Starkloff Career Academy Graduation Celebration – Capstone Course, Fall 2018

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Graduates of the Starkloff Career Academy’s Fall of 2018 Capstone Course celebrated their commencement on December 6 at The Heights in Richmond Heights, Missouri. Some of the graduates’ families and friends joined them in the celebration, as well as SDI’s special guest and members of our Board of Directors.

As part of the ceremony, each Graduate stood to share their “takeaways” with the audience, their personal values in the course. In addition to learning resume writing and stories to use in job interviews, they spoke of the camaraderie, enhanced self-confidence and personal growth.

“I am proud of all the graduates getting out of their comfort zone to present to the audience,” Susan Menhard, MSW, Career Academy Director said. “They did a fantastic job.”

In this course, the graduates participated in 50 hours of class time studying and practicing job interviewing skills, elevator chats and star stories. They also developed a personal plan of their own for revealing their disability, reasonable accommodations and networking skills.

A high point of the course was the one-on-one consultation with top HR professionals from Nestlé Purina, Enterprise Holdings Inc., Wells Fargo Advisors and the Centene Corporation through the Fall Forum.

A prime opportunity was the two-day workshop at COCAbiz where they learned creative ways to explore their uniqueness, tell their story and engage others.

The Master of Ceremonies was Brian Chao, Business Manager for SDI. The commencement speaker was Daniel Nielsen, Vice President of Human Resources in North America for the Centene Health Management Corporation.

Daniel shared a personal story about his relationship with the disability community. He also provided information about George H.W. Bush that is not widely known, and what the signing of the ADA means for all people with disabilities. The speech then ended with some advice and encouragement specifically to the graduates as they continue to pursue their career goals.

Steve Degnan, Chair of The Board awarded graduates with their certificates. “I think these graduations are the most important events we do,” he said. “This program is one of the most important pieces to our organization.”

After the ceremony ended, graduates and audience members stayed to enjoy light refreshments and conversation.

Congratulations to all the honorable, worthy graduates!

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