Penn State Professor To Share HIV Research at White House
Penn State associate professor of counselor education Liza Conyers will share her expertise on HIV and workforce development at a special White House meeting today.
Conyers recently completed a study showing that those with HIV who used vocational rehabilitation had better outcomes related to the National HIV/AIDS strategy. Vocational rehabilitation is a process that allows those with certain disabilities to thrive in the workplace.
“My efforts are to try to figure out how we can coordinate services among federal agencies, to ensure that people with HIV/AIDS who need vocational rehabilitation services are getting them,” Conyers said in a press release.
The vocational rehabilitation system mandates that 15 percent of funding for vocational rehabilitation has to be targeted toward youths. Conyers said she understands why that regulation is in place, but is concerned that no additional funds are being provided to meet the needs of adults with chronic illnesses.
“Many people might still think, ‘Oh, why would people with AIDS work?’ because they may hear AIDS and think somebody’s dying. And on the other hand some people may be reading the popular media and saying, ‘If they’re taking drugs there’s no problem,’” Conyers said. “HIV, like all chronic or episodic illnesses, can lead to significant disruptions to vocational development, and not everybody responds to treatment the same way. It’s a very, very complex challenge.”
Conyers will present her work with White House officals as they discuss the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will go into effect in July and looks to “help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy,” according to its website.
This won’t be Conyers’ first time at the White House. In August, she attended a strategic meeting there to discuss altering the National HIV/AIDS strategy. She also spoke at a White House summit on HIV and aging in 2010.