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Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services

Workforce Solutions ~ O*NET Contributions

Maryland Center Opens Doors to Employment for Citizens with Disabilities

Workforce Challenge: The teenager with neurological damage from a car accident wants to be independent, but must find a new career that fits his altered abilities. The talented young artist with skills in graphic design feels locked out of the job market because she cannot read. The veteran, wounded in combat, seeks work in the civilian sector to support his family. Like these, most individuals with disabilities want to find satisfying work that uses their talents and provides enough income to live independently.

Workforce Solution: To help them, the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) offers the gamut of supportive services - everything from driver's education to career training and job placement. Last year, DORS helped almost 21,000 individuals cope with physical and learning disabilities, illness, and injuries and move toward becoming productive and valued workers. Based in the State Department of Education, DORS staff also uses resources offered by the Labor Department to help customers explore careers and find jobs.

For many DORS customers, the first step toward employment begins with career assessment in the Workforce & Technology Center, one of seven comprehensive state-run facilities in the U.S.** Using a variety of assessments and interest inventories, individuals learn about themselves - their values, interests, talents, and abilities. Then, using O*NET OnLine and other resources, they begin to explore career possibilities.

O*NET Contribution: According to Sue Howarth, who has been using O*NET resources since 1998, the benefits for her customers are many. Using O*NET OnLine, they can find:

  • Up-to-date information at their fingertips 24/7 and nationwide. DORS customers all across Maryland can do their career exploration at home and send results to her by email. This is especially convenient for those who have difficulty getting to Baltimore or regional offices in the state.
  • Direct links to wage and salary information. Her customers want to know the bottom line about an occupation: how much will I make?
  • Straightforward, factual, and brief descriptions - no long-winded paragraphs to wade through.
  • New possibilities of where they might fit in the labor market. Can search for occupations based on skills, values and interests.
  • Occupations related to DOT-based assessments - CAPS (Career and Placement Survey) is a widely used assessment tool based on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Customers can search O*NET OnLine by DOT codes to find related occupations.
  • Data on employment outlook to avoid training for scarce or non-existent jobs.
  • Physical and other requirements of occupations that interest them.

Key Results: Every customer leaves WTC Career Assessment Services with recommendations for next steps. O*NET saves them time and adds convenience to the process of exploring careers. It expands their range of possibilities for satisfying work and builds confidence that they can be good candidates for businesses seeking qualified and productive workers. As Sue Howarth notes, "We want to prepare DORS customers to make informed choices about careers, jobs, and training. It's important for them to see there are good jobs where they can succeed. O*NET is a cornerstone of our services to help them do that."

Sue Howarth, Rehabilitation Technical Specialist, Career Assessment Services, Workforce & Technology Center, Division of Rehabilitation Services, Maryland State Department of Education
Telephone: 410-554-9141