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Colorado Quarterly Magazine 

"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"

 

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Return 2 Work:  A New Approach to Employment

by Homer Page

Return 2 Work, R2W, announces a new program for the employment of persons with disabilities. The staff and directors of R2W are busily making the final preparations to launch a home-based employment program in the Information Technology field (IT).

R2Ws President, Rob Brazell, became disabled several years ago. Since that time, he has dedicated his life to expanding opportunities for other persons with disabilities. He has recruited an impressive team, found other organizations with which to partner, raised funds and perfected the R2W approach. Now he and his team are preparing to offer direct services to the disability community.

Once Sigmund Freud was asked, What does it take to make a person happy? His answer was simple: Love and work! Work makes us feel useful and productive. It helps us establish an independent lifestyle. It is a major part of our identity and self worth. Yet for persons with disabilities, work is all too often an illusive dream. R2W is committed to assisting disabled persons to achieve independence and happiness through work.

R2W was incorporated in 1998. Its purpose is to assist persons with disabilities find work at home in IT occupations. This new technology offers many opportunities for persons with disabilities. A person can work at home using the Internet and newly developed software which give even the most severely disabled person access to the magic of the electronic age. R2W brings work to persons with disabilities, where they can do it.

In R2Ws model, people work at home and by task instead of by hour. There are no commuting or transportation hassles. Workers also supervise themselves, giving them greater freedom to deal with their disabilities. Tasks are short and well defined, usually one or two weeks in duration, so managers only track when tasks are started or finished. When a task is not started or finished on time, managers act more like advocates to offer assistance with insurance forms or in other helpful ways. If necessary, since tasks are small, they can be transferred to someone else possibly thousands of miles away.

Handicapped Media Inc. (HMI), one of R2Ws leading community partners, offers an excellent example of how home-based employment can work. Sally is the editor of one of HMIs magazines. She receives articles via e-mail or discs. She reviews them and gets them ready for publication. Artwork and photographs are also delivered electronically. She uses Quark and PhotoShop, two publishing software programs, to layout the magazine. When she finishes the layout, she cuts a disc and delivers it to the printer. Sally finds home-based employment to be a meaningful way to work.

R2Ws new service contains three parts. They are evaluation, training and placement. A person working with R2W will be evaluated to determine his/her aptitude and skill level. Training needs will be defined and a training plan developed. When an individual is ready for employment, he or she will be assisted to find appropriate work placement, including self-employment.

Some people will want to build websites. Others may prefer data entry or computer programming. Still others may want to create their own home-based businesses. R2W will offer the tools that one needs to fulfill his or her dreams. The evaluation, training and placement process is the key to success.

You are invited to visit R2Ws website and fill out the questionnaire. R2Ws website is http://www.Return2Work.org

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Copyright 2002 A&H Publishing Corporation