Program helps disabled find job placement

October 14, 2010 7:54:01 PM PDT
The slow economy has been especially tough on the disabled. Their unemployment rate is more than 14 percent, compared to 9 percent for Americans as a whole. So there is a local program that's helping the disabled beat the odds.

Challa Tabeson at work helping people use a computer kiosk to access social services like adult care and mental health treatment at a social services center in San Francisco. He knows how lucky he is to have a job.

"I'm so grateful I can't even tell you here," says Tabeson.

Challa suffers from post traumatic stress and other mental health issues caused by 11 years of living on the street and a brutal beating with a 2x4 from a man who was trying to rob him.

"Having some guy hit you with at 2x4 in the head, imagine what that does to the memory. It just wipes out everything," says Tabeson.

Employers weren't hiring anyone -- especially disabled people and Challa had all but given up, until he stumbled into a program run by San Francisco's Community Vocational Enterprises.

"The exciting thing is everyone is coming together, I think right now especially in difficult times.The best way to be successful is to collaborate," says Patrick Regan from CVE.

CVE is jointly partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor and the California Employment Development Department. The goal is to help disabled jobseekers get past the roadblocks.

"Employers and people in the community don't realize that people with disabilities are just as capable as other jobseekers and there's a lot of things such as assistive technology out there to help make those individuals successful," says Regan.

"The participants at CVE are extremely skilled workers and are so proud to have a position here with us," says Teri Hedman from Family Services Agency.

That's part of the recovery program for these workers. Four of them have been placed with the city's family services agency and they're doing well.

"I want to work where I can continue my recovery," says Tabeson.

CVE's jobs program is only available in San Francisco.


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