Workers Discuss Strategies for Disabled

A panel of three distinguished members of the disabled community spoke at the Career Services Center Tuesday afternoon, addressing career strategies for students with disabilities in a career exploration panel co-sponsored by Career Services and the UCSD Alumni Association.

The panel’s primary goal was to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to learn from those who had succeeded in their careers, despite various physical and nonvisible impairments.

The panelists addressed the audience in a prearranged question-and-answer format with information about their own career paths. They discussed the rewards and challenges of their respective careers by tackling issues such as disclosure and accommodation in the job search process.

The three panelists were Steven Brock, an advisory software engineer for IBM Corporation; Jonathan Mooney, two-time author and executive director of his own nonprofit organization Eye-to-Eye; and Valois Vera, employment coordinator at The Access Center of San Diego.

Brock, who is deaf, received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from California State University at Northridge and has been working for IBM for 18 years. Brock now provides technical consulting for many major corporations including Exxon, Target and Motorola. He also serves on the Internal Corporate Advisory Council for People with Disabilities.

Brock spoke of the difficulties he faced as a result of being hard of hearing in the workplace.

“”A disability becomes even more of a challenge as the face of a management team changes,”” Brock said.

Mooney, who is dyslexic and has attention deficit hyperactive disorder, is nationally recognized for his lecturing on learning disabilities and cognitive diversity.

“”People have this misconception that learning is about menial things like spelling and reading, when it it’s actually about ideas,”” Mooney said.

Having graduated from Brown University in May with a 4.0 grade point average and a degree in English Literature, Mooney has already authored two books, including Learning Outside the Lines, a handbook for academic success for students who think differently. He is now the founder and head of Project Eye-to-Eye, which pairs young children who have ADHD with college students with the same condition to help kids cope with the learning disability.

“”People don’t seem to understand that ADHD is a facet of my mind, not a disease, as it is with all physical and nonvisible disabilities alike”” Mooney said.

Above all, the panelists stressed the idea that disabilities and accommodation for those who suffer from them is a diversity issue very similar to race or gender relations and that people with disabilities are basically like everybody else.

“”I’m married, I have sex, I drink beer and I like sports … I’m just like any regular guy,”” Vera said.