The History of the Resume

In 1482, purportedly Leonardo Da Vinci created the first resume; though scholars debate, rather heatedly to this day, whether it was a resume or a cover letter?  Perhaps this was the first time someone struggled with the dilemma of a one page resume or two?

Sometime later, a vainglory English Lord traveling the countryside distributed a document summarizing his accomplishments to the people he met.  Perhaps this was the first time people were spammed?   In any case, this rather hubristic English Lord called the handwritten parchment “resume,” which is French for summary.  How pompous right?  An English guy using a big French word, sheesh!

Time ticks and we fast forward to the 1930’s, and the “resume” is now scribbles on scraps of paper during face to face interviews.  Then in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the resume becomes a standard and a requirement to applying for jobs.  The resume would have been completed on a typewriter.  Can you imagine typing some 25 copies to send out to potential employers?  For those of you who are not acquainted with the joy of typewriters, let me just share with you a few of things I miss:  The capital letter does not align with lower case letters, keys sticking resulting in letters piling on top of each other, there is no spellcheck, and heaven help you if you make a mistake because there is no backspace.  My fingers hurt just thinking of those typewriting days!

But thank goodness for the 1980’s and Microsoft.  They created sample templates to be used with a word processor, leaving the typewriter out of work.  Experimentation starts and some high school students used VHS tapes to record a visual resume to accompany college applications.  In addition, the resume, while still fairly standard in its presentation, now has delivery method options of its creator’s work of art to prospective employers; first through fax machines, and later through electronic mail (email).

With the advent of the Internet, job seekers can both send and post their resumes, allowing them to reach not just a select few but the entire world, giving job seekers unprecedented visibility and leverage.  Monster and Career Builders are some of the first pioneers bringing together job seekers and employers through the worldwide web.

Quill pens made way to scribbles on scraps of paper, scribbles made way to the typewriter, and the invention of the word processor improved the process considerably.  Experimentation with VHS tapes made their way to people posting “You Tube” videos of personal recorded resumes.  Writers and publishers, not wanting to miss out on a revenue opportunity, began to stock shelves of “how to look for a job” books and accompanying materials; in fact, there is a whole aisle dedicated to this, aptly named the “self-help” aisle.  And now with the explosion of the Internet, one can find articles on employment advice, interview advice, sample resume and cover letters, networking, etc. etc.  All with the goal of helping people Land-A-Job.

Next blog:  Drafting a resume and the different types of resumes

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) - LandAjob, a division of NTI, Inc., which also includes NTI at Home and The Staffing Connection celebrates with those that are committed to working with employers and Americans with Disabilities! 

Expect, Employ and Empower.

The Over 50 Job Search

Looking for a job at any age is hard and looking for a job over 50 isn't an easy task.  A look at the percentage of those who are disabled in the United States shows that almost 64% are over the age of 50.

For those of us over 50, we probably hoped for one place to work for our entire career, promoting and helping a company become successful.  And when we were ready to retire, we would get a cake and a gold watch.  Well things have changed over the last 20 years!

That isn’t to say that some of us may have decided to try something new or find ourselves in a position to look for work due to an illness or another cause beyond our control.

If you are in the position of thinking of going back to work and over 50 year old, how do you overcome all the potential obstacles?

The first thing to do is to take an inventory, what do I want to do for work?  What am I good at, what are my strengths?  You want to get a sense of the type of work you want to gravitate to and decide if you have the education and skill sets to impress a potential employer.  Some people have trouble “tooting their own horn” but this is essential to the job search!  You want to be able to accentuate the positive, not only to a future employer but to yourself.  As Senator Al Franken’s Saturday Night Live alter personality; Stuart Smalley used to say’s: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me.”

Many people looking for work can find themselves rolling out the obstacles to success, and in some ways find the whole process too much work.  Unfortunately, finding work is a laborious task that most of us don’t want to do.  It isn’t easy making this a fun process, especially if you aren’t naturally outgoing.

It is pretty easy to sit behind a computer screen and send out resumes and complete on-line applications, it’s anonymous.  It doesn’t take someone out of their comfort zone.  But sending out your resume on-line is usually not one of the most effective ways to land-a-job.

Networking with people you know and even those you have not yet met, is still the most successful way to find work.

