Virtual Ability, Inc. is pleased to announce its participation in EmployAble, a Kessler Foundation grant project of the University of Hawaii’s Center on Disability Studies.

EmployAble is a model virtual world employment orientation and support center in Second Life®. It will provide training, networking, mentoring, and employment resources for people with disabilities and employers. The overall program goal is to increase employment of persons with disabilities.

EmployAble is designed to meet the needs of people with diverse disabilities, with a particular emphasis on veterans and persons with Traumatic Brain Injuries. EmployAble also will have resources for employers: providing them ways to connect with potential employees with disabilities, and ways to support and retain their existing employees with disabilities.

Virtual Ability, Inc. is a partner of the University of Hawaii’s Center on Disability Studies for this project, providing expertise in virtual world building and community management. The project will be housed on Virtual Ability’s Independence island in Second Life®. Another partner in the project is AbiliCorp, a disability employment company in California.

Virtual Ability’s responsibility for the EmployAble project includes building an accessible Second Life site for the project; training new users including EmployAble staff how to function in Second Life; locating related resources within Second Life; and assisting the Center on Disability Studies in developing a Virtual Career Fair.

The Second Life® component of the EmployAble project will offer three main tools: Skill Builder, Access Info, and Match Maker. Skill Builder will help persons with disabilities learn skills such as resume building, interviewing, and job search. Access Info will provide information on the benefits of hiring and retaining persons with disabilities, and demonstrate assistive technology for the workplace. Match Maker will connect job-seeking people with disabilities with mentors and potential employers.

Persons with a disability, especially veterans and persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as employers and individuals with expertise in the area of disability and employment, are encouraged to contribute to the EmployAble project by helping design appropriate services. Surveys for various roles and experiences are available online at http://www.cds.hawaii.edu/employable/survey/.