October 28, 2016
Partnership helps transition youth with disabilities


Partnership helps transition youth with disabilities

Inaugural conference leads to career opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 21, 2016) –  October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and a great time to highlight the partnership between the USBLN’s Rising Leaders Program, Greater Houston Business Leadership Network (USBLN affiliate) and the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services (DARS). Earlier this year the two organizations came together to create the Apprenticeship Conference. The purpose of the event was to assist youth with disabilities, specifically those with visual impairments, find a pathway to career success.

The Apprenticeship Conference, “Paving the Pathway to Success,” was held in Houston and attended by approximately 120 parents, consumers, businesses, presenters and community partners.

“It was a great opportunity to work with one of our local affiliates and partners to bring this unique conference to life,” said Mylene Padolina, Student Initiatives Program Manager, USBLN. “The outcomes from the event will have a lasting impact on our organization.”

12 DARS participants attended the conference as part of the DARS Apprenticeship Program. They participated in group skills training to learn skills essential for employment success, including critical thinking, presentation, decision making, interpersonal and soft skills. In the final phase of the apprenticeship program, the students worked closely with representatives from AT&T, Emerson Process Management, KPMG and WG Consulting. Each group presented its project at the Apprenticeship Conference and were evaluated by a panel of judges.

“It is a privilege to have the GHBLN involved in this type of program and event that creates a path to the future for very talented individuals” said Cheryl Guido.

The inaugural Apprenticeship Conference consisted of panels and special presenters. During “Breakfast with the GHBLN” representatives from Whataburger, Chevron, NASA, Principle Partnering Group, Hair International Spa, Union Pacific and other local businesses learned about disability awareness and inclusion from panelist including Microsoft, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services and United Technologies Corporate Aerospace Systems.

After the Apprenticeship Conference, DARS participants attended the USBLN Conference in Orlando, Fla. as part of the Rising Leadership Academy.

About the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)
The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace. The USBLN serves as the collective voice of nearly 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing more than 5,000 businesses. Additionally, the USBLN Disability Supplier Diversity Program® (DSDP) is the nation’s leading third party certification program for disability-owned businesses, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

About the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)

The Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) is a state agency that works in partnership with Texans with disabilities to assist them in achieving their goals of employment, living independently and eliminating barriers to communication and community access. The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services (DARS) was transferred to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) as of Sept. 1, 2016. The new agency name is Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services but faces, locations and great service will remain the same.



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