Eeeeek!  That means you may have to talk with people.  This can be something outside many of our comfort zones.  It is usually good to start with people you know.  Just have a conversation about going back to work with a friend or family member, someone you trust or respect their opinion.

  • What pointers could they offer? 
  • Do they know of a place that is hiring and would have something that is of interest to you?
  • Would they mind helping you practice your “networking pitch” to others that are distant acquaintances?

When you have become more comfortable, would you be willing to attend a job fair?  Would you have developed the confidence to talk about yourself, promote your strengths?   Are there “job clubs” in your area? Job Clubs can offer support (you are certainly not alone) and even the ability to refine and practice your job search techniques.

Engage with people.  Show your personality!  You may meet new friends.  Be careful not to “overshare.” Listening is just as important as talking, especially if it is in an interview setting.  Remember to keep it professional.  A ten minute conversation about your cat sitting in the window to bask in the sunlight could be a turn off unless the person you are speaking to is a cat lover as well.

Avoid going through the motions.  This is something that will instantly turn off a potential contact and/or a future employer.  People can sense this pretty quickly.  You should research the company.  Today, you may even be able to research the person conducting the interview.  Prepare and practice (even if it is in front of a mirror.)

What are they looking for from this contact and what can you offer them?  If it is a job interview, you can offer them an employee who will do the necessary work so they do not have to worry about it, ask good questions.  Remember you will want to be sure it is a good fit for you too.

This is hard, but not impossible.  You may have to overcome your personal obstacles.  If you are honest about your abilities and you have a realistic plan in place, finding a job can be done.  Learn from the process.  If you happen to think you were stumped by an interview question, prepare in case you are asked that question again.  Don’t get discouraged.  Each interview is at the very least a chance to practice. 

Celebrate the chance to talk about yourself, meet new people and when you land the next job, let your new adventure begin!

Solution Challenge: Hundred Dollar Arm

It's National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so I thought we would start off the month by helping a few who can use some extra help get employed.
Unfortunately, many of you know of someone who has suffered a stroke, paralysis, or does not having the ability to use their hands like they used to. No one can ever prepare to be disabled, but maybe we can help enough so that person can move on with their lives.
I work for a non-profit called NTI that Americans with Disabilities obtain work at home jobs in the Call Center and Help Desk industries. My ongoing goal is to help everyone who requests our services. However, I have a major challenge I thought you can help with: how can we help individuals who have limited use, or no use, of their hands to be able to pass a typing test? A loss may have been due to a stroke, amputation, paralysis, or other physical disability.
The Scenario:
One of the key criteria our NTI clients require is for a candidate to be able to pass a typing test and successfully type at least 30 words per minute while talking to a customer over the phone. Many of our candidates are able to pass this test and move on to a successful position within a Fortune 500 Call Center or Help Desk. Some, however, due to their inability to use their hands for typing, do not pass, and we try to help them in other positions as they may or may not become available.

We’ve put various methods in place to help with the success of our candidates to reach the 30 word per minute goal. These methods include a Speed Building Course and the One-Handed Typing Technique. These are methods that take quite a bit of effort, time and investment on the part of the candidate in order to achieve success. In addition, candidates have asked if they could use DragonSpeak, Dictate or a Relay Service. The logistic issue with these methods is that a representative would need to pause with the customer, dictate the information, and then come back online to continue talking with the customer again. This leads to an awkward pause for the customer. Try it next time you are in the store. Start up a conversation with the clerk behind the counter, but pause before you say anything back by 10 seconds. The situation becomes very uncomfortable and the clerk will be soon wishing you left and never came back.
A Potential Method:
I typically find that your best solutions to service challenges don’t often come from the industry you are working in. When I started in the field of video production 20 years ago, teleprompters and light kits were very expensive. Therefore, to save money, I would find myself at a Home Depot over the weekend talking to a sales associate saying, “I need a piece of aluminum that bends this way and has an opening at the end that would fit this.” He would take me to a part of the store that had something similar and we would make it fit. I think the same case scenario applies here.
I thought of a way to get someone through the typing test with using just one hand, and how an individual with limited use of both hands could do it. My thought was to employ a dual monitor concept where an Ipad or Windows Surface with a touch interface would serve as the second monitor. On that second monitor, you would have a Swype type of keyboard enabled. Swype-ing on the second monitor would allow a user to complete the words with one finger as it auto-populated the words. The software I would use to extend my desktop across the two monitors is Splashtop Personal Edition. In the following , you can see how easy it is to extend your desktop across monitors by following the steps shown.

