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ODEP News Release: [06/17/2004]
Contact Name: Michael Volpe
Phone Number: (202) 693-7909

Jobs Program for Students with Disabilities Exceeds 2003 Totals, U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao Says

WASHINGTON—A three-month-old jobs program that places college students with disabilities in summer employment has already exceeded last year’s placement totals, U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao announced today.

“The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) gives many students with disabilities the break they need to launch successful careers. They acquire valuable work experience, gain confidence, and make important job connections,” Secretary Chao said. “The WRP also fulfills President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative pledge to promote employment opportunities throughout the nation for people with disabilities.”

Virginia (45), New York (38), Maryland (31), California (28), Texas (23), Washington, DC (22), Pennsylvania (21), Florida (19), Illinois (11), and Utah (8) represent states and areas of the country with the most students hired through the WRP. Twenty-one percent of WRP students are African American, with 10 percent Asian American and 10 percent Hispanic.

The WRP, unveiled March 30, has already placed 331 college students with disabilities in summer and even some permanent positions within the federal government. The 2004 placement number is expected to increase because of a joint memorandum that Secretary Chao and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued on May 24 urging government selecting officials “to consider the candidates referred through this program for career development opportunities and permanent employment.”

“WRP applicants are valuable to employers because they can undertake special projects postponed for lack of time or resources, assist permanent staff with key projects, share innovative technical skills, or assume responsibilities of staff on vacation or leave,” said Roy Grizzard, assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

Colleges with the most WRP students placed include: National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of Technology (25), New York; Gallaudet University (18), Washington, DC; Montgomery College (13), Maryland; George Mason University and Tidewater CC (11 each), Virginia; Ventura College (7), California; University of West Florida (7), Florida; St. Joseph’s University (5), Pennsylvania; and, Brigham Young University (5), Utah.

ODEP, in cooperation with the Defense Department, offers a WRP database of almost 1,600 job seekers with disabilities on a complimentary CD-ROM. Employers can search applicants by field of study, state or school, in various disciplines. Searches generate candidate profiles, academic and demographic data and contact information from applications recruited by the program from more than 180 colleges and universities in over 40 states and territories. WRP information is available from www.wrpjobs.com, or www.dol.gov/odep, or by contacting ODEP at (202) 693-7880.

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