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Celebrating its 16th anniversary this year, AbilityLinks.org, the award-winning job-opportunity network, is completely renovating its website to promote more effectively the hiring of people with disabilities. The launch represents a major change for the web-based program, created in 2001 by Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Northwestern Medicine.
“We are always striving to provide job-seekers with disabilities and employers with the best, most user-friendly services,” said Ken Skord, Program Director, AbilityLinks. “Our new website is a result of thoughtful collaboration with site users, including business leaders and job-seekers, as well as our own staff and steering committee, all in thinking about the current challenges employers and job-seekers face.”
New website features include a more accessible design, which is easier to navigate, with a more appealing look and feel. Résumés and jobs are quicker and easier to post. Users can set up automated job-search agents to identify matches and report job-listing views.
“As of May 2017, only about 20 percent of people with disabilities reported being employed, compared to nearly 70 percent of people without disabilities,” Skord said. “Employers and federal contractors can positively impact this rate by learning strategies of inclusion with our webinars and participating in our virtual job fairs, networking with this talented workforce.”
In celebration of this launch, AbilityLinks is hosting a series of three webinars, designed to educate employers about hiring people with disabilities and helping job-seekers represent themselves well. Each event is open to the public and requires free registration at www.abilitylinks.org.
The first event, on June 14, is targeted towards employers, diversity officers and human resources representatives, featuring stories and advice from employees with disabilities thriving within large organizations. Additionally, a representative from the Department of Labor/OFCCP will answer questions and share success tips related to the new 7% representation goal for qualified individuals with disabilities.
The June 16th event is aimed at job-seekers with disabilities, presented by TCF Bank and hosted by AbilityLinks. The webinar will explain how companies process applications and teach how to prepare for the phone-screening interview.
“Ace the Interview, Land the Job”, scheduled for July 20, focuses on the final interview step for job-seekers with disabilities. The webinar, presented by staffing agency Advanced Resources and hosted by AbilityLinks, is designed to help job-seekers prepare, perform and professionally follow up in the interview process. Participants can learn valuable tips on how to succeed in this crucial stage.
The AbilityLinks team offers support to job-seekers, employers, and service providers by creating connections and strategies that promote a more inclusive workforce. AbilityLinks also offers a mentoring program, which connects job-seekers with an established working professional for input and encouragement in their job search.
Robert Riley, an employee of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Northwestern Medicine, said that AbilityLinks was instrumental in his own career: “AbilityLinks is a great tool for someone with a disability to secure employment. It has been a huge influence on giving me a second chance at a promising career. I was placed in a position I could grow in and have since then been promoted and moved into leadership at Marianjoy. I am so grateful to have found such an amazing resource.”