Unfortunately, the way I intended to use Swype as my virtual keyboard did not work as planned. Therefore, I decided to use TouchPad Keyboard, which is similar to Swype and seems to be the only solution for my needs.
Strike 1: Downloading Splashtop: I found it extremely difficult to gain access to the Microsoft Store to download Splashtop. It took about 45 minutes to log in, and then continuously encountered errors during the entire process. This provoked my colleagues to say, maybe they have this on iTunes or the Play Store. Bingo! I finally was able to download it with much less interruptions and frustration.

Strike 2: Microsoft Surface is Second to None:
 As my colleague looked on, the first trial of my concept was disastrous. It took roughly an hour to configure Splashtop between my Microsoft Surface and my laptop. Splashtop connected just fine and as directed. The issue was that Microsoft Surface refused to be the secondary monitor that ran the Touchpad Keyboard. I was unable to get the laptop monitor to be the primary and the Microsoft Surface to act as the secondary monitor.
Strike 3: What You See Isn't Always What You Think: The makers of Touchpad Keyboard must be special effect masters. Through the video shown here, they make it look easy to use and install. I think I had more of a chance jumping to the moon without a running start. The program which is not installable in your native language, was extremely difficult to configure; and once the program was set up, it didn't work as promised.
Well, my potentially workable solution was a fail, but I think the concept is still a good one. Unfortunately, the existing technology does not compliment it very well. On another bad note, if this did work, I could imagine the amount of frustration a candidate would have with the download, setup and successful installation of such a solution. Could you imagine taking another hour and a half setting up your computer for work everyday to accomplish this and not know if it would consistently work?
The Contest
Therefore, I open it up to my colleagues, you, to take this challenge posed by NTI: How do we help individuals who have impairments with their hands be part of the workplace again? We are asking you to come up with a user friendly tech method to help people type and successfully pass the typing test without compromising their patience and their computer.
If you can come up with the best method to meet this challenge, or come up with an alternative method for a Windows PC to accomplish what I was trying to do with a touchscreen device, here is what you will get:
  1. Gift Cards (Everyone Likes Money)
    • $100 American Express Card for the Best Proven Method for Success (1 Winner)
    • $75 American Express Card for the Next Runner Up (1 Winner)
    • $50 American Express Card for the 3rd Runner Up (1 Winner)
Note: Alternatively, you can donate your prize money to help Americans with Disabilities who need equipment to do work at home positions. If you choose this alternative, I will personally match the amount won. (You can only win once during this contest)
  1. Accolades to the individual who solved the problem by mentioning your name on the Website, in our Newsletter for Candidates, as well as in my Next Post.
  2. The gift of helping individuals who suffered a stroke, paralysis, amputation, or other physical disability the chance at being part of the workplace once again.

Here are the stipulations of what we need the solution to do:
  1. Work with a Windows PC which is a client requirement
  2. Have a Swype type of functionality that would allow the user to type
  3. Have the largest monitor the main monitor. Keep in mind that they need a 17” or larger monitor to succeed.
  4. Have a documented process that can be replicated and easily implemented.
  5. Can be used with multiple touchpad devices such as Ipad, Microsoft Surface or other device.
  6. It needs to be an inexpensive solution. Many on disability cannot afford a pricey program or device so that needs to be taken in consideration.

Once you come up with a solution, which includes documentation to replicate the solution, email it to me at with the subject heading Contest. Keep in mind, by submitting your solution, you will give NTI the rights to use it in NTI’s efforts to help others. The contest will end on November 30th, 2014.
I’m really hoping we can make this happen. If it does, I will make a personal effort to call every person who has interacted with NTI and had difficulty with the typing test due to their disability to tell them that there is a solution and tell them “Yes!” we want you to be a part of gaining employment again.
As an endnote, if you can’t figure out the answer, you can help by reposting it on your timeline or to a group you belong to. Perhaps someone from your inner circle of can think of a great solution.

