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This building looks like hope to me.

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After I dropped Mary off for her class last Wednesday, I sat in my car and watched some of her classmates go in. The rear door of the van near the door popped open, a ramp was lowered by an unseen force, and a motorized wheelchair  appeared, the operator quickly making progress toward the entrance. Another young woman got off the Go Bus, and with her white cane walked to the door. Adults of all ages filed in, some with walkers, some with canes, and some with no visible signs of disability. Although I have always said that no one would know that Mary had a disability until she starts talking.

All of these adults have a substantial, documented disability. All of them also had to pass a series of aptitude tests and an interview to get into the program. All of them had to have an extended period of looking for work with no success. They are taking a course for some sort of computer certification. At the end of the course, they will have to take a certification test. If they pass, they will then interview for work at a help desk for a call center operated by a government contractor.

The government contractor hires people with disabilities. It may be required to do so, and there are probably substantial incentives.

In this state, there are incentives for private employers to give people with disabilities a chance. For a period of time, a substantial portion of their wages is paid by the state. Yet, the unemployment rate for intelligent adults with disabilities is very high. Many times the rate of unemployment for the general population.

They want to work. They want to have purpose, to be independent, to make their own money. So the government has stepped in to provide both training and an opportunity for them.

This week, they will begin building a computer from scratch. I have suggested to Mary that she take one of her old computers, open it up and study the parts in three dimensions. She does the home work. She knows what it takes to pass a class.

This group had to be extra patient, as the teacher who was supposed to teach them left for another job. They had to wait another three months to get in. Some of them won’t make it, but they have hope.

And hope is a precious thing.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops – at all -” Emily Dickinsin
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