Welcome, everyone, to our session today, “Supporting Students with Disabilities to Gain Full Employment.” This is part of the ADA Audio Conference Series which is offered by the ADA National Network on a monthly basis. We’re pleased today to have a presenter, Janet Peters, Marnie O’Brien and Adrienne Kleinman who will join us from the Great Lakes ADA Center. They serve a variety of different capacities for the center, specifically with Adrienne and Marnie they have been working for the last couple of years with Janet on the Punch-In Program which we’re going to be highlighting during today's conference. Their specific background and experience were available on the website as a bio so I won't go through those in detail at this time. I am going to go ahead and hand over the microphone to Janet Peters who will be directing the session for today. So, Janet, it's all yours.
Thank you, Robin. And I'm assuming everyone can hear me okay. We’ll get started today. I usually give a little applause for the Great Lakes ADA Center where I am a Project Coordinator and the program we are highlighting today is a project of the Great Lakes ADA Center. Most of you are probably very familiar with the center if you have taken the ADA Audio Conference before, but we are part of the ADA national network, and we do serve the Great Lakes region but the ADA national network is a national project surveying the entire country doing technical assistance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
So today we are really going to be highlighting our Punch-In Project which is a projects of the Great Lakes ADA center. As we start that I want to cover a little bit of background information on Disability and Employment and some of the research and rationale and how we at Great Lakes actually got convinced to start a project such as the Punch-In employment project. We know that employment provides income, but not only income, also opportunities, social participation, and that many people feel employment is really a large and positive part of their lives. This is, of course, true as it is for everyone, it's true for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, our employment rates for people with disabilities in the United States is still severely below our employment rate for people without disabilities. So the way the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics show unemployment is 11.7%, almost double of people with disabilities versus 5.3% for people without. So we still, as people who are advocates or individuals with disabilities, there is still a long way to go with full and complete employment into participation for people with disabilities. There are many barriers to full employment. And the reasons are pretty complex and vary depending on situations. One thing that our research for this project did really highlight to us though is the younger individuals with disabilities start learning about employment skills, the more successful their future employment usually is. There is a growing body of research that highlights how important it is for students with disabilities very early on to develop self-determination, self-advocacy skills before they leave school preferably. To do this, they need to be provided with opportunities to learn about employment, to learn about disabilities and to know how those things intersect and affect their employment search. Understanding accommodations, they need to be successful in expressing those accommodations they need in school, employment or other settings and to know the basic laws that address people with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is really a corner stone piece of legislation. It is one of the most important laws for people with disabilities. The ADA is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, and in other settings. The signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26th, 1990 was a landmark event in our nation's history, and we are celebrating the anniversary, the 25th anniversary of the ADA this July. Like other pieces of civil rights legislation, this law works to ensure that we have a more inclusive United States, one where every person has a right to participate in all sectors of society, and be recognized for his or her accomplishments. The passage of the ADA paves the way for millions of Americans with disabilities positively contribute to communities in variety of ways including employment. One of the key parts of the ADA is title 1 that deals with employment is the requirement of employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees that may have disabilities. It is the ADA that mandates organizations make reasonable accommodations for employees with impairments that are disabling. Although the ADA prevents discrimination against people with disabilities and employees who require compensation, including any type of assistive technology to perform a job, must disclose that information about their disability and the need for specific accommodations to employers in order to be protected by the law. This is true throughout the employment process even in the interview or the pre-stages of employment. That's why it's really, really important that students develop the skills to talk about their disability and to effectively request accommodations before they enter into the work force. The accommodation question, many young individuals with disabilities are not necessarily aware of their rights under the ADA, and maybe haven't had as much practice as they need to be able to discuss their accommodation with an employer. And employers may not have the experience or the knowledge or the expertise to proactively offer an accommodation. So it's really up to that young adult with the disability to request that accommodation. And employers might be frightened that an accommodation costs a lot of money or that it might be adversely impacts the job situation. The job accommodations network which is an organization that helps individuals as well as businesses work on accommodations has been conducting an annual studies on workplace accommodations since 2004. The study results, the results of the study consistently shows that the benefits to employers, they gain many benefits receiving from workplace accommodations far outweighing any cost those accommodations might carry. Employers report that providing accommodations results in benefits such as retaining valuable employees, improving productivity and morale. Reducing workers compensation and training costs and increasing company diversity. These benefits were attained with very small investments for accommodation. Employers reported a high percentage—57% of the accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make while the rest of the accommodations typically cost only $500 or less. So it is important that individuals with disabilities, especially young individuals who are going into the work force for the first time be able to talk to their employer about their needed accommodation, and express some of the results that we know of how valuable the accommodations are for the employer. At the Great Lakes ADA Center we have conducted our own survey as part of a different project we do called the quality indicator for assistive technology in post-secondary education. The survey was completed in 2009 and then repeated in 2015, and it has shown us that the impact of assistive technology, which can be an accommodation, for the college students with disabilities entering the workplace was really positive. Our results overwhelmingly state that assistive technology as an accommodation is a very powerful tool for full employment. The result of that survey are available from the client’s website which is in your handout material on the slide.
