Campus: CSU Northridge -- November 30, 2005

CSUN’s Center on Disabilities Has Students Who are Ready to Work

Help is at the ready for short-handed employers, say representatives of Cal State Northridge’s WorkAbility IV (WAIV) job and internship placement program, a joint venture of Northridge’s Center on Disabilities and the California State Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).

The ideal person to fill the inevitable vacancy might be a student with a disability who is part of the WAIV program, said senior job placement specialist Greg Miraglia. The program offers its job placement services free of commissions and fees, he added.

Now in its fourth year of assisting students in entering the labor market, WAIV has been recognized as a model program for universities in Los Angeles County. “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 to fill an opening,” Miraglia said.

WAIV’s success rate—it assisted 29 companies with job placements last year—is attributed to its thorough knowledge of its workers and their skills. “We won’t send a candidate just because we have a hunch he or she can do the job,” said Miraglia. “They’ve been trained, and we know they meet the company’s qualifications; it’s not a gamble.”

One benefit of hiring an employee with a disability is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program, which Miraglia said offers employers who hire registered DOR clients a tax credit of up to $6,000, depending on the period of employment.

Costs associated with hiring persons with disabilities should pose no great difficulties, said WAIV job placement specialist Isabelle Martin, citing a 2003 survey by the Dixon, Kruse & Van Horn research team that found reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities generally cost less than $500. A reported 73 percent required no accommodations at all.

Martin said interns can answer the need for qualified part-time employees, allowing employers to lower their hiring costs and evaluate an employee’s potential before signing on the dotted line. “It also gives employers a chance to demystify any stereotypes about job accommodations and brings an awareness to the company.”

For information on hiring WAIV candidates, call (818) 677-0118, visit www.csun.edu/cod/sdr/workability, or e-mail: workability@csun.edu.


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