A Virtual Conference for Veterans in Agriculture

AgrAbility logoFrom the National AgrAbility Project

Veterans Harvest: A Virtual Conference for Veterans in Agriculture

Five consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 27, 2021
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET

The National AgrAbility Project is pleased to present Veterans Harvest: A Virtual Conference for Veterans in Agriculture.

Registration

Use this link for the registration form.

All sessions are free. Those already registered for the 2021 AgrAbility National Training Workshop Virtual Sessions are automatically registered for the veterans’ conference. Register by Thursday, July 22. Instructions for accessing the session will be sent to registrants by Monday, July 26.

The current conference agenda includes the following sessions:

  • July 27: “Conference Introduction” by Cindy Chastain, National AgrAbility Project, and Jeanette Lombardo, Farmer Veteran Coalition, plus “One Veteran’s Journey from PTSD to Farmer” by Sarah Creech, Blue Yonder Organic Farm and Indiana Farmer Veteran Coalition
  • August 3: “Celebrating Veteran Total Farmer Health” by Linda Emanuel and Shay Foulk, AgriSafe Network
  • August 10: “Programming for Veterans in Agriculture: How Maine Does It” by Anne Devin, veteran outreach specialist with Maine AgrAbility
  • August 17: “Update on USDA’s support for Veterans” by Bill Ashton, USDA Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison
  • August 24: “Panel Presentation on State/Regional Programs for Farmer Veterans” moderated by Cindy Chastain, National AgrAbility Project

“Agriculture has become an important source of employment and healing for many veterans,” says Cindy Chastain, National AgrAbility’s veteran outreach coordinator. “A large percentage of veterans come from rural areas, even though not all of them grew up on farms. After leaving the military, they discover that working in agriculture fulfills them in ways that other occupations can’t.”

Groups involved with the conference include Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) and Indiana AgVets. FVC is a national organization with chapters in Indiana and 23 other states that helps veterans develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. Indiana AgVets is a USDA-sponsored agricultural career training program, led by Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation in cooperation with Purdue’s Indiana AgrAbility Project, which provides internships and other support for U.S. military veterans in Indiana or surrounding states.

Contact AgrAbility at 800-825-4264 or email agrability@agrability.org if you have questions.

The National AgrAbility Project is supported by USDA/NIFA Special Project 2016-41590-25880.

 

Assistive Technology in the Workplace – webinar from HKNC

Helen Keller National Center - logoThe Helen Keller National Center for Deaf Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) is pleased to announce the release of their latest courses and more.

These are asynchronous courses (take them when you want to) and are free of charge until further notice. Please contact Brenda.Baroncelli@hknc.org to get the coupon code.

Assistive Technology in the Workplace

This course provides an overview of the types of adaptive technology available for individuals who are DeafBlind. Focus is placed specifically on access to computers and mobile devices. This course was designed as a resource for employers looking to ensure full access for their DeafBlind employees. However, this information can be beneficial to individuals who are DeafBlind themselves as well as providers working with or supporting people with combined vision and hearing loss. The DeafBlind population is quite diverse and therefore the types of technology or accommodations needed vary greatly from person to person.  This course does not provide in-depth training on how to use a specific device or software but rather provides an overview of what is available and the features and limitations of each. Resources on where to obtain and learn more about this technology are provided. The course is divided into two modules. The first module focuses on access via braille and speech output and the second module addresses screen magnification and enhancement software which allows an individual with some residual vision to access their computer screen or mobile device. The presenters in this training, Scott Davert, and Bryan Ward are both leading professionals in the field of Adaptive Technology and are DeafBlind themselves. They share personal and professional perspectives and a wealth of experience.

ACVREP CE Hours: 1.0

Technology Solutions for Older Adults with Combined Hearing and Vision Loss

Technology Solutions for Older Adults with Combined Hearing and Vision Loss is a first-of-its-kind resource. This new course is designed for people who directly work with, or otherwise provide support to, older adults who have combined hearing and vision loss and provides a foundation to better understand adaptive technologies that improve participants’ ability to communicate with others and live independently.  Authored by experts from various departments throughout HKNC and with input from the DeafBlind community, this 3-part course offers practical guidance to help improve the overall quality of life and self-sufficiency among older adults with combined hearing and vision loss. HKNC would like to gratefully acknowledge the Consumer Technology Association Foundation for the generous grant to develop this critical resource.

