Internet and who do not attend conferences or participate in professional networks," said Robin Savinar...

If You Could Travel a Mile in My Shoes...
One of the most important activities that takes place at any conference is learning from others who have been down the same road you're traveling. This year's Building Bridges conference provided participants with an opportunity to hear from people who have walked the walk...

Want to Work? Call Your Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services
Every state has a vocational rehabilitation services program funded through the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Each state sets out their own priorities according to their state plan. The North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NCDVRS) has three main priorities, according to their state plan...

Education, Political Advocacy Suggested to Overcome Barriers to Employment
A booming Latino population in North Carolina has employment specialists scurrying to come to grips with the issue of jobs for Latinos, including people with disabilities who are working or looking for work.

Successful Solutions in the Workplace: Employers and Employees Discuss Strategies on How they Make Work Work
Most often, the news presents us with the worst in society - the murders, the violence, the corruption, who is being sued and for what. They don't often share information on who is doing good. At this year's Building Bridges to Employment Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, however, some major corporations had the chance to do just that - share success stories...

Former Gang Member and Criminal Justice Expert Agree - Love, Support, Self-Esteem Needed to Prevent Young People From Joining Gangs; Programs Needed to Rehabilitate Current Gang Members
Former heroin addict and prison inmate Randolph Garcia witnessed the gang-style execution of one of his best friends. "I knew he had been targeted for death, and I knew who was going to kill him. When it happened, I saw his eyes before they faded. He looked up at me and said, 'Puro amor, carnal, puro amor' (Only love, brother, only love)...

Shame, Stigma Still Shape Latino Culture's Perspective of Disabled People, One Family Says
A mother-son team at the Bridges to Employment conference engaged an audience with their experience during a workshop entitled, "Latino Culture and Disability: A Family Perspective."

National Conference Ends with Commitments From Leaders to Unify Communities
At the closing plenary luncheon, Proyecto Visión director Kathy Martinez bid conference attendees farewell by thanking the representatives from diverse communities for joining forces to support and provide opportunities for Latinos with disabilities. The event, which joined policymakers, Latino and disability advocates, jobseekers and employers, was the first conference in North Carolina addressing issues of employment for Latinos with disabilities.