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AbilityLinks Wins Partnership Award


AbilityLinks effort to increase employment of persons with disabilities was rewarded last month when it was named winner of the “Partnerships for Independence Award” by Donka, Inc., a highly regarded computer training program that specializes in serving persons with disabilities. 


AbilityLinks was created in 2000 by Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital to match persons with disabilities and leading employers. Kathleen Yosko, Marianjoy President and Chief Executive Officer, developed the AbilityLinks program and Web site to give rehabilitation patients something more.

She recognized that after all the time and effort devoted to physical rehabilitation, theses patients still needed help getting back into the community, especially access to employment opportunities.

At the same time, employers seeking to recruit disabled persons had to contact many individual employment programs and agencies to find candidates, a time consuming process.  

Marianjoy’s idea was to organize one large pool of qualified individuals with disabilities--the strategy being that if there were more candidates to choose from, there would be more chances for hires.

Ability Links Information and Referral Counselors, Bill O’Connor and Janice Duvall, often refer candidates to Donka who may need to polish computer and office skills before posting their resumes on the AbilityLinks Web site. In turn, Donka helps build awareness about AbilityLinks with local businesses and disabled job seekers.

The relationship between the two programs is strong. Donka is a founding member of the AbilityLinks Consortium and before the AbilityLinks Web site launched in July 2001, Donka staff and students helped test the site for navigation ability. One of those students was Wade Lederman, who presented the partnerships award to AbilityLinks and found his job on Ken Skord, Marianjoy’s Director of Vocational Rehabilitation, has devoted much of his time since 2000 to the start up and ongoing management of AbilityLinks.

He accepted the award for AbilityLinks and said, “As the Internet continues to grow in importance for the employment community, we are launching new features including live chat customer support, webinars, an expansion of our quick advice telephone hotline for job seekers and employers. I value the relationship the AbilityLinks program has with Donka,” especially the many times Donka has hosted community educational produced by Ability Links, including one on the Americans with Disabilities Act".

Please visit their websites to learn more about AbilityLinks and Donka which recently celebrated it's 20th anniversary:;