Independent Living Institute www.independentliving.org

Independent Living Institute Newsletter, December 2005

Join international consortium working for traineeships for persons with disabilities with state agencies!

Newsletter Index and Info

Dear Colleague,

In a previous newsletter we presented our project Study and Work Abroad for All - compiling information about the world's accessible universities. Today we take pride in announcing its extension, the project Training as Vehicle to Employment - gathering information about accessible training opportunities at government agencies.

People with disabilities are under-represented among youth who study, train, work or volunteer in their countries or abroad. With support from the Swedish government the Independent Living Institute has compiled a list of currently over 1,000 universities offering services to students with disabilities and 250 disability organizations that can be contacted for information about local conditions in university towns such as the availability of accessible housing, transportation, sign language or personal assistance services.

In late December 2005 The Independent Living Institute together with seven other European Independent Living organizations were awarded a contract by the European Union for a two-year project. We will work with government agencies in a dozen European countries to ensure that their trainee and internship programs are open also to qualified people with disabilities. We plan to register in our database training opportunities where disabled youth can apply and gain valuable work experience and insight in top level agency operations to improve their chances in the labor market.

We believe that starting with governmental institutions, ministries, authorities and other offices is of strategic importance in changing our countries' culture of exclusion that our group has been facing. Governments must take a leadership role and set the norm for including people with disabilities in the workforce. To sweep a staircase one starts at the top.

The consortium for project Training as Vehicle to Employment consists of the Independent Living Institute, Sweden (lead partner), the Centers for Independent Living in Bad Kreuznach (Germany),Dublin, Helsinki, Thessaloniki, Iniciativas y Estudios Sociales, Spain, Integracja, Poland, Apeirons, Latvia.

This work, however, is too important to be limited to our partnership. We invite concerned organizations everywhere to join us in our project as Associated Partners. While our EU funding is limited to the present 8 partner organizations, we can assist organizations in applying for funding of their own by offering our successful project proposal, its arguments, methodology, timetable, budget, etc. We are sure that funding agencies will look favorably on the synergy effects that this proposed scheme entails.

Briefly, the methodology entails forming national networks consisting of government agency administrators, MPs working with employment issues, representatives of trade union representatives and disability organizations as well as individuals with disabilities seeking employment. The national networks will lobby with state agencies by using press releases, a quarterly newsletter and semi-annual meetings for sharing technical and organizational expertise, setting high standards of general accessibility in public workplaces and working towards a national policy and its implementation regarding inclusive training and hiring. For details see the project proposal we used in our application.

In terms of resources, each partner needs to hire a national coordinator for whose position the minimum of a half-time position including office costs is anticipated. Associate Partners would share the same written resources, information and back-up as the partners with EU funding.

We cordially invite new partner organizations to join us. The more we are, the greater our impact.

Sincerely
Adolf Ratzka, Ph D, Director,
Independent Living Institute

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Resources for Study and Work Abroad for All

Self-assessment Tool for Inclusion
for Corporations, Public Agencies and Non-governmental Organizations

Checklist for Disability Policy Statements
for Corporations, Public Agencies and Non-governmental Organizations

Self-assessment Tool for Inclusion for Universities

Checklist Disability Policy Statements for University

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Other Independent Living Institute Services

Accessible Vacation Home Exchange: www.independentliving.org/vacaswap.html

Swap your home during your next vacation with somebody in such destinations as France, Egypt the UK or Canada. We have over 100 attractive offers waiting for you! Our base of participants lists the accessible features of their homes and dates they wish to travel.

Assistant Referral Service: www.independentliving.org/assex/index.html

Many persons with extensive disabilities use paid workers for such daily tasks as getting bathed and dressed, shopping, driving their car, assistance at work for those tasks they cannot do by themselves. Our referral service matches assistance users and assistants in their hometown or in other parts of the world, for live-in or part- time positions or as travel companions.

Global Networking: www.independentliving.org/donet/index.html

Global Networking now has 300 organizations from around the world offering information to partner organizations for joint projects, events, sharing resource persons for lectures, training or technical assistance, for study visits, internships or other cooperation including funding. Add your organization now.

Our Online Library: www.independentliving.org/library.html

Check out our ever-growing full-text on-line library containing hundreds of articles on independent living, Universal Design, human rights, legislation, progressive programs and other examples of good practice, women with disabilities, assistive devices, national policies of various countries, and much more, so check back often!

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