Update: The title of this article was changed from "Solution Challenge: I Dare You! Make Me Say Yes and It Could Lead to $100." to "Hundred Dollar Arm."
You can continue to follow the NTI evolution as we will be posting updates to this article as well as the experiments to bring a re-evolution to NTI Technology to life on@technology_nti at Twitter.
Connect with me on LinkedIn at
Link in at the NTI Blog at
Mike Sanders is the Senior Director of Talent Management Services for NTI where he oversees the Training, Call Center, and Recruiting departments. In the past, Mike was the Manager of Training for Canon North America, worked for a few Financial Firms, and has built Interactive media, Websites and Learning Management Systems for several Fortune 500 firms and start-ups.

A Reflection on Leadership Legacy - Warren Bennis

Over the course of the past few weeks, we've heard about the tragic losses of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. These events overshadowed the passing of another great thinker who globally shaped the leaders to their learning organizations, Warren Bennis. As an author of over 30 booksBennis defined how people become leaders, how they lead, and how organizations respond to leadership. After studying leadership for six decades, Warren advanced the empirical and theoretical foundation of leadership and set the course for future leadership studies.
Back in graduate school, I developed a group problem solving model for my thesis and read and integrated many of the concepts of Bennis. I was particularly fascinated by his concept surrounding the Transformative Leadership approach and how leadership is grounded in a relationship. In order for the concept of leadership effectiveness to occur, you must have three things: a leader or leaders, a common achievable goal and the followers who believe in the mission. A leader, in order to invent themselves and have others to follow, must have the right combination of experience, self-knowledge, and personal ethics. In my thesis research, I found a correlation that if a problem solving model was to be utilized, leadership and the strength of the leader, goal, and followers was integral to a successful implementation. If a follower believed in a meaningful task as instructed by the leader, the objective would be achieved quicker and with a higher quality of results as opposed to a leader who described the task with less stringent guidelines and parameters. This research aligned closely with the concepts behind the path–goal theory of leader effectiveness.
About a year after I graduated, I worked for a company that built software to create interactive streaming media solutions. Our organization was contracted by the MIT Sloan School of Management to conduct a video shoot and build an interactive presentation to engage alumni. Jay Forrester, Arnoldo Hax, Glenn Urban, Ken Morse, Edgar Schein, and Warren Bennis were some of the presenters in attendance over the course of the day. I had just spent the past 5 years digging through multiple libraries across the United States to read their journal articles and other works. For myself, it was a thrilling moment to meet the minds behind the words.
One of the works I found fascinating by Bennis was a book called “Leaders: Strategies for Taking Change,” which offers insight on the qualities of various U.S. leaders. Through the research Bennis conducted, he found key attributes that successful leaders possessed, such as the management of attention, meaning, trust, and self.
Attention through Vision
Each leader possessed a vision that could be translated into action and sustained. They must be able to engage their followers with their message. As seen with many political campaigns, through vision and beliefs, followers believe in the goals and mission and treat them as if they were their own.
Meaning through Communication
Leaders know what they want and how to communicate it in order to gain support. The leaders Bennis observed possessed the ability to effectively communicate and demonstrate the ability to leverage metaphors, analogies, illustrations to build self-knowledge, trust, optimism, hope, and emotion toward the goals and mission.
Trust through Positioning
Bennis also found that amongst successful leaders a consistency of trust was a key element that served as a binding agreement between a leader and follower. Each leader must have a set of morals and principles that will guide their followers and make critical decisions.
Management of Self
Self-management was a common trait amongst leaders. The leaders that Bennis analyzed focused on sustaining lifelong learning and building their knowledge, skills, and abilities to wield success. Learning from adversity, builds the mind and challenges an individual to take calculated risks while committing to challenges.
Through the research Bennis conducted, he also found that a leader is a pragmatic dreamer with an achievable and attainable goal. Each follower involved in that dream must buy into the concept and provide a genuine contribution to the effort. Collectively, in order to problem solve to achieve the goal, they must be able to achieve the autonomy and become independent in order to successfully achieve their work. Leadership is open for all to attain and the best leaders turn followers into leaders.
If alive today, Bennis surely would have surely analyzed the dynamics behind emerging leaders within the Market Basket Story where Arthur T. Demoulas was ousted by a board controlled by his cousin and chief rival, Arthur S. Demoulas. In turn, Steve Paulenka, the former Market Basket facilities supervisor, organized a protest against Market Basket in support of bringing back the former CEO Arthur T. Leaders emerged through Demoulas 
strong belief in his message, leadership and support of his followers. In turn, his followers became the leaders supporting the goal and mission that Arthur T. believed in. Through the tenacious efforts of Market Basket employees and the thousands of customers who supported them, the mass followers supported the beliefs and the goal was achieved.
Leaders in the future will need to have the capabilities of strong emotional intelligence and cognitive abilities to leverage multiple points of view. Adaptive capacity and the ability to be resilient and creative, leading to new solutions, will be critical considering the influx of digital influence and information acquisition.
In the words of Bennis, “Leadership is not so much the exercise of power as the empowerment of others. Leaders lead by pulling rather than by pushing; by creating achievable, challenging expectations and rewarding progress toward them, rather than by manipulating; by enabling people to use their own initiative.”
NTI recently instituted a tuition reimbursement program to help to give back to our employees who want to strive to learn more and integrate it back into their own lives. Like Bennis, I’m a strong advocate of applied learning. Some of our young managers and front-line employees have been taking courses on Managing Change, Leadership, and Learning and Development. For those who are willing to take the challenge, I meet with them to discuss their class, their assignments, projects, and lectures to see how we can integrate the methodologies into our population of in-house and remote employees. The belief is to support their knowledge, career, and become industry experts while helping out the organization and the people within it. The goal is to build a leader, not a better manager or boss.
Even though Bennis has passed on, his concepts, beliefs and research have extended through the writings and actions of MacGregor, Edgar Schein, Jack Welch, Barbara Kellerman, Chris Turner, Jean Lipman-Blumen, John Kotter, Rudy Giuliani, Paul Stoltz as well as you and I. Leadership is a skill that can be developed by ordinary people, and through my management practices, I hope to empower others in hope that they apply it in their everyday world.
As an end note, I pose a few questions. From a global perspective, what do you see are the major common trends that are affecting your leadership abilities, ability to gain followers or the building of a common goal? Any ideas on how to build leaders when facing these issues?
Bennis, Warren, and Nanus, Burt. Leaders: Strategies for Taking Change. 2nd ed. New York: Collins, 2003.
Mike Sanders is the Senior Director of Talent Management Services for NTI where he oversees the Training, Call Center, and Recruiting departments. In the past, Mike was the Manager of Training for Canon North America, worked for a few Financial Firms, and has built Interactive media, Websites and Learning Management Systems for several Fortune 500 firms and start-ups.