So we did for the Punch-In project, both what we know about the ADA and Title I, what the job accommodation network research on workplace accommodations was showing us, as well as our own survey. Young adults with disabilities need to know about the ADA and how important it is to able to request an effective accommodation. The importance of assistive technology, the potential it plays in that process, but as well young adults need employment skills just like everyone else, how to write a resume, do an interview, do a cover letter, where to find a job or network. So we created the Punch-In Project with the research and rational from what we know in the field to try to combine some of the employment skills that young adults need with disability information that's really important as they embark on the first endeavor for employment. So our presentation today is going to bring you in depth to the Punch-In Project, and as Robin mentioned both Marnie and Adrienne Kleinman our presenter have been working with the Punch-In Project for a long time. Our contact information will be at the end and we will have questions and time to talk about the project but with that I will turn it over to Adrienne and she will start you with a tour of our website.
Thanks, Janet. Good afternoon everybody, my name is Adrienne Kleinman, and I'm going to, as Janet mentioned, give everyone a brief overview and show you the website so you know how to navigate it, how to get to it. Just to start off, Punch-In is essentially—has been designed to help college age and transition age students with disabilities be successful with their endeavors. We offer [incoherent], expert advice, [incoherent], which Marnie will be talking about after me and research to develop your job—your strategy. In order to use all of these resources, first, what you’re going to want to do is join the Punch-In Network. So what you would do is go to www.punchin.org and when you get to the page, on the upper left hand corner you will see three links and you are going to first click the one that says join a success network. Once you click on that, you will be brought to the next page where you are going to sign up and create an account. First, you will add in your email address in the field on the left-hand column. Along with that you will generate a password for yourself and you will reconfirm it by retyping it, and below that you will add in your birth date, and then you will answer questions to confirm that you are a human being and not a robot. And which you will quick sign up below, right below that field. Once you have clicked that, you will now officially be a member. And you will be brought to the log in page where you will type in the email address that you used when you sign up, and below that you will type in your password. I should also mention that the right hand column of this page gives a little description of the workplace. Once you have logged in, you will be brought to the Welcome Screen.
Now, to describe this page a little bit, in the upper left-hand corner, we have the Punch-In logo, and across the top of the page are a series of tabs we will be clicking on throughout the presentation to show you what each page does. On the left-hand column, we have different events that are offered in the Midwest that [incoherent] and in the center section of the page are also future blog entries written by Marnie and myself. In the right hand column you will see Inbox, Friends, Settings, and below that images of all of the members of Punch-In. If you scroll down the Welcome Screen page, you will be brought to the bottom center which shows the group. Marnie will be discussing it later on [incoherent].
Now, if you go to the top of the page and click on the “My Profile” tab, you will be brought to a pack like this. There is a picture of me in the upper left-hand corner or a picture of you when you join. Below that it describes your age, your location, and any blog posts you have written, any events you are affiliated with, any groups you are affiliated with, and then below that are your friends. In the center of the page, you have an opportunity to write down the school that you’re attending and then underneath that, what your dream job would be. In the center of the page would be any blog entries you choose to write. As you scroll down the my profile page, further down you will see a continuation of what we did at the top, more entries that you have written and any other groups that you are affiliated with.
