On the Job

Record Number of Women In Work Force After Birth<@VM>New Keyboard Could Prevent Repetitive Stress<@VM>AMS Employees to Get MBAs From AU

Of the 3.7 million U.S. women who gave birth between July 1997 and June 1998, a record high of 59 percent were working, almost double the 31 percent participation rate of 1976, according to a report released late last month by the Census Bureau.

Among the women with infants, 36 percent were working full time, 17 percent were working part time, and 6 percent were actively seeking work, the Census Bureau found.

In 1998, for the first time since the bureau started recording fertility information in 1976, families with children in which both spouses worked became the majority, at 51 percent, of all married-couple families.A new computer keyboard, developed with financial assistance from the National Science Foundation, could help people with disabilities use computers and also prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Peter McAlindon developed the ergonomic Keybowl with a grant from the NSF's Small Business Research program. Users rest their hands on two domes that slide into eight different positions. In a technique known as chording, users select combinations of positions to enter letters, numbers and commands.

"This design and method have the potential to benefit all typists, including those with temporary or permanent physical disabilities," McAlindon said. That would include carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful wrist condition caused by repetitive motion, according to the NSF. American Management Systems Inc. is giving employees an opportunity to earn a master's degree in business administration from American University's Kogod School of Business at the technology consulting firm's headquarters in Fairfax, Va.

"AMS employees are our company's most valuable assets," said AMS vice president and chief learning officer Karan Powell. "We are excited to offer them a convenient avenue to higher education and personal growth through this partnership with one of the top business schools in the D.C. area."

Classes in the two-year program taught by Kogod faculty will begin in January 2001. The accredited program offers two concentrations: e-commerce and management of global information and technology. Classes will be held Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.

? Gail Repsher Emery

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