Recap of the 2014 Design4Drupal Conference

In between helping candidates get new jobs at NTI, I ended up taking a break and heading to my coding roots. In the past, I’ve developed and implemented several Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Fortune 500 companies, built interactive media, and constructed many a website using .NET, Java, Javascript, and Rails. I have to say I miss it, but still use Moodle and Java quite a bit. Last week, one of my friends suggested I attend the Design4Drupal Boston 2014 conference in order to know the community a bit more (for coding, not recruiting). After seeing the website, I was intrigued to learn more and signed up a few moments later.

The last time I touched Drupal was for a client a few years back and haven’t had the chance to touch it since. I thought since I’m currently working on revamping the LMS and the website interface for it, why not attend, update my skill set and meet some people who actively engage with Drupal. Let’s just say I enjoyed the results.

The sessions mainly focused on the UX aspect of Drupal, from beginner to advance. There was many a lecture as well as hands-on aspects that entertained every level of experience. New ideas were abound and ways to push the product toward efficiency were debated. It was a community experience that even though I was away from home a bit, I was welcomed back again. I also lucked out since every session I attended brought forth some concepts that could immediately be applied back into the workplace.

The first session I attended was focused on rethinking UX research by Christine Perfetti. Senior Director of User Experience of Acquia. A prolific speaker who engaged and challenged the audience into thinking about the best practices for successfully evaluating and improving websites from a MacGyver frame of mind. A very timely topic as my manager emailed me a few minutes earlier looking for some criteria surrounding UAT testing for a Knowledgebase NTI is implementing this week. As I furiously took notes, I thought about how I could conduct the research with remote candidates through observation and instantly it was integrated into our plan.  Thus far, it has become a key element to changes to the system.

Christina Inge presented a very passionate lecture on understanding clients. When I heard her speak, it bridged the gap between the clients wants, needs and the designer. Enaging the audience, she provided the tools to drive smoother communication, project management, and how to handle the tough issues. Extending on the same root concepts, John Picozzi and Dave McKinley from Oomph discussed the trials and tribulations of client needs and how Drupal has become a mainstake in the business. They went on to discuss giving back to the Drupal community through involvement, Module development, and evangelizing the tools that have helped out so many designers and developers.