Now, if you go to the top of the screen, the third tab from the left is “Take the Course.” I won't go into this too much because Marnie will discuss it in detail, but Punch-In employment course has six sections: the Intro the Course and five modules: Discover Yourself, Getting Prepared, Finding a Job, Knowing Your Rights, and Using Technology. And then I think we have the end of the course. And then if you were to go to the Take the Course tab, there is a start menu that drops down that says Course Groups. So if and when you take a course, you’ll be brought to this page and it will have all of the different courses that are going to be offered. You will show which ones you are designated to.
Next you click the middle tab at the top of the page that says, “Video Library.” It will bring you to a page that replaces this. In the upper left-hand column there will be two links, one that says, “Expert Videos” and one that says, “Digital Tips.” This page is very helpful because it will demonstrate a lot of the skills you will be learning in the course and in the website [incoherent]. If you click on expert videos it will bring you down to this page. We have several videos that have been produced from the ADA Great Lakes center, as well as opportunity partners to name a few. Then if you go back to the top of the page, you will also click on “Digital Tips” which will feature individuals that we will be discussing [incoherent], such as job scams, how to ask questions during an interview, even be good use for eye contact.
If you go back to the main screen we were on before, what you will want to do is click on the back button three times to get back to the main page. The tab at the top of the screen again. Once you are there, you will click on the “Explore Careers Tab” and it will bring you to this page. This page is one my personal favorites as it is very good at describing all the different careers that are offered, several of them anyway, and you can get an overview of each one, and 1500 of these careers that you can learn about in depth. So what you would do is you would click on one, so I wanted to click on “Actor/Actress” [incoherent]. Next, you will be brought to a page like this. In the left-hand column, it will have the definition of the occupation, what activities are involved, the settings, education you might need to take for a given career, the training, etc., the salary, and any other personality traits that are usually specific to people that are in the occupation and the third thing would be, when you click on the left—the center will be the information you click on and on the right-hand side will also be an image showing that person performing that occupation.
Next, you are going to click on the next tab that says, “About Us” at the top of the page. It will bring you to this page. It's the same one before when you logged in and it will give you a little description about Punch-In and then below that our collaboration with the office of Career Services at University of Illinois.
To get back to the page I was on, what you are going to do is you are going to click on the arrow button once at the top of the page. And now what we are going to do is we are going to go back to a couple of links that I did not mention in depth just so you are aware. So if you go to the top left side of the screen, you will see the icon. So what you would do is you click on Inbox and you will be brought to this page. As soon you can see, this is what you would look like when you would log in. On the left-hand side is all of the people that have written, and then on the right-hand side are the subjects of the message and then a little bit of content. That is under the Inbox tab.
Then the next tab is—this is network mail, by the way; this is in network mail service. Next to the Inbox tab there also is a Sent tab. This can be where you look at your sent mail from other people and then next to that is Archive. Now, if you will notice on the top right-hand side of the screen, there is a little icon that says, “Compose.” If you click on that, it will take you to this page where you can actually compose a message to anyone in particular. So on the upper left-hand side it says, “Send To” and then when you click on it will have menu of all your friends in the network that you can write to. And what you’ll do is click on the box next to their name in order to add them to your message. You can write to one person or you can write to several. Below that you will see the line for your subject and below that will be a spot to write the body of your message and then below that, is a [incoherent].
Now, to go back up to the top right corner you see it says “Friends”, you will click the link and it will bring you to this page which is all of the people that either you or they have added as a friend. And it shows a picture of them, and then you could friend them, you are able to message them, and it's a good place for you to look for jobs, to talk about any trials and tribulations you might be experiencing as a job seeker. It's a great tool because you are able to go through the site and hopefully that will help each other succeed in your careers.
Next underneath the “Friends” tab are in the upper left-hand corner you will see a link that says “Settings.” When you click on that, you will be taken to a page that looks like this. On the right-hand side you’ll see a couple different links, profile, privacy, email, my page, and connections. When you click on the profile tab, it gives you the opportunity to change your profile. It gives you the opportunity to change your password, name, birth date, gender, location, et cetera. I'm not going to show you all of the different parts of that, but it in privacy, it gives you the option to show kind of like another version of the network site, certainly blogging et cetera.
