Disabled students to get help finding employment

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    By Laura Cantera

    At a time when students are struggling to find employment, at least some have a little bit of special help.

    Students with disabilities may find employment when a representative from the government-sponsored Workforce Recruitment Program visits BYU”s campus Jan 31.

    “It”s an excellent opportunity for students with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of a paid internship or full time work that they might not normally get,” said Richard Cox, an advisor at Career Placement Services.

    Any full-time student or recent college graduate with a severe disability qualifies to have their resume sent out across the nation to hundreds of potential employers through the WRP.

    The process is easy. The student simply fills out the necessary forms and schedules a 30-minute interview to meet with a WRP representative.

    Fernando Nunez, 22, a junior from New York City, majoring in business management, was offered a position as a result of the WRP last year. Nunez said the interview went well, with questions aimed at ascertaining his character and what his disability entails.

    Once the interview has been completed, each applicant”s information is put onto a database, Nunez said, and is made available to both government and private agencies.

    “I think it”s a great program,” Gibbons said. “Who wouldn”t want their resume, with one interview, to have their resume out to so many different employers?”

    Participating employers then access the database and independently offer jobs to those who meet the company”s qualifications.

    Only 13 BYU students, however, will participate in the WRP recruitment due to limited resources.

    The WRP rep will recruit at BYU for one day only, limiting the possibility for numerous interviews. The spots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, said Debbie Gibbons, Career Placement advisor.

    Presently, the odds are good because only four people have signed on for an interview thus far. Advisors are hoping for at least eight.

    “We need to get students signed up for this program or we risk not having the people come back to interview,” Cox said.

    If the quota is not met, recruiters will not come at all. BYU students do not want to miss out on this opportunity, Gibbons said.

    This is the second year BYU has participated in the WRP.

    “As soon as we heard about it, we wanted to participate,” Gibbons said.

    Eleven of the 1,500 students who interviewed with the WRP last year, were from BYU and 3 of those were offered employment opportunities.

    Sarah Hartsfield, 24, from Vancouver, Wash., will earn her MPA in April. She is planning to interview with the WRP this month and is excited about the opportunity it may afford her. She said she is inclined toward work in the public sector and if nothing else, hopes this interview will help her gain experience, if not a job.

    “I think it”s (WRP) a good program,” she said. “It”s a great opportunity for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to get a job they might not otherwise have.”

    In preparation for the interview, she said she plans to update her resume.

    Nunez recommends students make themselves as accessible as possible in order to be contacted by potential employers. He recalled that company personnel had a hard time getting in touch with him last year.

    In addition, Gibbons counsels students to “come dressed for an interview, be honest and give the recruiters all the information you can. Students should express their interest and desire to the person who comes on campus.”

    Students seeking further information should visit Career Placement, located in 2410 WSC.

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