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IT giant takes Wichita computer school to Atlanta to improve the lives of people with disabilities

Careers for Georgians with disabilities and special needs. 

Press Release August 1



WICHITA, Kan. - Careers for Georgians with disabilities and special needs. 

That was the focus July 15 at the EDS offices where keynote speaker the Honorable Johnny Isakson, EDS representatives and members of the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation of Kansas gathered to dedicate the Atlanta School of Adaptive Computer Training (SACT: www.cprf.org/training.asp ).

The opening of the Atlanta SACT begins an era of completely adaptive IT training for Georgians in the area's first computer training school focused on matching a student's abilities and the right assistive technology for career success.

The Honorable Johnny Isakson, U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia's Sixth District and member of the U.S. Education and Workforce Committee, commemorated the event and spoke "from the heart" on the issue of opening the doors of opportunity for people with disabilities. Congressman Isakson further supported the school's mission and underlined the need for all communities to reach out to the disabled community through the wonders of today's technology.

A personal testimony of the potential of the Atlanta SACT was shared by Michael Taylor, a 2000 Wichita SACT graduate turned instructor. In 1994, Taylor was struck with a catastrophic illness called acute central vestibular neuronittus. The result was permanent damage to the nerve that   carries signals from his eye to his brain.  "After the final diagnosis, I was told that I would probably never be able to do any gainful work... and simply walking would be a challenge due to the extreme symptoms of dizziness and physical disorientation," related Taylor during the Atlanta SACT dedication. "In the following 18 months, I went through intense physical therapy and one operation in an effort to improve my condition - with little success."

At that point, Taylor was told to hope for a medical miracle. Then in January 2001, he discovered the Wichita SACT. Through assistive technology and the support of his instructors and family, he graduated at the head of his class with every certification available through the school. Today Taylor shares his success with each new class.

"I am very proud of what I have accomplished, but with the picture and the window and the vision in mind, it's not only about what Michael Taylor has done, it's about the opportunity every student is given that attends the School of Adaptive Computer Training," said Taylor.

A combined investment of $788,000 by information technology giant EDS and the EDS Foundation has made the Atlanta SACT reality. Members of the EDS team were recognized by CPRF ( www.cprf.org ) during the dedication ceremony which was followed by an open house at the Atlanta SACT.

The funds support scholarships for people to attend the CPRF Atlanta School of Adaptive Training, which is devoted to directly addressing the need to improve marketable job skills for people with disabilities and others affected by the "digital divide." Scholarships are also supported in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration Projects with Industry program and U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. The school's mission is accomplished through a completely adaptive classroom which uses state-of-the-art, adjustable workstations and assistive software and devices to allow people with disabilities gain the skills needed to compete in today's highly competitive job market. The SACT first began classes in Wichita, Kan., and expanded its specialized training into the Atlanta market through relationships developed with EDS, the EDS Foundation and Digital Consulting and Software Services of Houston ( www.dcss.com  ). EDS University has also made a five-year commitment to provide in-kind management and first-year facility development support.

"Today I have the privilege of publicly thanking EDS and the EDS Foundation for their generous support of the Atlanta SACT," said Patrick T. Jonas, CPRF president and CEO, during the dedication ceremony. "We are acutely aware that relationships like those we recognize today are paramount to the success of this program. With the support of EDS and the EDS Foundation, we embark on a journey toward life-long independence for people with disabilities and special needs in Georgia through globally-recognized certifications in the IT field."

This year, CPRF celebrates 30 years of providing people with disabilities customized services, supports and technologies, with an emphasis on employment and training options, to facilitate their chosen economic and personal independence.

EDS, the leading global services company, is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. Throughout its history, EDS has provided strategy, implementation and hosting for clients managing the business and technology complexities of the digital economy. EDS brings together the world's best technologies to address critical client business imperatives. It helps clients eliminate boundaries, collaborate in new ways, establish their customers' trust and continuously seek improvement. EDS with its management consulting subsidiary, A.T. Kearney, services the world's leading companies and governments in 60 countries. EDS reported revenues of $21.5 billion in 2001. The company's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: EDS) and the London Stock Exchange. Learn more at www.eds.com ."Today's announcement exemplifies what can happen when the public and private sectors support good causes," said EDS Regional President Al Binford. "CPRF developed the idea, the EDS Foundation committed the initial funding, and EDS Atlanta invested in the people and equipment. These partnerships resulted in what you see here today an the winners are the students who will use the skills they learn here to lead productive successful lives."

The Atlanta SACT is supported by leading business professionals recruited locally to serve on the school's business advisory council. The Atlanta business leaders assist the SACT staff with mentor responsibilities and career placement activities. In addition, the school's advisory council provides direction and leadership to ensure the courses meet or exceed the requirements of hiring authorities in the Atlanta area.

Atlanta SACT course offerings include the Computer Support Analyst Curriculum, which provides training in Microsoft Office products, Windows 2000, keyboarding, and Help Desk/customer services. Developed in cooperation with the Atlanta SACT Business Advisory Council, this training  is projected to satisfy the greatest employment needs in the Atlanta area.

The SACT continually accepts scholarship applications. Funding is available for those who qualify. Learn more by calling (800) 550-5804 or visit www.cprf.org/training.asp. 


Media note: For more information, contact

Liz Grandin

CPRF public relations

5111 E 21st St N ~ Wichita KS 67208

(316)652-1544 ~ fax (316)652-1526

lizg@cprf.org ~ www.cprf.org 




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