Then, we are going to take a closer look at the “Chat” option, which as you can see on the bottom right-hand side of the page. Chat functions are really useful because it allows you to talk directly with any members that may be on line. As you can see right now, there aren't any on except for myself. So I wasn't able to show you the chat functions in-depth, but if you click on the “Members” tab, it brings you to [incoherent] and from that point you are able to choose which member you would like to speak with and then you can chat from there.
Then you go back to the page, you will see on the upper right-hand corner of the page, you can sign out, and this is what you’ll do when you’re ready to exit the social network. Go to the top right-hand corner and you will click sign out. And at that point you will be brought back to the same page, and any time you want to log in, you will go to this page, type in your email and your password, and you will be able to go in and [incoherent] I will now hand it over to Janet.
Thank you. That was a nice in-depth overview. As Adrian mentioned, the Punch-In network, the success network is a closed social network. So you do have to have that log in to be part of it. We have about 150 members at Punch-In, mostly students, college students or transition age students with disabilities and some professionals that work with people of that age range with disabilities. The Punch-In site before we jump into the employment course is really designed to be a safe networking place to explore networking with other people who are also searching for employment and can offer advice and be that network of support. So the things that Adrienne highlighted within the network such as the events or webinars or blogs, the video expert interviews, these are all items that are available to anyone within the network, and we are constantly adding new information to network members. But if you wanted to get a more in-depth look, we also do offer the online moderated course that was mentioned. So with that, I will turn it over to Marnie to go in depth into our employment course that we do offer.
Thank you Janet and thank you Adrienne for the overview. So this year, we were very excited to launch the punched in employment course which is moderated entirely online and utilizes all of the components of the site. The course is to be completed in six weeks' time and includes the completion certificate. It's designed to support college seniors, but it's scalable in the sense that it can be adapted to high schoolers as well. It provides the tools and information necessary to begin the job search, and the course is built on the new platform. You have membership and group capabilities which you like, and as Adrienne demonstrated it supports community building very well for us. As Janet mentioned all attendees must be members of the Punch-In website and it seems like [incoherent] our interest has been growing.
To access the course, you click the “Take the Course” menu item at the top and then select the course group. Although it is an open course, the structure is such that organizations of the groups receive more private facilitation. The course and the website is designed as a self-directed resource, however, because precollege student groups may have a variety of challenges in seeking first employment experiences, we recommend that an onsite facilitator guides them into the course module. Once the student is enrolled as a member, they would navigate to their school group and click the link to enter. If they are not pre-enrolled they would send a request to join the group. Currently, we are looking at all of the groups that we have signed up that we are working with. There is currently four of them, but let's move on and take a look at what the course page will look like.
So once a student clicks into their group, each class page has the same component. At the top you will find basic information as well as a members section, and at the bottom right of the screen, it features a chat widget listing online members. Every course contains an introduction, conclusion and five modules of content. And they are all designed using performance based methodology—outlining objectives and specific actionable paths, watch, read, explore and do and use the quiz to assess learner's general concepts from the module. If you look at the bottom right of the page, the course page, you can see there is a right hand navigation menu. This is where we can find the syllabus, a course tip sheet, a video tutorial on how to use the course, or how to navigate the course, I should say, and then also links to each module. The introduction, the four main modules and the conclusion. Go ahead and click the next slide.
So if we click onto the syllabus, you will be able to see that we have given an overview of the course and also listed all of the course for the module dates that we will be posting for each group. Every week the moderator posts the content on the main course page and certainly each student is also able to access prior modules as we move through the week. The first module that we have isn't necessarily considered a module. It's the introduction. This schedule is still schedules from last week because it introduces learners to the technology and the platform, and gives them the chance to introduce themselves on the network. The scaffolding also allows learners, moderators and other teachers to work out any issues and begin modules together the next week.
