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Context: Transition from high school to higher education (e.g. community college/ university)

  • Age: 19

  • Occupation: Seasonal position at a gas station - recent high school graduate

  • Technology level: Comfortable using a smartphone - accustomed to computers at school labs

Michael was never among the popular kids at school and always kept a distance from others kids. Although he had a great performance in Math and Physics, he could hardly pass his other courses. Despite his advisor's concern about Michael’s signs of Asperger’s syndrome, his mom never took an action. He has got a job at a corner gas station right after finishing high school but he wants to do something better with his life. His boss always encourages him to go to a community college and find a decent job.

Michael is not sure if he can afford the tuition or if any school accepts him with his marks. He is also not sure if he can handle the college environment. His best option would be to find a part-time program that offers co-ops placements. However, he is not sure where to find such program or even what program to look for.




Context: Transition from higher education to a job

  • Age: 28

  • Occupation: Recent graduate - looking for job

  • Technology level: Comfortable using computers using assistive technology and screen readers

Sarah is an independent individual with a great sense of determination. Although it took her several years longer than others to finish high school, she did continue her education and entered a community college. She has recently received her professional certificate in accounting, and is actively looking for a job.

Since she needs to use screen readers and customized keyboards and a particular work station, she prefers to work from home as much as possible. However, most accounting firms require staff to be on site, and not all of them are willing to provide the required accommodations for her. Although she knows her job, she lacks the skills that could help her find the right companies/people and pitch her work to them.



Context: Transition from job back to school

  • Age: 38

  • Occupation: Currently unemployed - Used to work as an assistant account in a credit card company

  • Technology level: Comfortable using computers

Lucia is very sincere and hardworking. She has a small group of very close friends and takes time to meet new people and open up. A few years ago, she had an accident, which caused a brain injury and consequently affected her speech. Since then she has been going to speech therapy on weekly basis to fully recover and regain her speech skills.

Lucia took her lay off as an opportunity for a change to do something that involves more physical and real interactions with people. She is looking into social worker training programs but is unsure if her unemployment package would cover her tuition fees. Also she wants a training program that accommodates her speech therapy sessions.



Context: Transition from job back to school

  • Age: 49

  • Occupation: Running a street food truck for the past 15 years.

  • Technology level: Not used to computers/digital technology - Using an old blackberry phone

Patrick is a fun, loving person who enjoys interacting with people. He has made many friends over the years and many customers who love to chat with him regularly. He was diagnosed with Parkinson a few years ago and is undergoing physiotherapy and occupational therapy several times per month. 

He dreams of opening up a restaurant one day but feels he lacks the business skills to do so. He has been searching for an affordable and part-time entrepreneurial training program at the community colleges in the city. Besides time and money and his gradual loss of fine motor skills, he is very concerned about these programs being heavily dependent on the use of technology.



Context: Transition of a worker back to the job market

  • Age: 52

  • Occupation: Currently unemployed - Used to work for a textile factory as a machine operator

  • Technology level: Not used to computers/digital technology - Using a flip phone

Jamie had spent more than half of his life in that textile factory and seeing it get closed and all his friends let go had a huge impact on him. He felt very isolated, depressed and insecure for a while. But high life expenses pressured him to put himself together and start looking for a new job.

His daughters are helping him to write up a resume, and he is handing them out to all the local stores, factories, and businesses. He feels that he is already too old for many jobs and also his lack of experience with computers doesn’t help his situation. Last week, he had an interview for a cashier position. Even Though he was wearing his glasses, he couldn’t see the register’s screen and had to get close to it, and had to spend so much time finding the right keys on the keyboard. He sees many obstacles on his path to start over.

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