ACVREP CE Hours: 3.0

 

AgrAbility webinars by Therese Willkomm

AgrAbility logoThe following come from Lani Carlson, Project Coordinator, Maine AgrAbility Program…

Join AgrAbility for a webinar series by Therese Willkomm hosted by Georgia AgrAbility.  This will be an interactive webinar series, so bring your own stories and experiences to share.

Dr. Willkomm is the director of New Hampshire’s State Assistive Technology Program with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and is an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy.

For those of you who have not had the privilege of meeting Therese Willkomm, she is known internationally as the “MacGyver of Assistive Technology.” Growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin Therese learned she had to be creative to help keep the farm running. She turned that knowledge into her lifelong passion to make low-cost adaptations and fabrications for individuals with disabilities. Therese has a long and rich history working with AgrAbility projects across the nation. You can read a great article about her on the Easter Seals society website.

Therese recently published her third book on assistive technology, and it will be featured on the last webinar of the series.

Farming with An Amputation -Voices from the Past

Wednesday, July 28 2021 
3:30 – 5 pm ET

Therese Willkomm shares a collection of interviews with farmers with an amputation who share their experiences and adaptations to continue farming. Join us for an interactive discussion about what has changed and what is stayed the same.

Register in advance for the Wednesday, July 28 2021 webinar

Farming with Vision Loss -Voices from the Past

Wednesday, August 11 2021
3:30 – 5 pm ET

Therese Willkomm shares a collection of interviews with farmers with vision loss who share their experiences and adaptations to continue farming. Join us for an interactive discussion about what has changed and what is stayed the same.

Register in advance for the Wednesday, August 11 2021 webinar

Make Stuff and Love People

Wednesday, August 18 2021
3:30 – 5 pm ET

Therese Willkomm will share the joy of making thousands of assistive technology devices; discoveries of new tools and materials for rapid fabrication; and lessons learned over the last 30 years. She will also share her new book Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes -Book III.

Register in advance for the Wednesday, August 18 2021 webinar

CEU’s will be made available.

 

Two free virtual events on Employment & Transition Age Youth

From the Maine Department of Labor – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired, and Maine Medical Center – Department of Vocational Services

Your First Steps on the Pathway to Employment

A collaborative summit for youth with disabilities and their allies

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
2:00-3:30 PM

This virtual conference will explore the expansion of Special Education Services to the age of 22, the importance of Work Experience, information on Social Security disability benefits, and how working impacts benefits for transition-aged youth. Hosted by the Maine Department of Labor Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired, and Maine Medical Center Department of Vocational Services.

Use this link to register for the May 12 event…

Disability Work Incentives for Teenagers & Young Adults

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
2:00-3:00 PM

This is a free webinar offered by Benefits Counseling Services at Maine Medical Center’s Department of Vocational Services. We will discuss the unique work incentives available to transition age youth, as well as important benefit transitions such as the Age-18 redetermination process.

Use this link to register for the May 26 event…

New MyJAN Portal Added

From AskJAN…

New MyJAN Portal Offers Customized Access to AskJAN.org Resources

Job Accommodations Network - JAN - logoThe MyJAN portal is a new online tool made available by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). MyJAN offers AskJAN.org website users customized access to resources on the site. Work smarter and faster by organizing your frequently accessed and favorite JAN Newsletter articles, accommodation solutions by disability, A to Z by Topic resources, and many more, in one convenient online location. MyJAN offers quick access to the AskJAN.org resources you trust to help you navigate the interactive process, explore job accommodation solutions, and be informed about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rights and responsibilities.

Organize the AskJAN.org website your way!

MyJAN is an online portal where you can organize AskJAN.org resources by Accommodation, Legal, and Other categories. While using your personal MyJAN portal, simply explore the AskJAN.org website and add pages by clicking the MyJAN+ tab on the right side of the screen. From there, select a filing category, add notes about the resource and rate it, and set the list and grid view order. There’s no limit to the number of AskJAN.org resources that can be saved, and resources can be added, organized, and deleted as you choose.