Each course page also includes a discussion forum. We use the discussion forum in each module and it's proved very—it's given us a very authentic feel and engaged our learners to chat back and forth with them about their activities, what they are doing during the module. It's located at the bottom of each group landing underneath each current module. Moderators make sure to give feedback to all of the posts offering encouragement or advice for anything course related. From completed module to resume review to times to offering times to give a mock interview. Clicking on the very first module, the discover yourself module, I'm going to describe an overview each module as we go through the slides and the objective for each student and then also discuss a little bit of the multimedia which we have worked very hard on producing our own multimedia or expert videos. You’ll have to excuse me, I have a tickle in the back of my throat so I will be moving through this somewhat quickly.
The first module, “Discover Yourself” is designed for students who are beginning to prepare for a job search. It will give the students opportunities to examine their strengths in any potential job and explore careers options. And as you might remember, Adrienne moved through the [incoherent] course, moved through the occupational listings that they had. That’s what they use to check themselves out, check out what their interests might be and then we also ask them to post what their dreams and aspirations are in the discussion forum. The objectives they have for this particular module are very specific. Those [incoherent] statements to articulate career goal, including the values and personal qualities. They evaluate wages, skills requires and outlook of potential careers with Punch-In employment tools that Adrienne went through. Our videos contain expert interviews discussing such topics as the importance of knowing yourself and the importance of values of personality in job search, in order to be very satisfied with your career as well as cultivating your social network to find a job.
This second module, we call it, “Getting Prepared.” This module offers foundational steps to develop students’ work readiness skills such as work ethics and leadership. It also jumps into critical steps of writing a resume or cover letter and filling out an application, and certainly the online moderators really are helpful in that—in that if students want to, and we always give them the choice based on how they feel, based on what their facilitators have recommended, to post their resume and get feedback from us as well as we could help them write their first—very first cover letter if they are trying to look for a specific job. Students, as far as objectives go, it describes desirable conduct in the workplace in contrast with problematic behaviors, as well as make resume and cover letter that accentuates their best assets. The expert videos contain discussions on what is basic work conduct as well as well as the material and information needed to prepare for a job search.
The next module, we call it, “Find a Job.” Very actionable. It's time to find your job. It helps them set their job search in motion. A job search included the way you find out, how you apply and how you interview for employment. The mock tool also has a special section on networking skills to locate employment opportunities. So we go through a variety of networking. We talk about online networking, meeting face to face. We talk about where we can find jobs, from basic organizational job boards to perhaps Craig's List to perhaps the paper to all of the different resources that are out there in today's technological times that they may be able to look for jobs. As far as objectives, students will identify networking opportunities within their circle of peers, their family and their neighborhood. Students explore job postings on electronic career sites and also helps them fill out their very first electronic job application or profile. Students learn about whether to disclose their disability in the workplace setting during the interview. Our expert videos to this module discuss such topics as disability considerations that may impact the job search as well as the many and varied job search resources available on the internet. And I believe one of the actual activities for this module is, “List three interview questions that you would not like to hear or that would not be good interview questions under the ADA.”
Our next module is called the “Know Your Rights” module. As Janet very eloquently specified in the intro, it really is necessary for folks falling under the ADA to know their rights and to understand what is a qualified question, what is necessary to disclose, what do you not need to disclose, that type of thing. As a job seeker with a disability, it is critical that they understand their rights and responsibilities under this act. It's a civil rights law aimed at protecting them from discrimination. As far as behavioral objectives, students will create a presentation outlining the basic aspects of the ADA law. They will also create a list of interview questions about the disabilities that are illegal. And we mentioned this amendment earlier in an earlier slide, but this is where they do that in this module. Our expert videos discuss rights and responsibilities covered by the ADA, when to disclose as well as types of interview questions that are many allowed in the interview process.
In “Use Technology Module.” This module is an introduction to assistive technology. It may be a critical component to being successful in a student employment goal. So we describe a lot of those tools that are available to them, and also the resources available to them to find tools. As far as behavioral objectives, students will know the different types of assistive technologies that are available and will be able to identify appropriate AT for their potential work environment. They will also explore funding sources for AT. For this module's videos, our experts are discussing topics like AT options in the workplace as well as additional information on workplace rights and responsibilities covered by the ADA.
Our next slide focuses on one of the activities that we have for module 5, and just gives them an idea of how aware they are, and how they would specifically disclose their disability. [Incoherent] and we give you an example of what that looks like.
