PITTSBURG — Students with disabilities learned about appearance, attitude, interview preparation, the perils of social media and other valuable resources for workplace and college success on Monday at the the eleventh annual Disability Mentoring Day at the Memorial Auditorium.
Pittsburg Mayor Michael Gray also proclaimed Wednesday, November 29, 2017 as Disability Mentoring Day.
Wesley House Family Stability Case Manager and DMD Chair Lou Ann Colyer said the event was created to help students with various disabilities understand they do not have to stay at home and wait for a check.
If they have skills and goals they would like to achieve there are services in Crawford County and in the state of Kansas which will help them succeed, she said.
“We are doing this to help high school students — and some adults with disabilities — to introduce them to businesses and colleges to show they can work and can further their education … a lot of them have never been told they can go to school, college or work,” she said.
Also part of DMD, Southeast Kansas Interlocal Special Education Coordinator Jessica Crager said SEK Interlocal and events like DMD help remove the barriers students with disabilities face.
Girard High School Tenth Grader Mikah Harding said he learned about what attitudes employers are looking for.
“I found a positive attitude doesn’t just mean a lack of complaining … they [employers] base it not only lack of complaining, but visible discontent — it all matters,” he said.
Harding hopes to find a career in technology and have his own business.
Fort Scott Community College Cosmetology students and representatives shared about the importance of well kept nails and hair and they also painted the students’ nails if they wished and university and community college representatives shared about student accommodations and career options with the students.
“It is all about evening the playing field for students,” Pittsburg State University Student Accommodations Coordinator Nicole Dublin said.
The students also traveled to the Southeast Kansas Career and Technical Education Center of Crawford County to learn about trades they can learn.
Other organizations such as New Hope Special Olympics, Pre-Employment Transition Services with the Kansas Department for Children and Families and management care providers informed the attendees of their programs.
Businesses at booths had mock interviews and gave students information on how to do well.
Hampton Inn & Suites Sales Manager Ginger Cawley said there are various jobs within the inn and other businesses that fit many people's skill sets regardless of their disability.
Uniontown High School Eleventh Grader Brenda Sweat said the Coffeyville Community College booth sparked her interest in becoming an emergency medical technician or a certified nursing assistant and Wednesday was the first time at a mock interview.
“It was very helpful,” she said. “I’ve never done that before.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.