Since I haven’t touched Drupal since Drupal 5, I thought it would be fantastic to get a hand-on approach as a reminder of what Drupal could bring to the table. Christopher Wells, John Paul McNeal and Patrick Corbett of Redfin Solutions leveraged the Acquia Dev Desktop as well as to show to beginners and intermediates how to start up your own site. The 2-hour, hands-on workshop guided me and my fellow classmates through how the Acquia Desktop. The team from Redfin was very knowledgeable, patient, and resourceful as they guided the group to success. I found myself getting acclimated to the Acquia Desktop and transferring my knowledge from Moodle, SumTotal Systems, Eclipse Workbench and the .NET Framework to this new tool. I simply loved it, found it intuitive to use and was able to build an internal microsite during the class. As I investigated the site, I found a few ways to link Moodle and Drupal. Off to the lab to expand on my creation!

The second day of the conference was compelling and served up with lectures regarding the user experience, layout design patterns, design systems as well as one topic that surrounds NTI’s area of expertise, the accessibility experience.

The keynote speech was headed wholeheartedly by content strategist Steve Fisher who leveraged his conversation with the audience to welcome them into his world. Sharing the visual imagery and cynical humor surrounding his family using hula-hoops, to zombie attacks, and kissing dogs, Steve segued into how to connect the mind and heart when creating the vision behind a web project and allow for creativity. A compelling lecture to go out there and create and drive for the future.

One of the things that struck me during this conversation with Steve was his demonstration of the Lend-an-Eye App, which serves as somewhat of a seeing eye dog for visually impaired individuals. NTI helps individuals with disabilities strive to gain successful employment. It’s always a challenge getting everyone through our training due to the disability. Not only did Steve provide motivation through his speech, but also just helped out a few hundred visually impaired individuals get through our training programs at NTI. Thanks Steve!

Steve set the pace for the day as I experienced layout designs in the following session with John Ferris from the Aten Design Group. John leveraged his knowledge of CSS and Grid Frameworks to prevent the common layout issues from occurring. Using applied examples, John was able to showcase to the audience intrinsic ratios and coding for success. In fact, that night I changed some code on the site to reflect what he taught. Through his
technique, John was able to provide knowledge that I can automatically leverage in building my interface for my next Learning Management System.

I met up again with Christopher Wells from Redfin Solutions regarding a session on front-end performance. By sitting in on the session, I was able to plan out the execution of my next site a little more methodically. Chris provided some ideas surrounding when to use scripts only when you need it and how adding inline Javascript and jQuery can save some valuable load time. He even reintroduced a trick that I haven’t used during my Macromedia Director days, which is the use of sprites, one single file with multiple images on it and then leveraging positioning to show the correct image. Chris definitely provided some thought on how I will approach my next project and reducing load time.

As a common issue with over 400 Americans with Disabilities coming through our doors on a weekly basis, I had to go to Dan Mouyard’s presentation on the Accessible Experience and Designing for Everyone. However, I was interested in the sessions for Twig and Kalabox as well. I’m still happy I attended Dan’s session. Dan engaged the audience with visual imagery and hands-on exercises to discuss what it is like to for a disabled individual to experience the web on mobile and desktop devices. He further addressed the considerations that should be made when developing your design for the masses.

I followed Dan’s presentation with a session by Erik Baldwin from CLoud NYNE Design on Twig Prototyping with D8’s REST API. I thought it was great conversation surrounding a method of rapid prototyping. I found Twig fairly easy to learn and flexible enough to implement.  Twig definitely makes the code more digestible. Through the conversation with the audience, I think Erik chose well to present on such a topic and determine ways to prototype in a more efficient.

In my final session of the day, I headed to ''Responsive Javascript'' where Rob Bayliss of Last Call Media spoke of issues which I can see dawning in my near future. Managing a disabled population, NTI has different needs depending on the disability of the individual. Sometimes an individual may need to work off of a mobile device or with a combination of a desktop and a mobile device. I’ve always found it difficult as Rob imparted some knowledge on how to leverage Javascript to create designs that are more responsive.

Unfortunately, I could not attend the third day of the conference due to a prior commitment, but did attend the after party Saturday night at General Assembly where I met quite a nice group of talented individuals from a variety of professions. I’m looking forward to my next conference and contributing to the community. Time well spent and was happy to be a part. 

