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Disability.gov

Online Fundraising Business Solutions Online Report for Educators Solving IT Problems People Connect Relying on Technology Social Security Apply Online Online MBA

Let Disability.gov Guide You To Helpful Information

(NAPSI)—Whether you have a disability or are helping a family member get assistance, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of disability programs and services that are available nationwide. There is a solution for you. Simply visit Disability.gov, the federal government’s website for people with disabilities and their families, to find information across 10 topics: Benefits, Civil Rights, Community Life, Education, Emergency Preparedness, Health, Employment, Housing, Technology and Transportation.

Disability.gov’s “Guide Me” tool makes searching on the site easier by walking visitors through four steps:

Step One: Choose an Audience. Do you have a disability or are you helping someone else?

Step Two: Select a Topic. Do you want to learn how to apply for disability benefits or find a job?

Step Three: Pick a State. Do you want to view resources from your community or another state?

Step Four: Review Your Summary. Review your choices from the three previous steps and decide if you want to see your search results or start a new search.

Please share this information and visit www.Disability.gov to get started! You can also subscribe to email alerts and the Disability Connection newsletter or follow the site on Facebook, Twitter and Disability.Blog.

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A Seamless Approach To Online Fundraising

(NAPSI)—A company known for its home-style foods is helping nonprofit groups add to their fundraising menu.

Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. has introduced a unique online fundraising solution that eliminates many of the frustrations that are often associated with more traditional money-raising methods.

Helping Customers Help Others

The Schwan’s Cares™ fundraising program enables community members to support their favorite causes—such as youth sports teams, nonprofit groups, church projects and other community organizations—while they shop.

A charitable group starts the process by using the program to create a fundraising Web page and run its own fundraising campaign entirely online.

Supporters of the group’s fundraising effort can then visit the page to shop online, selecting from more than 350 of Schwan’s® home-style foods. Their purchases can help the group meet its fundraising goals.

During the typical campaign period—usually about 45 days—fundraising groups will receive 20 to 40 percent of the proceeds from their campaigns’ online sales, plus earn 5 percent on additional purchases from their supporters for the rest of the year.

Supporting Teams And Groups

Since the start of the program in late 2013, more than 1,500 community groups have implemented campaigns, including the Shakopee Girls Fast Pitch Softball Association based in Minnesota, which generated more than $2,700 in funds in its six-week campaign and will continue to earn 5 percent of purchases by its supporters for one year.

Another example, the Washington Rotary Club, part of the Washington, Ill. Chamber of Commerce, is in the middle of raising funds to rebuild local homes and businesses after devastating tornadoes hit the area last fall.

Furthermore, Special Olympics Minnesota kicked off a robust Schwan’s Cares™ campaign in fall 2013.

“Special Olympics Minnesota is excited to be working with [the] Schwan’s Cares™ [program] to raise valuable funds in support of our mission to help people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world in which they compete and live,” said Dave Dorn, president and CEO of Special Olympics.

Along with being promoted in communities nationwide with the purpose of supporting thousands of causes, the Schwan’s Cares™ program has launched with several prominent partners, including USA Hockey and its more than 1 million members, the National Sports Center and its signature global youth soccer event, Schwan’s USA Cup, and the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League (NHL).

A subsidiary of The Schwan Food Company, Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. markets and distributes more than 350 top-quality frozen foods through home-delivery and mail-order services.

To learn more, visit www.schwans-cares.com.

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Technology Is Key For SMBs

(NAPSI)—Regardless of where you work—whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a five-person office—it’s generally understood that with larger budgets comes a more robust selection of office technology. Large enterprises have long been able to purchase high-end devices with features that small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) simply can’t afford.

When choosing technology for your SMB, however, you can think big. Here are three major considerations:

• Enhance your mobile capabilities—In today’s world, business moves fast-whether it’s in the office or on the go. What if you need to print away from your desk? Although mobile printing is growing rapidly on a year-over-year basis, both tablet and smartphone users need help to print from their devices. According to the technology media, events and research company IDC, more than 50 percent of smartphone users and 35 percent of tablet users say they don’t know how to print from their mobile devices. Now, industry leaders are answering the call of the mobile customer. That is why they launched the Mopria Alliance with the goal of promoting, simplifying and increasing wireless printing from mobile devices. Small-business owners can consider the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476, the first Mopria-certified printer for SMBs, which brings enterprise-grade mobile print capabilities to let users print or access content, anytime, anywhere, from any device.

• Invest in security solutions—According to Good Technology, 75.5 percent of companies support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), the practice of using personal mobile devices for work. As this trend is expected to continue, it’s essential that businesses have a comprehensive security and management strategy in place. Make sure to invest in the necessary security solutions to help protect sensitive information sent from mobile devices across your network of printers; for example, secure pull printing, access controls and other authentication measures.

• Increase productivity with workflow solutions—Document workflow solutions are key to improving productivity. Cloud solutions such as HP Flow CM Professional—accessible directly from the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476-bring enterprise-grade content management capabilities to growing businesses, furthering collaboration and productivity for SMBs without forfeiting security. The cloud presents a unique opportunity for SMBs, as 50 percent agree that cloud computing will become more important for businesses like their own. Investing in cloud-based solutions can help streamline processes, improve accessibility, increase flexibility and globalize any workforce.

