Campus: CSU Northridge -- November 19, 2004

CSUN Teams With State to Find Disabled Students Jobs

Cal State Northridge's Center on Disabilities has teamed with the state's Department of Rehabilitation for an innovative program that finds jobs for the university's disabled students.

In just the past two years, job placement specialists in CSUN's WorkAbility IV (WAIV) program have been able to find full-time positions for 28 people, and boast of an 80 percent success rate in all of their job placement services.

"The program's main goals are to help students form productive employment relationships with local and national businesses, and to assist companies in finding the right person for the job--not just a body filling a job," said senior job placement specialist Greg Miraglia, who added that the program is free to local businesses.

Miraglia said that by hiring a student with a disability, business owners qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program. The program offers employers who hire students registered with the Department of Rehabilitation a 25 to 40 percent tax credit of up to $6,000, depending on the student's period of employment.

Job placement specialist Isabelle Martin said some employers express concern about the cost of hiring a person with a disability. In response, he points to a 2003 survey of employers that found that reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities generally cost less than $500. In fact, 73 percent of employers reported that their employees did not require special accommodations at all, he said.

Hiring and retaining employees with the appropriate skills can be an expensive challenge in today's job market, and Martin acknowledged some employers may be leery of hiring a student, especially one who is disabled.

"Hiring an intern can be one way to remedy the situation," she said. "Internships provide employers both a great opportunity to lower their hiring costs as well as an opportunity to evaluate the employee's potential for hiring. It also gives employers a chance to demystify any stereotypes about job accommodations and brings an awareness to the company."

Resource specialist Erica Almeda said WAIV makes sure that the students it refers come well prepared for a job setting.

"Not only are they ready with the academic skill set needed for the position, but their proficiencies in various computer software applications pertinent to the job are assessed. This makes certain that the students are highly qualified for the positions to which they apply," she said.

For more information about the WorkAbility IV program, call CSUN's Disabilities Resources Office at (818) 677-0118, e-mail or visit the Web site

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,

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