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August 30, 2001

Ryan Announces Information Technology Training Grant for Disabled Citizens

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) has been awarded $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor to improve job opportunities for persons with disabilities. The grant will enable the department to create an "Access to Information Technology Education and Careers" program, administered by DHS' Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS).

"Everyone should have the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to be productive in today's job markets," Ryan said. "Technology is the driving force of the new economy and this grant will provide new opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain the skills they need to be able to make a living wage and become self-sufficient.

The project's innovative training strategy will use a dual approach to provide information technology skill development tailored to the needs of people with a wide range of disabilities. Training will be provided through Lincoln Land Community College using accessible online learning programs, as well as in fully accessible classroom settings through City Colleges of Chicago. A full range of supportive services will be available to ensure that participants complete the training program and find long-term employment in the IT field.

"What makes this project unique is the combination of fully accessible IT skill training and a continuum of job placement services to support the participants," said DHS Secretary Linda ReneƩ Baker. "The array of on-going services include benefits planning, academic guidance and support, assistance in overcoming major employment barriers, job placement, and job retention services. All of this helps to ensure success for the participants."

Program partners include: Illinois Department of Employment Security; Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities; Chicago Mayor's Office for Workforce Development; Chicago Workforce Board; Council for Disability Rights; Land of Lincoln Consortium/Workforce Investment Board; Marruco, Stoddard, Ferenbach & Walsh, Inc. Information System Consultants; Lincoln Land Community College; City Colleges of Chicago; Illinois Assistive Technology Project; Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and area Centers for Independent Living: Access Living (Chicago); Springfield Center for Independent Living; Life Center for Independent Living (Bloomington); Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living; Soyland Area Independent Living (Decatur), and IMPACT Center for Independent Living (Alton).


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