Mohawk Valley Community College’s Daniel Boggs, accessibility services accommodations specialist in the Office of Accessibility Resources, was honored this October as one of six awardees of the annual West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts’ Division of Rehabilitation Services’ (DRS) Ability Works Awards at a ceremony held at the state Culture Center in Charleston, W.Va.
Each year, coinciding with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, six winners from each of the agency’s six districts are chosen from thousands of nominations. Boggs is originally from the state’s Wheeling District, was nominated by his DRS caseworker, and then chosen by an award committee for his exemplary vocational rehabilitation success.
Boggs joined MVCC in February 2017 and helps students with disabilities in a number of ways, including providing transitional support for first-year students and those graduating and moving into the workforce; advocates for them and teaches self-advocacy skills; assists with accommodative testing; and handles alternative textbook format options, classroom-generated notes, and educational programs, workshops, and trainings for faculty, staff, students, and parents.
“It is important for businesses to consider hiring people with disabilities whenever possible, said Tamara Mariotti, coordinator of Accessibility Resources at MVCC. “Dan knows firsthand the services needed through our office and how students should be treated. Unfortunately, 70 percent of people with disabilities on average are not employed. Businesses need to consider the wealth of opportunities people with disabilities bring to the workplace.”
Boggs, who is legally blind, lost his vision as a child due to detached retinas. He became involved with the DRS in high school where they helped provide him with accommodative services and connected him with an organization that teaches self-sufficiency to those who are blind or visually impaired. Boggs went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from West Liberty University and an advanced graduate certificate in disability studies from CUNY School of Professional Studies, and is pursuing a master’s degree in disability services in higher education, also from CUNY School of Professional Studies.