The final module is the “Next Steps” module. So this is basically the conclusion of the course for them. It gives them ideas, it tells them that they can continue on inside this website and work with their peers and work with other folks to find employment and to get that motivation, and to help them keep working on their career. As far as behavioral objectives, students summarize what they have learned in the Punch-In employment course and they will write down what their next steps in employment endeavors will be. This module's videos contain interviews on topics such as how to stay motivated when looking for a job and it will also highlight another job seeker course in finding employment. Once the final module is concluded, each student can complete a course evaluation and receive a certificate of completion along with access to their course group and all of the resources used in the course. And that's it. With that, I will have Janet take a look at the rest of the slides with you, and describe the pilot and our next steps for the course.
Thanks Marnie. That gives you an overview of the moderated course that we offer as well as the whole Punch-In Network that we provide. We are constantly improving Punch-In and some of the upcoming things that we are having—we do have a Punch-In Facebook page that we are trying to become active in social media so please go to our Facebook page from our www.punch-in.org page and you can like our Facebook page and you can become friends with us on Facebook and be notified on Facebook. We also have a Twitter page and so we are announcing any interesting webinars or employment [incoherent] information as we add new videos on Twitter so come follow us on Twitter, that’s @punchin_success. That’s our Twitter page and that’s also available on our front page as well—on our main page.
Some of the approved [incoherent] that we have coming up to the Punch-In course are—we are going to offer an open course that if you did not want to take the course in a moderated time fashion, all of those resources will be available [incoherent] and people can jump in and take part or the entire course at your own pace. Sometimes when the course is moderated, the timing is difficult for to do that. We are adding in some Punch-In webinars that are going to be specifically for our Punch-In members. We have coming up our first one on May 6th on Job Accommodations. It will be very short—informational webinar geared toward students with disabilities to get information and then follow up with a chat conversation within the Punch-In Network. So that’s a new feature we are adding to our members as well as we are going in in the next year some guest [incoherent]. Right now, we have the privilege of reading Marnie and Adrienne excellent blogs highlighting different careers, their own experience looking for careers in the field, and that process as well as starting your own business or other untraditional options that might be of interest for people on the network. So we are pulling in some jet-bloggers to have really profound and insightful things to share with our members. We are also always adding videos, some expert videos and digital tips. So trying to keep the content information new and fresh for people. Adrienne, when she highlighted our website, mentioned some of our featured collaborators. This is a good time to mention that Punch-In is a collaboration of many different people. And I’m going to go to the website; so hopefully you will be able to see that. I’m going to the Punch-In… the live website to give you an idea of our people who have helped in collaboration. We did research with Punch-In as well as many of key [incoherent] holders that gave us feedback to participate with the Punch-In. Infinitec, out of Illinois, in Chicago, has been really helpful. The Niche Movement, NCWD for Youth, PC Coaches, the Career Services at UIC, ADA Minnesota—which is our local [incoherent] of the ADA center here in Minnesota, and a few others such as the Job Accommodation Network that I don’t have up on the Website. We are looking for partners because we feel that the partnership really helped have good information available for people but also, it is a networking site to help get the word out. SP Punch-In has been possible with a lot of collaboration from those in the field.
Now we’ll get to the slide that you are looking at. And we do offer the moderated course as a Pilot course for groups that are interested in doing the course in a moderated fashion with their own course page. We will accept people who have students that are from 5-20 participants. So far we have piloted the course with post-secondary students. So students within colleges. Transition programs so young adults 18 to 22 that are out of school but not yet employed and working through a specific program. And we have piloted with high school age students who are in that 16 years or older transition from K-12. We also will work with centers. We are piloting the program with an AT Center that offers assistive technology and they are going to offer it as part of what they do for their Assistive Technology training. To participate in the pilot is free of charge, and we will provide the moderator to give guidance throughout, guidance and feedback throughout the course, as well as instructions on how to set up the course with the teachers' guide and information that goes with that. And then, of course, anyone who takes the course is part of the Punch-In network and available to participate in any of the webinars or special Punch-In events that are on the network. Our real goal is to build a network so the young adults with disabilities have networking opportunities with a community of their peers. And then they can start to help each other with advice and employment tips and general employment networking.
