Posted On: March 28, 2018
Mercy Healthcare, in conjunction with Starkloff Disability Institute and other regional employment service providers, welcomed 55 job seekers with disabilities and over 40 employers to St. Louis’ second Reverse Job Fair. This exciting meeting took place on March 22nd at the Mercy Virtual Care Center in Chesterfield.
“Employers do not realize what they are missing when they are not advancing people with disabilities to the next level of interviews,” Dana Bordeur, Manager Disability Inclusion Services at Mercy, explained in an interview with KMOV.
“Employers who don’t participate in events like these are really missing out on talent,” said Jason Hartsfield, Starkloff Career Academy Associate. Jason worked one-on-one with our candidates to prepare them for the fair. “Job seekers here represent a wide variety of skills. We have people in IT, business managers, engineers, human resource professionals, graphic artists, researchers, data managers and much more.”
Our Career Academy provided training materials including a workbook and YouTube training videos for all reverse job fair participants. Starkloff Career Academy candidate and 2017 Fall Capstone Course graduate Laura Soucy was also interviewed by KMOV.
“I always think outside the box. I always try to look at things in different ways, and yes I do have a disability, but that doesn’t stop me from doing anything,” said Laura.
Laura has a Masters in Human Resource Management from Webster University. When asked how working with Starkloff prepared her for the event, Laura said, “The Starkloff Capstone class gave me the confidence I needed to go forward and look for a job … I’m more confident about my disability and I don’t hide it anymore.”
Chad Dillon, a recent addition to the Starkloff Career Academy, has experience in sales and project management. Chad saw the fair as a great opportunity to network. “Ultimately the goal would be to get a great job. But if at the end of the day, I’m able to network with some people, maybe grab coffee with some business leaders; even if I don’t get hired by them, I can learn from them. I can make sure I am putting the best version of myself out there.”
Daniel Todd, another Career Academy member and an experienced IT manager and chess teacher, used the fair as an opportunity to help himself and others. “I had lots of fun helping others with viable suggestions and encouragement at the very least. I met most, but not all the other career seekers, and they seemed to be of the same opinion that this was a great opportunity.”
“Events like these help us counter the stereotype that people with disabilities are only qualified for unskilled labor. Starkloff Disability Institute is proud to have participated,” says Starkloff Career Academy Director Susan Menhard. “We will continue working with our partners across the region to host events like these and showcase the wide variety of skills job seekers with disabilities possess.”