Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New Job Opportunities Open Up for America's Disabled

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New Job Opportunities Open Up for America's Disabled

Article excerpt

There's new help available if you are disabled or if you have a friend or family member with a disability. Job opportunities that never before existed are opening up.

The Americans With Disabilities Act that Congress passed last May aims to reduce discrimination in the workplace. Of the 43 million Americans with disabilities, two-thirds between the ages of 16 and 64 are unemployed. Many of them would like to work.

Getting jobs in industry or other organizations suddenly has become easier. But some disabled persons are taking matters into their own hands. They're becoming entrepreneurs.

Robert Flor lives in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Trained as a welder, he followed his trade for several years, often in situations and places detrimental to his health. Flor became allergic to many substances and, finally, couldn't work at all.

Some people in his situation would have been content to go on disability and live out their days. Not Rob Flor.

``I'm sensitive to chemicals - a new carpet, somebody cleaning a copy machine,'' he explained.

So, working at home where he could control his environment wasn't just desirable. It was necessity.

And he certainly wanted to work. He got help from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in Poughkeepsie. This agency exists to help people find what they can do and a way to do it. Flor took an interest in computer programming. After all - this can be done almost anywhere. Attending classes was sometimes too much. Still, he didn't give up.

His fortunes started to change when he became involved with a local computer bulletin board. On bulletin boards users can engage in conversations on their computers - and, most important, help each other with computer problems, general concerns and the travails of everyday life.

Flor was a natural here, and he found a great spport network - friends, some of whom he'd never met, who were eager for him to succeed.

Now, he's found a way to go into business for himself, in surroundings he chooses, and to continue to contribute to the world around him. …

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