So this concludes our overview of Punch-In, the Punch-In Project. We have ample time for questions, so this would be a time to add, to type in your questions and let Marnie, Adrienne, and I know if you have any questions about our project.
Thank you, Adrienne Kleinman, Marnie, and Janet for that overview and discussion. This is a resource and a way to engage youth and young adults on this discussion about employment and provide some applicable resources and such. If we could ask the operator to please give instructions to those who are on the phone who may want to ask questions, please.
OPERTAOR: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question at this time, please press the star then the 1 key on your touch tone telephone. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove your solve from the queue, please press the pound key.
Great, so while we are waiting for people to go into the cue related to this, I will start with some questions that have come in. So Adrienne, I know that you do a lot with the moderation of the course and such. Can you give an example of some of the things that individuals are asking or the things that you find that they need most assistance for or that they’re seeking information about as it relates to the contents of the course itself?
: Yeah, I would be happy to talk about that. I had over the course of these two course so that I’ve moderated, so far I’ve had a couple of students that really went above and beyond. You know, they just were so engaged with me. And the main thing that always comes up with students from my experience is wanting to know how to go the next step with their jobs and in one in particular, he worried he would never be able to get to a job. He was afraid to get a job. And that's a very common concern I think for anyone that's graduated college looking for a career, especially someone that has a disability whether it be a physical one or invisible one. And that was very eye opening for me, because as a woman in a wheelchair, I have never actually thought that was part of the job seeking where [incoherent] experience, I didn't have experience behind some of the careers that we would be talking about. So there was a gentlemen what was involved in the government field, and I, you know, only trained in the arts. So that was a very good experience for me because then I got to learn from him and I got to help him kind of build up the confidence he needed to go forward. ‘cause you know, finding a job in this day and age can be very discouraging not only for anyone that is graduating college, but for someone that might have a little bit more coming with them that involves describing their disability, that was another thing that came up with a couple of my students is wanting to know the proper time to mention that when they are applying for a job or interviewing, and I kind of, you know, I said to every single one of them is that when they are most comfortable. For me when I'm applying for a job, I usually don't mention I'm in a wheelchair until it gets to the interview time. I will specifically ask them if the site where we’re meeting is accessible and kind of go from there. It's a personal choice that I’ve made to do that. Everyone is different, but I think [incoherent] highlight the fact that I'm an individual, or they are individuals looking for a job, and their disability does not define them and their capabilities. Does that kind of answer your question?
Yes, it does. Thank you. We got some questions that were submitted. Someone, what's the plan for distribution for asking schools, libraries, [incoherent] rehabs, and is this a national or regional resource?
So the Punch-In Success Network itself is national, and people can join that now and be part of that. So far we have done the pilot courses with regional entities. And so the distribution is really working through the Great Lakes ADA Center to see if you have a group that's a good candidate to be part of the pilot course because there is a time commitment, you know, to commit to the six modules, and we have, we want to accept groups that are going to take that responsibility seriously because we are trying to get the information out in a very concrete way. So the website and the network itself is national. The courses right now we are focusing in the Great Lakes region, groups within the Great Lakes region. I mean, with the exception is if someone is out there listening and really wants to be a part of it, they can certainly talk with me and we can work on that.
And we are also working to collaborate with the other nine ADA center across the country for potential dissemination use in their region as far as national distribution as well.
Also, a question about are you planning on doing anything with it as a mobile application at all?
We are looking at that. We may—yes. We are looking at mobile options, and within the platform we are on what restrictions and what possibilities are within that platform, but, yes, definitely mobile is on our radar and something we want to address.
Great. Thank you. And operator, do we have anybody on the phone that has questions or has queued in.
Again, if you have a question, press the star then the one key on the touch tone telephone.
Folks on the phone, they tend to be on the shy side. Another question that we have is, with the blog, how do you come up with the topics for blogs and do you accept suggestions for potential topics for the blogs?