Never miss a new AskJAN.org resource!

Recommended and newly released AskJAN.org resources are displayed in a “Recommended Resources” tab in your MyJAN portal. Recommended resources include a description and can easily be added to or deleted from your customized MyJAN portal.

Access all the ADA and accommodation AskJAN.org resources you need in one convenient online location.

Set-up a free customizable MyJAN account today at the MyJAN portal page.

 

Telework and Accessibility

From PEAT – the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology

Telework and Accessibility ToolkitMany employers and employees have shifted to telework. PEAT is here to help with the transition to ensure your digital communications and platforms are as accessible as possible for everyone, including people with disabilities.

The recent shift to telework for a staggering number of government and private sector employees has caused a surge in the use of digital communications systems. Employers and employees are now relying heavily on digital technologies to conduct business, collaborate with colleagues, host virtual events, and recruit and hire employees.

Use this link to access the PEAT Telework and Accessibility Toolkit and other resources…

Where can I get an inexpensive computer?

fingers on computer keyboardThis has been perhaps the most popular question received at Maine CITE over the past 10 months. A byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic has been high demand for information technology (IT) particularly free and low-cost options. From students learning from home, to patients visiting their doctors via Zoom, to isolated seniors looking to connect with friends and family, the need for computers and IT has become phenomenal.

While for many, personal technology at home is commonplace, for many others, including seniors on fixed incomes and people with disabilities, the costs are prohibitive. Fortunately, there are several options for getting Maine people low-cost, recycling technology.

As part of our Maine CITE Equipment Reuse resource webpage, we have listed numerous programs and organizations that may be able to help Maine citizens get inexpensive, used assistive technology (AT). Here is a summary of programs that specialize in the recycling of computers and information technology equipment:

Give IT Get IT

Probably the best resource in Maine is Give IT Get IT a nonprofit organization that helps eligible individuals and nonprofit organizations get access to fast, high-quality computers – and outstanding user support – at the lowest cost possible.

The Waterville-based nonprofit formed last year out of a merger between PCs for Maine and eWaste Alternatives and has increasing its capacity to recycle retired technology devices from Maine businesses, refurbish them, and distribute them to “technologically isolated” Mainers.

Give IT Get IT can provide information technology equipment to eligible individuals or non-profit organizations including schools and libraries at costs well below market-value. Eligibility to purchase equipment is based upon family size and household income – see/download this link for details – PDF

Give IT Get IT does have a Sponsorship program which will provide computers to needy individuals for free, but the waiting list for these is quite long.

Qualified persons with disabilities may be able to get funding for this equipment through a MaineCARE assistive technology waiver, through vocational rehabilitation, or other insurance. Please check with your funder before contacting Give IT Get IT.

Both laptop and desktop computers are available and come with MS Windows 10 installed (Note: Laptops are more expensive than desktops). Prices start at $95.00 for a basic desktop and range up to $330 for an advance laptop.

All the computers recycled by Give IT Get IT are commercial grade and three years old or newer. There are three pricing levels based upon the device specifications. All devices also come with preinstalled basic software; the advanced devices come with more memory, processor speed, to accommodate advanced software needs. Some of the latest equipment come with web cameras and are ready for video conferencing or on-line learning.

In addition to computers, Give IT Get IT also sells refurbished, low-cost monitors, surge protectors, ethernet cable, headsets, and laptop docking stations. Devices may be shipped to your location for a fee: $38 for desktops, $22 for laptops. Devices may also be picked up for free from their Waterville location.

All devices come with a six-month warranty by Give IT Get IT and all devices can be returned within 15 days for a complete refund.

Free phone support and online training is also available. Call (207) 338-4233 if you have any questions.

Give IT Get IT
60 Industrial St.
Waterville, ME

Phone: (207) 338-4233

Website: giveitgetit.org/

Email: info@giveitgetit.org

PCs for People

Founded in 1998, PCs for People is a national leader in digital inclusion. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, every project, program, and initiative at PCs for People is centered on getting low-cost computers and affordable broadband internet into the homes of low-income individuals.

