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Arc of the Bay holds Job-A-Palooza for people with disabilities
News Herald - 9/14/2018
Sept. 14--PANAMA CITY -- Friday, Arc of the Bay, in partnership with Chautauqua Learn and Serve, will host Job-A-Palooza, a job fair event for students ages 14 to 18 with intellectual or developmental differences to gain confidence in their ability to enter the job market.
"We work with individuals with disabilities," said Ron Sharpe, executive director of the Arc of the Bay organization. "We teach life skills, job skills, and anything that we can do to help them lead a more productive and independent lifestyle."
The event will be held in Student Union East at Gulf Coast State College and will host over 20 businesses from the community. After the students learn about the jobs available, they will be paired with mentoring volunteers from local high schools who will help the students decide which jobs the students are most likely to enjoy.
"At each table, they're going to get a chance to multitask, have some fun, learn about the job skill," Sharpe said. "It's all going to be positive, it's all going to be fun."
Once the students select five business stations to visit, they will be given the opportunity to practice emulating tasks that would be assigned in the real job such as folding towels, stuffing envelopes, preparing flatware, assembling boxes, setting and cleaning a table, and sorting.
Sharpe expects over 50 students and over 50 mentors to attend.
According to Sharpe, the event will plant seeds for disabled individuals to discover the plentiful job opportunity in the community as well as what they like to do and what they enjoy.
"These individuals are going to be able to see all the different job skills and also the various jobs that are available to them," he said, which will, in time, make it easier for individuals to "add value to the community and to society."
At the end of the event, each business will recognize and award students for excellent skills and qualities demonstrated at their stations.
Arc of the Bay works with over 280 individuals with disabilities in the area to improve quality of life through success and independence, and has been doing so for the last 61 years.
"This is opening doors and opening minds. What we also call, change the culture, change the world." said Sharpe. "Everybody can add value. Everybody can make a difference."
"It's going to be an action packed day," he added. "It's going to be a great day."
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