We most definitely accept suggestions. We have kind of been dealing with our own personal experiences because both Adrienne and I are graduates fairly recent, within the last few years I guess, with schools in our respective fields so we basically have been posting our experiences in looking for a job and also whatever is on our mind. At some point I wanted to—I wanted to start my own business, so I good a few blogs on that, and really got into the nuts and bolts of what it takes to start your own business and register with the state and do all of that kind of stuff. So if that is on somebody's mind they would have that information. So we talk about careers. Right now, I think it's what we are talking about now, we are highlighting focus on careers, and then we are also looking at who are our students interested in? So we’re focusing on different careers we have heard out there in the field. The things that students are now being educated for and how would they tackle, I guess, looking at those careers and what are the sort of sub careers involved in like healthcare, for example. So that's what we are currently looking at on the blog and mainly focusing on students.
[incoherent] Actually, before we started highlighting the different careers that our students were interested in, we actually did a formal series on the critical skills that are involved when you are entering into employment such as team work, problem solving, communication, which is very beneficial serious that we had, you know, not just entry level jobs but any career that you take will be, you know, taking situations with co-workers, getting to know the best way to communicate. When the problems arise, just beginning to get the message across, and then to, kind of, in any position, you will have to deal with the dynamics of people and learn how to [incoherent].
Great. Thank you. Did you do an evaluation of the UW [incoherent] and what kind of feedback did you get back from them if you did?
Yes, so part of being in the pilot project with us in a moderated course is to take our evaluation and give—give us feedback. We have worked with the University of Wisconsin in White Water to—they have done pilot courses with us. The feedback, is—it's hard for college students to find the time to prioritize working on this information. Even though the ratings and how important it is get really high scores of college students and if any of you are old like me out there, you kind of remember how college was where there is lots of important things happening, but they don't always get your attention. And so some of the feedback was just that this was good information but that it added to their course work and their busy college life and was hard to focus on. And so one of the things that we are thinking is, you know, we are trying to always connect it to things that they are really doing. They are still part of the Punch-In Network, so we have gotten feedback that they will come back to some of the information that they learned in the course for that first interview or as they need it. And so that is part of the philosophy we have—if you’re, you know, once you are into the network you are part of the Punch-In Success Network and you can pool on those resources and friends and contacts at any time. But college students are busy. And it's hard to—it's hard for them to, you know, just prioritize sometimes on things that seem far away. And far away might be next month I'm looking for a job so right now I'm not focused on that.
Great. Thank you. What is the most frequently used area of the website at this time? Do you track that?
We actually have been focused on the course. I think it’s the course right now. Certainly we have the analytics built into our platform so I think that that might be the next…the next…our next step is to take a look at that. I think the second thing that would be the most popular would be the Digital Tips. I think folks from outside the courses actually go to the Digital Tips because they are just quick and easy and accessible.
Great. Thank you. Operator, are there any questions coming from the telephone? Is anyone queued in, please?
There are no questions on the phone line.
Thank you very much. So I think that that concludes the questions that we have had submitted up to this point. So I guess we will end a bit early today, but I do want to go ahead and thank our presenters today and thank you very much for the information you gave you—gave us. Janet, do you want to go ahead and put your—I know you have contact information in that previous slide, is that correct?
So if anyone is interested in following up with Punch-In, any of the potential for the course, moderate course or just engaging with your organization, [incoherent] that might be useful for you and the people you serve. Please feel free to contact Janet at email@example.com. The toll free number will only get you to Janet in the six areas of the Great Lakes ADA Center so you would need to contact her on her direct line if you live outside of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio or Wisconsin. She is also giving her Skype number and her Twitter as well. She can also put you in touch with Marnie and Adrienne if you would like to have any conversation with them as well.
Our next scheduled session is “Cognitive Innovations to Promote Independence in the Home and in the Community” on May 19th, and our [incoherent] speaker will be Sandy Hanebrink from Touch the Future for that session. And I just want to thank everybody for participating in today's Audio Conference session and you will be receiving an email follow-up with an evaluation and we do appreciate the feedback on the session. We do apologize for some of the problems related to this audio. Sometimes when we have multiple speakers in the same site, we do sometimes run into that audio doesn’t always clearly articulate all the systems that we’re sending it to. We apologize. Hopefully those of you that had problems could switch over to the telephone as we provided the number for that in the chat area. So again, thank you everyone for today’s session. I want to thank our speakers once again and everyone have a great day!