Showing posts from February, 2016

New Hiring Quota Called For

This is great news regarding the representation of people with disabilities in the workforce!  This article from outlines goals the EEOC is trying to achieve with policy change and how it will attempt to enforce them.

Federal Proposal Calls for Disability Hiring Quota
By: Shaun Heasley

Under a new proposal, the federal government would be required to take sweeping steps to utilize affirmative action to increase the number of workers with disabilities in its ranks.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said this week that it is proposing a rule that would require federal agencies to work toward a 12 percent workforce representation rate for people with disabilities and a 2 percent representation rate for those with targeted or severe conditions including intellectual disability.

Moreover, the rule calls for government agencies to provide personal assistance to employees with disabilities who need help with eating, using the restroom and other basic human …

Jeffrey Barksdale, his success with Nude Fude in Charlottesville

Kate Gariepy, a Vocational Counselor with The Choice Group in our Central West region, sent in a story about one of her clients to the Virginia Rehabilitation Association (VRA) newsletter, News Notes.  Her work with Jeffrey Barksdale landed him the job with his current employer, Nude Fude. Here's the article as it reads in News Notes.

A core part of our mission at Nude Fude is to foster a strong sense of community amongst our patrons and staff. To help you get to know us better, we feature one of our stalwart employees each week in a Facebook post.

No question, Jeffery Barksdale is the guy we want to represent us front-n-center. Officially, he's our dishwasher, but he's also the hardest working man at NF and the engine that allows the kitchen to hum. Quick with a joke and even faster in the dish pit, Jeff brings tremendous energy to the restaurant. Hailing from the Danville-area, Jeff used his skills developed as an Eagle Scout to great success at the Virginia School for t…

Vocational Counselors/ Job Coaches Needed Throughout Virginia!

Do you have an interest, education or experience in human services?  Put your skills and passions to work helping individuals with disabilities achieve employment and independence.  This is not an office job.  Exact hours will depend on your clients' work hours.  You must have a valid driver’s license, dependable transportation, ability to plan your day and then shift gears, if necessary, to accommodate last-minute developments.

Application Process: Please email resume and cover letter as Word attachments , indicating "VC - BI" in the subject line. The Choice Group retains submitted resumes and cover letters for 180 days, so candidates who have applied within that period need not reapply.

Job Description:
Provide supported employment, life-skills training, and related services to persons with disabilities.  At least a Bachelor degree in a related field and related experience, including prior work with brain injury rehabilitation, is needed.  …

"Change in Sign, Change in Attitude"

We love this "active and engaged" alternative symbol!  It's been adopted already in a few cities and under consideration all around the nation.  What do you think Virginia?  Check out the full article by Anne Quito on Quartz.

"There's a movement underway to update the universal symbol for disability access"

Since the 1990s, several designers have attempted to re-think the seated figure on the internationally recognizable symbol for disability access. Now, efforts to imbue the utilitarian signage motif with a political message appear to be gaining traction.

Connecticut governor Dannel P. Malloy is proposing that the state’s new handicap parking signs, license plates, stickers, and tags, starting in January 2017, use “a logo with a dynamic character leaning forward with a sense of movement.”

Malloy, whose bill comes in the wake of a citizen-led petition called “Change the Sign. Change the Attitude” and was filed for the February session of the state general as…

Project SEARCH Open House

A lot of our clients have found much success through the Project SEARCH program.  Providing internships in the medical field with participating hospitals, these Students with Disabilities often go on to fulfilling, full-time employment where they've held their internships.  Congrats to the 11 students who have completed the program, and good luck to those about to start!

Rock the Disabled Vote!

This article by Huffington Post Accessibility is full of great information on voting options available to people with disability as far as assistance and accessibility.  It's also full of pertinent information on candidate's stances on issues that may affect people with disabilities.  Check out the first ever "Score card" on disability as well as Project Vote Smart!

Observations From Below: If You're Not at the Table, You're on the Menu
Bryan Dooley

Disability Rights Advocate and Journalist

"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."- Michael Enzi

While this saying is probably true for most people, it is especially true for most people with disabilities, unfortunately, people with disabilities vote at a much lower rate than the general population. According to a voting document found on Disability Rights NC, only 55 % of people with disabilities voted in NC, compared to 69% of people without disabilities.

There have only been a few not…

Give Kids a Smile Day, 3 Tips on how to make learning more fun for children with learning disabilities

Today is "Give Kids a Smile" Day, you know, one of those random holidays you never knew existed, like "Talk Like a Pirate" day and "Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast" Day!  Well, in honor of today's holiday AND tomorrow's "Take Your Child to the Library" Day, we thought we'd share this thoughtful article with tips on how to help make learning fun for children with learning disabilities.  It can seem hopeless and disappointing to any child who isn't given the proper attention when trying to learn in school, which can make them give up altogether.  With just a little bit of knowledge in part of the educator, learning can be fun again for students with learning disabilities.  

3 Tips to Make Learning More Fun for the Child with Learning Disabilities  By Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA 

Academic tasks can be challenging for kids with learning disabilities and related disorders (such as dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, etc.). If your child st…

Ability Awareness Training

We found this great article by Teresa Thomas on!  We need more outreach committees actively creating awareness and an inclusive environment for all students to learn and play.  We especially loved that they were calling it Ability Awareness, "because we want kids to focus on the fact that we all have abilities even though we're different."  That's the message we try to send out through our work at The Choice Group- that skill, talent, and hard work aren't exclusive traits but can be fostered in inclusive workplace environments.

Kids Get 'Ability Awareness' Training
by Teresa Thomas, Mail Tribune/TNS | January 26, 2016

MEDFORD, Ore. – Hayden Allen, 9, gestured wildly as he tried to communicate instructions to his classmates without using words.

As he acted out “arranging toy cars in a row,” his classmates guessed that he was counting, dancing and even flying.

Hayden finally gave up.

“It was hard and frustrating, and I couldn’t do i…

Free IRS Tax Prep Help!

Many of the clients we work with struggle with the process of filing taxes.  There is a free service that we recommend to anyone in need of assistance in preparing and filing their tax forms this year! The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free help for taxpayers who qualify.  Across the country, this program provides IRS-certified tax experts for in-person assistance with self-filing through Free File.  Assistance sites are usually located in community and neighborhood centers, libraries and schools!  Find a location nearest you for Facilitated Self-Assistance, or start filing today by visiting