You can continue to follow the NTI evolution as we will be posting updates to this article as well as the experiments to bring a re-evolution to NTI Technology to life on @technology_nti at Twitter.

Mike Sanders is the Senior Director of Talent Management Services for NTI where he oversees the Training, Call Center, and Recruiting departments.  In the past, Mike was the Manager of Training for Canon North America, worked for a few Financial Firms, and has built Interactive media, Websites and Learning Management Systems for several Fortune 500 firms and start-ups.

What is LandAjob?

LandAjob is an employment network, working within the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program.  As a division of NTI, Inc., we have been working with Americans with Disabilities since 1995.

LandAjob works with Ticket to Work beneficiaries in a few different ways:

First, if you are someone who is currently working, LandAjob can provide beneficiaries who meet certain earning criteria, work related reimbursements up to $9,000 over a three to five year period depending on which Federal benefit they receive.

The approved reimbursements for work related expenses can cover items such as:
  • Transportation (gas, car payments, rides to work, car repair to name a few)
  • Business related clothing
  • Child Care or Elder Care
  • On-going Education and/or employment training to help you become more marketable
  • Computer and/or cell phones if used for work
  • Personal Care Assistance
  • Job Coaching
  • Medicines not covered by insurance that are needed to stay working
The reimbursement program does not include expenses related to food or shelter.

Secondly, LandAjob can help individuals who are searching for work.  We provide a large employment database that is searchable by zip codes.  You can also use your location and keywords found on job descriptions that might pertain to your experience or interest.  The employment database also provides a listing of Federal contractors who are being asked to interview and hire more individuals with disabilities this year, along with non-Federal contractors who have a mission to hire more people with disabilities.

LandAjob can also provide additional resources for searching for a job.  A LandAjob Representative would be glad to discuss those resources in more detail if you are interested in hearing about these other possibilities.

Lastly, LandAjob also offers self-paced study courses on creating resumes, interview skills, career planning and how to have success on the job once you have landed one!  We hope to be adding more course work over the next few months.

For more information, please visit our website or call our office, toll free, 855-245-8991.

Invigorating the Classroom through a Transmedia Infusion

NTI has been experimenting with innovative ways to increase the retention of knowledge, return on investment, and engagement, while bridging the gap between a physical real-life classroom and a virtual environment of eclectic interaction. The goal is not only to provide a higher level of interaction for the candidate, but lead to tangible elements that focus on employability, lower attrition, participation, retention of knowledge and higher performance on jobs. The NTI challenge is to provide an environment with these capabilities while attending to the primary audience, Americans with disabilities who are looking for employment in the workforce.

Over the past few years, NTI has put established the NTI University to engage students in the skills necessary to build a career. The NTI classroom is one built on an Adobe Connect platform. Interactions include gamification, puzzles, forums, video, chat, webcam, polling, and quizzing. This is nothing new in the training space when creating an online-classroom. However, what is new is the element of engagement surrounding the restrictions of our candidates. How can one create an interactive classroom for audiences that are sight-impaired, struggle with examinations due to limited mobility, while providing an experience for everyone?

To achieve this, the Training Department has been injecting transmedia in the classroom. Transmedia is the art of illustrating a single story or story experience across multiple media formats in order to invoke a degree of audience participation, interaction or collaboration using digital technologies. The chunks of content that are created over multiple platforms are linked together and then the content is synchronized with each other so a story could be formed.

Since no two students learn alike, the retention of information through various stories allows a student to connect the dots of isolated events and situations. Through the method of transmedia storytelling, a student can take smaller chunks of information that are provided incrementally to form a larger and more cohesive experience. Picture it like a piece of the puzzle. Someone may look at the first piece and realize it is a smaller part of the whole, but does not know where it may initially fit. However, when the puzzle is finished, the completed image surfaces as well as the strategies on how the puzzle was completed. You can even go on to share with others your strategy for completion.

We live in a globally connected world in which we use multiple platforms to connect and communicate. Leveraging social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, or other emerging platforms, a student can share their experiences, perspectives, and resources building upon the transmedia methodology. The sharing allows greater depth to not only their own understanding, but a shared collective intelligence that grasps at the attention of the student. In addition, students can make the content their own while not being impeded by the technology. NTI is slowly unlocking a further depth of engagement by leveraging technologies such as the Popcorn.js platform and HTML5 to deliver stories with transmedia. The NTI Training Department is currently experimenting, testing and evaluating video, multimedia, 3D rendering products, touch tablets, cellphones, and social media elements to orchestrate online classes.

