Expose, Engage, Empower Happy Hour Recap
On September 28, 2017 the Co-op hosted our first-ever business professional happy hour, Engage, Expose, Empower: Employing Youth with Disabilities to stir up conversation and collaboration! The event was a huge success! Through panel discussion and informal networking, we engaged with community members about the benefits of providing internships to students with disabilities. By the end of the event, four student volunteers on site were offered internship opportunities!
We were thrilled to have had a wide array of community members join us for the event, including: local entrepreneurs, educators, members of DC’s State Advisory Panel on Special Education (SAPSE), and our very own Co-op Board members!
Why is this so important? After high school, 54% of students with disabilities are neither employed nor enrolled in post-secondary education or training. This event was designed to help reduce that percent. The evening’s most powerful take-aways were:
- Students see the value and are ready and anxious to work. When asked what advice he would give to potential employers, one of our student panelists shared, “Give students feedback. It is important. [We] need it to get the job done and leave with a smile on [our] face.”
- “Employers shouldn’t be nervous about hosting a student with a disability. Students are prepped and we [RSA] and the Co-op are here and able to support employers as they create these opportunities,” shared Mr. Jones an Employment Specialist with DC’s Rehabilitation Services Administration.
- We have the power to change the trajectory for students with disabilities. Research shows that students with disabilities who participate in paid work experience during high school are more likely to maintain employment after school.
The Co-op established business partnerships with three new organizations! Please continue to help us spread the word about the Co-op and support the cause by volunteering or making a donation.