Local businesses offer high schoolers, college students opportunity
The Disability Action Center (DAC) Northwest in Moscow is offering high school and college students with disabilities in the Moscow and Pullman area the chance to explore career opportunities and potentially get a job with local businesses Thursday.
Aerius Franklin, an independent living advocate at the DAC, started the annual Career Mentoring Day in 2012. He said partnering with local business owners to help disabled students land their dream job or learn more about what they want to do is a very rewarding experience.
“My staff and I are always thrilled to allow these students to get a firsthand look at what they want to do,” Franklin said. “We find a lot of business owners here that are always very accommodating and willing to give them a job.”
He said career opportunities vary based on each individual and their interests after college.
“Everybody is different here,” Franklin said. “If someone enjoys bioengineering we would then partner up with the University of Idaho and they would get to work with numerous bioengineering professors.”
He said before students can jump into a job, they have to spend part of the day going through the hiring process.
“Our main goal is to help students build independent life skills,” Franklin said. “Though they get to choose their career field, they have to treat this seriously too.”
Students must fill out an application and go through an interview to better prepare them to enter the work force on their own, he said. This year there are over 20 students exploring numerous fields such as baking, mechanical engineering, welding and Habitat for Humanity.
“The interests of all of these students are very spread out and it’s a fun thing to see,” Franklin said. “We don’t typically have this much variation but we were able to match everyone up with businesses in the area.”
The career day is open to anyone ages 16 to 24, and the DAC wants attendees to have fun, Franklin said. However, they also have to be performing well in school and show a professional attitude.
“First of all, these students need to make sure they are in good academic standing with their school,” he said. “Secondly, we want them to enjoy their time here but they also have to show us they are taking this experience seriously.”
Franklin said he sees this program continuing for many years to come. The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Fairfield Inn in Moscow.