More than three dozen area residents spent Wednesday learning about job opportunities first-hand. The event was Disability Mentoring Day, but participants focused on their abilities as they spent time with employers throughout the community.
DMD Coordinator Jenni Welsch said adults of all ages were invited to test drive real jobs. They started the day by learning that meaningful employment is certainly within their abilities.
“We had three guest speakers that went through the high school work-study program. All three gained employment in the community through the program,” Welsch said. The speakers were Garrett, who has worked at Walmart as a cart pusher for almost a year; Angela, who has worked in the kitchen at Clara Barton Hospital in Hoisington since 2002; and James, who has worked in shipping and receiving at St. Rose for 20 years.
“Everyone has chosen a specific business to go to today. They will job shadow for almost two hours to see if that is part of the workforce they would like to enter,” Welsch said. She’s coordinated this program for the last six years, and has been involved with it even longer.
“We’ve had great success with it,” she said. Some people who spend time with prospective employers during DMD have been hired on the spot.
Participating businesses and other prospective workplaces included Mitchell’s Bakery, Day’s Inn, Kindscher’s Mule Barn in Hoisington, Cherry Village Nursing Home, Lincoln School, Stanion Wholesale, Wendy’s, A Full House (formerly Hometown Brand Center), Sunflower Incredible Years Preschool, Sunflower Recycling, Game Stop, Playa Azule, Papa Murphy’s, McDonalds, Riggs Studio, Golden Belt Humane Society, Handlebar Restaurant, Marmie’s, OPI, Fed Ex, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, the Barton County Jail, Eagle Radio, Barton Community College and Cheyenne Bottoms.
The annual event sponsored is by the Barton County Transition Council and area agencies that serve adults with developmental disabilities, including Great Bend USD 428 and Kansas Workforce One.