21 03 2008

Difficult job search leads to Web site, career

By Barry Shlachter, Jim Fuquay, Maria M. Perotin Star-Telegram Staff Writers

March 20, 2008

http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/538449.html

Matt Lawrence just wanted a job.

Despite suffering from a disease that makes it difficult to walk, move his hands or even talk, the Longview resident lives alone, takes care of his dog and travels frequently. He even finished college at Steven F. Austin State University.

But landing work after graduation was another ordeal altogether.

“I had a lot of interviews, but it always seemed like they found a reason not to hire me,” said Lawrence, who was diagnosed with dystonia as a boy.

As his job search floundered, Lawrence decided that if nothing panned out, he’d try to launch a Web site to connect disabled job hunters with prospective employers. Then he interviewed in 2006 at Longview-based telecommunications firm NetworkIP.

The executive there asked: If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?

Lawrence shared his idea. Soon, he had both a job and a backer for the Web site.

NetworkIP helped Lawrence, who’s now 29, to create JobEnable.com.

The site, which went live in November, has about 70 active job postings. So far, the company says it has served about 250 job seekers and 30 employers.

Lawrence runs the site and helps with outreach efforts to employers.

“My whole goal is to help as many people who want to get a job to be able to get one,” he said. “It is really kind of amazing to see my idea turn into a national company that is going to help a lot of people.”

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