PCs for People provides services to both individuals and businesses looking to acquire or dispose of technology. Any family or individual receiving government benefits or living below 200% of the federal poverty line is eligible for services (please see website for specific eligibility criteria and documentation requirements). In addition to the services offered directly to families, PCs for People offer free recycling and data sanitization services to corporations. PCs for People’s corporate recycling services are extremely simple, cost efficient, helps those in need, and is a better alternative to traditional recycling.

PC for People operates from seven locations in six states (unfortunately, none in Maine) but all their devices, including desktop computers, laptop computers, and internet “hotspots” may be purchased online and delivered with free shipping. All computers are MS Windows 10, come with a 90-day warranty and may be returned or exchanged within 30 days (note: restocking fee may be charged for returns).

PCs for People
1481 Marshall Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Phone: (654)354-2552

Website: pcsforpeople.org/

Email: info@pcsforpeople.org

Other Resources

In addition to these two programs, there are numerous businesses and organizations that provide similar recycling programs around the country. The following is a partial list of similar programs that resell refurbished information technology equipment:

 

 

JAN offers free webcasts

Person at desk using keyboardThe Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

Starting in October 2020, JAN is offering a series of free webcasts to the public. Topics include Ergonomics for Teleworkers, ADA Update, Accommodating Veterans, and many more. The JAN Webcast Series is free, but you must register for each event. Sign up now, as space is limited!

Dates/times and titles follow. Use this link for more information and to register for any of these events.

October 2020
Intentional Inclusion: Increasing Access & Opportunity
10/13/2020 | 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Eastern

November 2020
The Top Ten Veteran-Related Accommodation Questions and Answers
11/10/2020 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

December 2020
Ergonomics for Teleworkers
12/08/2020 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

January 2021
Accommodations for Respiratory Impairments
01/12/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

February 2021
Requesting and Negotiating Reasonable Accommodations
02/09/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

March 2021
ADA and Accommodation Lessons Learned: COVID-19 Edition
03/09/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

April 2021
Service and Emotional Support Animals in the Workplace
04/13/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

May 2021
Q&A with the Cog/Psych Team: Challenging Mental Health Scenarios
05/11/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

June 2021
Accommodating Public Safety Workers with Disabilities
06/08/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

July 2021
ADA Update
07/13/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

August 2021
AT Update: What’s new in 2021
08/10/2021 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern

 

2020 Guide for Maine Families on AT and AEM Published

EducationThe Maine CITE Assistive Technology Program is pleased to release the revised Guide for Maine Families on Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials. The 2020 Guide provides Maine families who have children with disabilities an easy to use resource describing how to get the assistive technology (AT) devices and services they need. Information about accessible education materials (AEM) and families’ important role in the planning process are also provided.

The 2020 Guide updates general information about AT and AEM. It includes new resources about assistive technology used during “learning at home” activities, as well as AT device demonstration and loan services – AT4Maine.org.

Use this link to download the The Guide – PDF

Tips for Hosting Accessible Meetings with Deaf Participants

Accessibility pictogramThe National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) has hosted a valuable set of tips for hosting meetings where some of the participants may be deaf or hard of hearing. They note, “besides running a better meeting, effective communication between hearing and deaf people has other benefits for career success. Research shows it strengthens relationships, increases well-being, and fosters meaningful participation in the workplace.”

Among the tips are recommendations regarding:

  • the use of captioning for any videos shared in the meeting,
  • the importance of providing the right accommodations – including in-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, remote ASL interpreter, remote speech-to-text services, large print materials, and presentations slides as handouts with presenter notes, and
  • establishing some meeting ground rules, including taking turns, and identifying yourself before making comments.

The complete list of tips (PDF) may be downloaded from this link to the NDC website

In need of further assistance? Connect with the NDC Help Team

See also: Remote Workplace Communications Access: Recommendations for Employers During Times of Expanded Telework – National Association of the Deaf

rev: 8/12/2021