Learn More: There are many options for SMBs looking for affordable enterprise-grade technology. For more information on HP’s print offerings for SMBs, visit www.hp.com/go/mfp.

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Enlightening Educators

(NAPSI)—There’s an intriguing new way to learn about better teaching and leading in schools worldwide. That’s because a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching and leading has released its latest annual report, titled “The Promise of Leadership: Sustaining Learning, Transforming Teaching.”

The parallax-based Web experience is an animated, interactive journey designed to showcase ASCD’s (the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) programs, products and services.

The site hosts four videos and provides high-level overviews of the association’s membership, constituents, conferences and events.

To show educators that ASCD will support them today and into the future, the site uses the latest in Web trends to invite visitors into an engaging, interactive experience.

The group’s previous Annual Reports have collected accolades such as the Distinction of Merit from the Art Directors Club, two PR News Nonprofit PR Awards, and the American Web Design Award from Graphic Design USA.

You can find it at ar2013.ascd.org and learn more at www.ascd.org.

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Software That Takes A Social Media Approach To Solving IT Problems

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for business and employees who are dependent on desktops, laptops, mobile devices and tablets to get their work done. There’s a new computer application, or app, designed to enable employees to ask for help, get answers to questions, and share information through real-time online messaging, social posts and more.

The app’s designer believes this will help to reduce what it calls the “friction” between workers by changing the way IT interacts with users.

It also believes that using a social media approach to identifying and describing problems and requesting assistance can lead to greater productivity and satisfaction on the part of employees.

According to a recent survey sponsored by the maker of the app, BMC Software, 85 percent of those surveyed have a negative opinion about the time it takes to get a response from their IT department, 82 percent have a negative opinion about the time it takes to get their problem resolved, and 87 percent of employees believe all this has a negative impact on productivity.

The app that it believes can change these attitudes is called MyIT 2.0. It is designed to give employees the power to quickly solve routine technical problems, eliminate frustrating forms, crowdsource answers and information, and visually navigate resources in any organization.

It’s hoped that all this can help workers arrive at a resolution sooner, promote a more satisfying experience, and cut down on “friction” between employees and IT workers.

There are two other new products from the same manufacturer that are also intended to enhance productivity. Like the first, the other two are created to improve employees’ access to problem solving.

One, called Remedyforce, was created to help a business deliver a range of services, from a simple help desk function to transformational digital business services using a fresh, Google-like, mobile-user experience.

It’s intended to provide what are considered “best practices” from a help desk perspective while minimizing costs. Because Remedyforce runs in the cloud, there’s no need to buy servers or manage complicated software. Instead, IT organizations are able to concentrate on bettering their processes and bringing value to the business they serve.

A third product is designed to give employees a choice of apps through a familiar app store experience tailored to a particular business. Employees can individualize their work environments from the curated catalog of apps that their employer publishes in a privately labeled enterprise app store.

The manufacturer believes that by making an array of employer-approved apps available from the cloud, individual flexibility and productivity are enhanced. At the same time, since the IT unit still maintains supervision of business apps, it maintains control of the process and service standards when it comes to problem solving.

Said Kia Behnia, chief technology officer at BMC Software, “Our new products enable IT leaders to fundamentally transform the self-service experience by offering end users a powerful yet intuitive solution rooted in expectations created by Facebook and Twitter.”

To learn more, visit www.bmc.com.

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Now You Can Join A Google Hangout With A Phone Number

(NAPSI)--With many businesses moving into the cloud to streamline and simplify their workday, the idea of an “office” is quickly becoming a state of mind. Meetings are happening remotely, and technology is relied on to connect people and replace traditional conference rooms.

Both video- and audio conferencing make remote communication possible. Together, the simple, free and beautifully designed audio conferencing service, UberConference, www.uberconference.com, and Google’s free video chat platform, Hangouts, www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts, provide the complete conferencing experience.

As the first and only service to integrate an audio conference with Hangouts, UberConference is transforming teleconferencing with its powerful features and compatibility with any device. The service is free and completely eliminates frustrating PIN numbers, simplifying meetings and making them easier to join from anywhere.

Conferencing On The Go

Google Hangouts is used by millions for videoconferencing, but before UberConference, Hangouts wasn’t available to those who didn’t have access to a webcam or Internet connection. In reality, people are constantly in transit during work hours. Not all business calls happen in front of a screen. UberConference and Google Hangouts came together to solve this.

UberConference provides Hangouts users with a dedicated phone number so that the Hangout can be joined from anywhere and via telephone, making everyone more productive while on the go.

“Not having a laptop on hand is no longer a limitation of joining a Hangout,” said Craig Walker, UberConference CEO and co-founder. “We’ve created an entirely new way for people to hold audio conference calls, and Hangouts has done the same for video. The two integrated together deliver a groundbreaking conferencing experience you can’t find anywhere else.”

