Career watch: A lift for IT professionals who are disabled

Q&A: Donna Walters Kozberg

The president of Lift talks about how the organization helps professionals who are disabled gain IT careers.

Has the demand for Lift-trained IT professionals changed over the years?

We've been training, hiring and placing IT professionals who have physical disabilities since 1975. In the mid-'70s, there was huge demand for entry-level programmer-analysts. We recruited candidates who had exceptional analytical ability and typically little or no background and trained them to program in assembler, Cobol, Fortran, etc. Today we're placing consultants and employees who have disabilities in specialties ranging from Web development to technical writing to computer security to tech support. Most have prior technical or business experience and/or degrees in relevant fields from leading universities.

Do the companies you work with suggest particular areas of training or methods of instruction?

Every employee's program with Lift is individualized. We recruit applicants only for specific positions identified by our corporate clients. Curricula and methods of instruction vary with skill-set requirements, accommodation needs and candidates' backgrounds.

Who conducts the Lift training? Where is it done?

Training typically consists of a combination of online mentored instruction in both technical and business skills, and on-the-job programs at client sites. Pre-employment training usually takes place at home, with multiresource curricula developed by Lift and approved by the client, and it is always rigorous.

Are clients optimistic about their employment prospects?

Everyone accepted into the Lift program is assigned to a yearlong contract with a corporate client, with the end goal of direct employment with that client. Because of the outstanding track record of participants, those who are accepted into the program are extremely optimistic.

-- Jamie Eckle

I Quit!

That is, I will be leaving my current position in six to eight weeks, depending on the governing statutes.

Human resources consultancy Mercer studied 43 nations and found that the US and Mexico are alone in having no statutory notice period for leaving an employer. Most countries require advance notice of a month or so, though they also tend to require companies to give an equal amount of notice before laying employees off. The countries with the longest required notice periods are Switzerland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where two months' notice is required. Mercer dug these factoids up for its 2007 Global HR Factbook.

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