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CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: melvin-shaw@uiowa.edu

Release: Oct. 26, 1999

UI professor leads national teleconference on service for persons with disabilities

IOWA CITY — University of Iowa College of Law Professor Peter Blanck will lead an Oct. 28 teleconference to announce a free and new nationwide service that will help enterprising persons with disabilities launch their own companies. The new Small Business Self-Employment Service was developed by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, which Blanck serves as a member. Blanck is also leading the committee’s efforts to promote self-employment and expand the new service.

The teleconference will be at 4 p.m. CST (5 p.m. EST) Thursday, Oct. 28 and will include authorities on disability services and employment and journalists from across the United States. Local journalists wanting to take part in the press conference can arrange to participate by calling (202) 376-6200, ext. 53 through Wednesday, Oct. 27.

The service is an opportunity to enhance the employment rate among persons with disabilities, Blanck says. National unemployment figures show the U.S. unemployment rate is 4.2 percent but "a staggering 75 percent of Americans with disabilities remain unemployed, even though the vast majority of them want to work," according to a statement made by President Clinton in recognition of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Entrepreneurship is a growing area of interest for persons with disabilities, and the new service will provide the would-be business owners advice related to starting a business, management, and relevant disability issues. The new service offers far-reaching benefits for service providers, friends and family of people with disabilities, and disabled persons interested in self-employment and small business career options. The service will be accessible to persons in the U.S., Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Blanck is the director of The Law, Health Policy & Disability Center, which provides a neutral forum for persons with disabilities to get help in becoming self-sufficient. The center also conducts research, advises educational institutions, local and state governments, and policymakers about disability law.

For additional information about the committee, visit its Web site at www.pcepd.gov or http://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu/sbses