Invite People To Hangout

Google Hangouts usually allow up to 15 participants in a meeting at a time, but when UberConference is used with Hangouts, up to 100 people can be added to the call by phone.

Easily Control Your Call

With the UberConference integration into Google Hangouts comes powerful call controls—mute noisy callers, record the meeting and even add people on the fly, all with the click of a button. You can see who’s talking at all times thanks to the speaker icon, and also see the social profiles of other callers from LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Adding UberConference To Your Hangout Is Simple

Find and enable the UberConference app in the Hangouts Apps Menu. Once the app is added, the UberConference sidebar will make all UberConference controls available. The Hangout organizer’s UberConference number is always the same, so it can be included in future Hangout invitations.

Learn more at www.uberconference.com/hangouts.

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Learn Why Millions Apply Online For Social Security

(NAPSI)—For millions of people across America, the concept of retirement has changed significantly. “Retiring” used to mean taking it easy. Today, it’s a more active time than ever; a time for new interests, being involved with family and friends, volunteering, and paying attention to being physically and mentally fit.

Retirees live healthier, work longer, and play harder. It’s the new normal. Even the momentous act of applying for retirement benefits—which used to require a visit to the Social Security office—has become more convenient, easier, and faster for busy “retirees.”

Thinking about applying for your benefits? Begin at Social Security’s website—www.socialsecurity.gov. It offers a wealth of services, information, and tools to help you plan for a better retirement. When you are ready, you can apply for benefits online, from home. No appointment, no travel to a busy government office, no worry that you’ve brought all the right paperwork.

The online retirement application is easy to use. In most cases, it will take you less than 15 minutes to complete. You also can save your unfinished work at any point and finish later. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed.

Before you apply, you need to consider several factors. For people born in 1938 or later, “full retirement age” has gradually increased, and for people born after 1959, it is age 67. You can apply for reduced benefits as early as age 62. You also should consider whether you want to work in retirement, health issues, your family’s monetary needs, and future financial obligations. Social Security offers several online tools to help you explore your retirement options.

Regardless of your age, there are advantages to creating a personal my Social Security account. It gives you complete access to your personal information, including your lifetime earnings and estimated retirement, disability, and survivor’s benefits for you and your family. There are advanced security features to protect your privacy. You can have unique text message codes sent to your cell phone each time you sign in.

There’s even an address bar at the top of your screen indicating the website has an extended validation certificate. This means your information will be encrypted and that the website has been verified by a certification authority.

When you receive Social Security benefits, your personal account will be the best way to manage them, enabling you to start or change direct deposit of your payments, get proof of benefits, and more.

More than 7 million people have chosen to retire the fast, convenient, and stress-free way—online. In fact, last year, almost 50 percent retired online. Choose the most convenient option to retire by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.

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Streamline Your Studies With A Personalized, Online MBA

(NAPSI)—Today’s technology means MBA students no longer need to be confined to on-campus, lecture-driven programs—and they’re taking advantage of it.

In fact, a recent study from Babson Survey Research Group reported that 7.1 million students took at least one online course during the fall 2012 term, and 33.5 percent of all higher education students are now taking at least one course online.

With MBA students, the need to be flexible and receive a personalized experience may be particularly important. Often, these students are balancing a job and family, and choose online education because going back to a traditional campus isn’t practical for their schedules. That’s why forward-thinking universities are developing innovative new ways to better serve these students.

“We know that MBA students come to school with knowledge from their prior education and professional experience,” said Dr. Robert Manzer, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at American InterContinental University™ (AIU). “That is why AIU has created the intellipath™-driven MBA, the first MBA program in the U.S. to be delivered by adaptive learning technology.”

Powered by the school’s proprietary adaptive learning technology, the program helps students streamline their studies by assessing and identifying each student’s current understanding of a topic and then tailoring the type and order of the lessons presented to meet that student’s unique needs. This allows students to focus their time on what they need to learn and skip over what they already know, creating a personalized and more efficient learning experience.

“The intellipath-driven MBA respects students’ time and knowledge by tailoring content and lessons to their individual learning needs,” added Manzer.

When looking for an online MBA program, students should consider these five key tips:

• Recognize your experience: If you have prior education or professional experience, use it to your advantage. Look for programs that will make the most of your time by letting you skip over what you already know.

• Efficient approach: Look for a program that tailors your lessons to your needs. AIU’s MBA uses adaptive learning technology to help students focus on what they need to learn, creating a personalized and more efficient experience.

• Expert faculty: Programs taught by industry specialists will give you access to real-world perspective. Review the faculty (and university) credentials before selecting a program.

• Specialized curriculum: You’re going back to school because you want to gain more experience in your field of interest. Look for a program that offers as many courses in your area of specialization as possible, and be sure that learning material is offered in a variety of formats.

• Accredited program: Look for an MBA that has programmatic accreditation, such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) for business programs.

For more information about pursuing an online education, visit www.aiuniv.edu.

Note to Editors: Babson Survey Research Group, http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/grade-change-2013.
AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find employment rates, financial obligations and other disclosures at www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures.

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