When the disabled in Davis County want to find a job, information about current openings may only be a few keystrokes away.
The Local Area Network Transition Project helps nine schools and eight other agencies coordinate their efforts in placing the handicapped in jobs by using a network of computers. The result, it is hoped, will be more jobs for the handicapped."Because we will now have access to the data bank at Job Service (clients) will have a lot more jobs to choose from," said Cheryl Bakker, job developer with the Clearfield Job Service
The project is one of the first in the nation, created by a $129,000 federal grant obtained by the Davis Private Industry Council, said program coordinator Betty Tyner.
The program, which started training people from the various agencies in January, will serve the handicapped ages 16 to 22. Along with job placement, directors want to establish a follow-up and evaluation system to track people served by the program. So far, five people have been hired through the program.
Tyner said she hopes the project will serve as an example to other areas in the state and nation and help reverse a trend of unemployment among the handicapped. In the 16 to 20-year-old handicapped youth group, about 75 percent are unemployed. Currently, only 21 percent of those that graduate from high school or become too old for public education are ever employed.
Bakker said she sees promise in the program because it will help pool the work of different agencies trying to develop jobs for the handicapped. For example, instead of several agencies contacting an employer about hiring handicapped individuals, one can make a contact and share the information via computer.
"It will help all of the agencies pull our efforts together. As money declines we need to pull together," Bakker said.
The system also speeds communication between agencies and Davis School District special education teachers. Teachers, often in class, can now be contacted through electronic messages on the local area network.
Along with Job Service, schools and Davis County Employment and Training, the Maurice Warshaw Foundation, the Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center, Utah Department of Social Servicers, Davis Area Vocational Center, and Utah Division of Vocational Rehabilitation are linked by the system.