The Starkloff Career Academy

The Starkloff Career Academy

75% of our graduates from the SCA class have found employment.



Career Academy Capstone Course: This 8 week, 50 hour course includes classes on resume writing, effective job searching, networking, job interviewing, disability disclosure planning, negotiating reasonable accommodations, utilizing social media, and much more. This unique course is open to students of all disabilities and introduces the importance of “owning one’s disability” as an essential attitude to successful employment. Guest speakers include senior HR executives from major corporations including Nestlé Purina, Centene Corporation, St. Louis University, Enterprise Holdings, Enterprise Bank and Trust, Boeing Corporation, Monsanto, Wells Fargo, and others.

This class structure builds candidates’ confidence in their ability to land the right job for them.  In addition, participating companies gain experience interviewing and becoming familiar with candidates with disabilities, opening doors to a traditionally untapped pool of qualified candidates. The syllabus for this class is updated annual.

This course is offered through Maryville University, Continuing Education program. To enroll Click here

Careers 101: In addition to the Capstone Course, Academy staff work one-on-one with job candidates to support their individualized employment goals. New candidates meet in-person with a staff member to familiarize themselves with Academy services and complete a short intake interview. This is an opportunity for candidates to identify their individual goals, career ideas, strengths, areas for improvement, and begin addressing barriers to employment.

Career coaching includes feedback on applications, resumes, and cover letters; personalized disclosure plans; behavioral interview practice; networking assistance; and more. Academy staff continue to work with candidates for as long as the candidate desires including regular contact with both the candidate and the candidate’s vocational rehabilitation counselor. In addition, Academy stay with the candidate for up to a year after successful employment to help with navigating the training process and address any barriers that may arise.

Career Academy Special Events: Candidates have access to special events including courses, forums, and guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds discussing topics related to disability and job seeking.

Professional Connectors connects inclusive-minded professionals from the St. Louis region with job seekers with disabilities. Candidates have the opportunity to meet, network and share industry knowledge and job-seeking advice.

Motivation Mondays are an opportunity to build relationships with other professionals with disabilities and motivate each other for the month ahead. Both current job seekers and successful graduates are encouraged to attend. We meet on the first non-holiday Monday of every month at different venues around the St. Louis area.


Susan Menhard, Director of the NBS Initiative, has an MSW and experience creating and teaching college level courses.  Her personal experience as a woman with a disability, who was rejected from her former job because of her disability, is evident in the course structure.  Susan is able to understand the difficulty disabled people face when trying to land the perfect job.  She is also able to instill great confidence in candidates by her example, the quality of the speakers she provides for candidates and the peer environment she creates in the classroom where candidates learn to support each other as they learn important job seeking skills.

Jason Hartsfield, Career Academy Assistant and co-instructor, has a Masters in Social Work from the George W. Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. Jason was born with ocular albinism and brings his life-long experiences as an individual with a disability to the program. Jason graduated Summa Cum Laude from the 2013 Capstone Course. Since then, he has focused on developing his skills in training, curriculum development, and program evaluation through employment, internships, and volunteer work with organizations including the National MS Society, Diversity Awareness Partnership, and the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Jason was also an active volunteer with Starkloff Disability Institute before being brought on as a full-time employee in 2016.

Tina Vinson, Director of Community Outreach, has a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and also had difficulty finding a job because of her disability.  She works one-on-one with candidates, assists in the SCA Capstone class instruction, and provides job coaching. Her primary role is to develop community partnerships with other community agencies and organizations to share our mission. Tina also has 20 plus years of professional work experience in the Social Services field. Tina is also a graduate of the Capstone program, Class of 2013.


Starkloff Disability Institute’s corporate partners have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring meaningful employment of individuals with disabilities. Career Academy staff advocate on behalf of qualified candidates who apply for positions with one or more of our corporate partners to ensure their application stands out from the crowd. This arrangement has enhanced the hiring of candidates with disabilities locally and promises to increase hiring as more and more qualified candidates become available.


Classes are conducted in a variety of locations. Locations are determined based on access to local public transit and on the needs of individual candidates. We also accommodate all learning styles in course materials and instruction.

About Post Author

Leave a Reply

© 2015 Starkloff Disability Institute