With these tools, students will be able to experience the ability to manipulate the videos and simulation to share, chat, interact, and redesign according to the content needs regardless of disability. It will be predictive as a student correctly or incorrectly interacts with a video. This technique will be demonstrated in NTI’s upcoming “Interviewing for Success” self-paced training, which will be made available to the public. The course will balance social media integration, QR codes, gaming, and hands-on exercises. In addition, by enrolling into the NTI program, students can enable more functionality and unlock new levels of training content. Through engagement, a student can accelerate their career success.

Our end goal is to live the experience and the interpret the story from an individual perspective. In the re-envisioned classroom format, NTI is striving to bring a wide array of multivariate learning experiences to the classroom and is ready to create the next-level experience. Within the class, a student will be allotted more of a chance to create and control their own experience as well as understand the story through their own eyes while leveraging real-world experiences.

You can continue to follow the NTI evolution as we will be posting updates to this article as well as the experiments to bring a re-evolution to NTI Training to life on @elearning_nti at Twitter.

Mike Sanders is the Senior Director of Talent Management Services for NTI where he oversees the Training, Call Center, and Recruiting departments. In the past, Mike was the Manager of Training for Canon North America, worked for a few Financial Firms, and has built Interactive media, Websites and Learning Management Systems for several Fortune 500 firms and start-ups.

Welcome to NTI-Leaders in Placing Americans with Disabilities in Jobs

Welcome to the initial blog posting for the National Telecommuting Institute, Inc (NTI) NTI was founded in 1995 in Boston, Massachusetts. We are a 501(c) (3) nonprofit disability organization. NTI's mission is to identify and develop jobs for Americans with disabilities.

NTI grew out of the efforts of a small group of rehabilitation professionals searching for strategies to find long-term jobs for individuals with disabilities who wanted or needed home-based work. Today, NTI employs over 600 Americans with disabilities in work-at-home jobs. NTI employees work in a variety of home-based positions. Customer service representatives (CSR), help desk and technical support represent the largest group of services we provide. In 2013 we rebranded the work at home division to NTI@Home. At the same time NTI started two new divisions: The Staffing Connection and LandAjob. These two new divisions are focused on placing Americans with Disabilities in on-site positions. (They’ll be more on these two divisions in later posts.)

Over one million Americans in the disability community request government assistance in finding work each year. Yet industry experts estimate that government vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors encounter only 20% of those with disabilities who are seeking work. Implying a total unemployed group numbering approximately 5 million. A survey of state VR counselors reported that 12% of the individuals in their caseloads require home-based work. Again, extrapolating to the estimated 5 million Americans with disabilities who would like to work but are unemployed, this means about 500,000 could benefit from a home-based work option. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that only 12.8% of home-bound individuals actually have full or part-time jobs. So as you can see NTI’s 600 employees is just a start…

So how do we do it? NTI@Home has developed a business model that is powerful and ripe for scaling. The model combines techniques for remote recruiting, eLearning, managing virtual organizations, the latest virtual contact center technologies, and a variety of incentives to encourage contact center employers to "go virtual".

NTI@Home offers high-quality, cost-effective CSR capabilities to organizations desiring to communicate with their customers either over the phone or online. Contact center clients can choose between three different levels of service to work with NTI@Home. Both place members of the disability community in jobs. However, the employer/employee relationship differs in each case. These three levels of service are:

1.    Complete outsourced virtual call center services. NTI@Home provides the technology, people and process to get your virtual contact center team up and running.
2.    A co-employment staffing agency agreement under which NTI@Home and the client are responsible for different aspects of the employer's role. NTI@Home provides complete HR and payroll management for the virtual workforce.
3.    Direct placement, here NTI@Home acts as adjunct staffing agency for contact center employers. Agents placed in this model become an employee of the contact center.

So that’s NTI@Home, we’ll use this blog to discuss virtual technologies, the work-at-home model and to engender discussion around placing more Americans with disabilities in virtual jobs. We at NTI are looking forward to your comments, questions and suggestions.

If it isn’t virtual,
It isn’t real…

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