Starkloff Career Academy graduated 15 new candidates from the Capstone Course on April 19th at the Brentwood Recreation Center in Brentwood, Mo. This unique, 60-hour curriculum is open to people with disabilities who are serious about competing in the mainstream job market, and instills the importance of “owning one’s disability” as an essential attitude to successful employment.

“I was so pleased to see a packed house for this spring graduation ceremony,” remarked Lori Becker, Chief Operations Officer. “Sharply dressed graduates mingled among proud friends, family, alumni and board members – all gathered to share this special night.”

Two alumnae of the Career Academy returned to participate in the graduation ceremony. Justin Howard, Class of Fall 2015 served as the Master of Ceremony. Andrew Sartorius from the Class of Spring 2014  served as the Commencement Speaker. Justin is now a publisher and recording artist, while Andrew is a trial attorney in Jefferson City. These successful graduates gave inspiration and advice to the outgoing class, and shared fond memories of their experience in the program.

Each graduate participated in 60 hours of classes on resume writing, effective job searching, networking, job interviewing, disability disclosure planning, negotiating reasonable accommodations, utilizing social media and more at the Brentwood Recreational Center. Classes were taught by human resources professionals from our corporate partners and by SDI staff.

Highlights of this capstone course included one-on-one training opportunities with hiring professionals from Boeing Company, Centene Corporation and Nestle Purina. There were also guest lecturers from the Dale Carnegie Institute, Saint Louis University, the State of Missouri and the US Department of Labor.

Susan Menhard, Director of the Career Academy, has an MSW and experience creating and teaching college-level courses.  Her personal experience as a woman with a disability is evident in the course structure.

“I celebrated the accomplishments and high level of professionalism of all the graduates,” Susan said of the evening. “We have a great, collaborative Career Academy team.”

It was exciting for me to witness the transformations these candidates went through. As their skills grew, so did their self-confidence. I enjoyed every moment in class with them.”

Starkloff’s Capstone Course is sending out into the world an empowered group of professionals with disabilities who will do amazing things and be role models for others.

Congratulations to all of our Career Academy Class of 2017!

Meet the Graduates

Check out our photo gallery from the ceremony:

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