National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Job Readiness workshop 2018

Proper attire for job interviews, business etiquette on social media, and time management were discussed when about 200 students with disabilities from Shelby County Schools attended The Arc Mid-South’s job-readiness workshop.

“Make sure you’ve got it all together,” urged Rhonda Treadwell, executive director of Dress for Success Memphis. Good grooming – clean teeth, face, hair and nails – is essential preparation for a job interview as is conservative dress, she said. 

Besides wearing a black, navy or dark grey suit, Treadwell recommended closed-toe, low-heeled shoes for women and hard-bottomed shoes for men.  Light makeup, minimal  jewelry and no facial piercings also topped Treadwell’s advice list. Males should wear a long-sleeved, button-down shirt, tie, socks and a belt that matches their shoes.

Though some people might complain that such clothing is boring, “When you go for a job interview, you’re selling yourself, not your clothes,” Treadwell said. Job candidates will be able to express their personalities through their clothing after they are hired, she added.
The March 8 event, held at the main library, also featured staffing managers Alison Kirshner and Jamika Mayho from Accountemps. They recommended having a complete profile, including a professional photo, on LinkedIn to make a good first impression on potential employers.

“Facebook is more personal, like inviting someone into your home,” Mayho said. There is no right or wrong answer on “friending” your boss, though an Accountemps poll found that most people were not comfortable doing so, Kirshner said.

Either way, it’s a good idea to remain professional on Facebook, too. “Whatever you put on your wall is a reflection of you,” Kirshner said. “Don’t post all kinds of craziness,” Mayho advised, noting that employers often Google potential employees and that showing fun times with friends might hurt a job candidacy. A good rule of thumb: “Don’t put anything on Facebook that you don’t want your Grandma to see.”

The Arc Mid-South employees Karen McQueen and Brittany Carter talked about how good time management practices were important, especially in terms of getting to work on time. Another message was to let technology be your friend – a smart phone’s video capability can be used to record, then play back, practice job interviews so that a candidate can hone his or her presentation. “You want to talk in a manner that makes them want to hire you,” McQueen said.

Cell phones also can keep appointment calendars and “to do” lists to help keep people organized. When in doubt about something, ask  iPhone’s Siri or Android’s Google Assistant, Carter recommended.


Job Readiness workshop 2017

On March 9, high school juniors and seniors with special needs attended a Job Readiness workshop at Anointed Temple of Praise, 3939 Riverdale, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. One speaker, Alanna Brooksbank from Robert Half International, talked about job readiness.


Annual 2-Day Workshop and Resource Fair 2015

The Arc Mid-South hosted its annual 2 day workshop on March 12 & 13, 2015 at the Anointed Temple of Praise Church.  The workshop consisted of fun interactive activities, knowledgeable speakers, and resource information geared for students in special education classes. Students from various geographical areas throughout Shelby County High Schools attended the workshop, including Trezevant, Ridgeway, Overton, and Avon Lenox. 

An array of topics, ranging from Tiger Life, to Overcoming Obstacles, to weathering the channels of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services. 

Speakers shared their personal life stories of their “success” despite living with a disability.  As Maurice Williams, of the University of Memphis’ Tiger Life said best, “We don’t have a disability, we just have different abilities.” 

Students were in amazement as they were challenged to view themselves as over comers and encouraged to know that they have the ability to accomplish their goals.

The highlight of the workshop was Day 2, which consisted of a host of vendors that provided useful resources to assist the students in their transition to adulthood.  Vendors consisted of the Tennessee Career Center, Specialized Learning Center, and Workforce Investment, just to name a few. 

The conclusion of the workshop was a Keynote Address from none other than a representative from the Shelby County Schools, Patricia Beane, the Department of Exceptional Children, as she shared the transition plan for students graduating from the public school sector.

The workshop was a definite success, as students proceeded back to school with insight and tools that will inspire them to achieve their greatest possibilities.

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