BISMARCK, N.D. – As
spring approaches, students are reminded it’s not too early to
think about a summer job and gaining valuable work experience. The
North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Division of Vocational
Rehabilitation is offering job search assistance and other support to
high school students with disabilities who want to work this summer.
year, 57 students participated in the program statewide, and the
division hopes to serve more students.
"We want young
individuals with disabilities to have opportunities to succeed in the
workplace. Experience matters," said division director Russ
Cusack. “Involving students in the summer work experience program
is part of our overall commitment to ensure students become employed,
which supports a successful transition from high school to careers
said most participants have limited work experience, and the program
helps them develop needed skills. Learning the importance of a strong
work ethic, communicating effectively with others, working as a team
member, and meeting employer expectations are experiences that lead
to success, he said.
rehabilitation counselors address not only these issues, but help
students search job openings, prepare a resume, complete job
applications and go through the interview process. The program can
also offer some support after a job placement.
participate, students must qualify for
vocational rehabilitation services. The division encourages students
to participate in at least two work experiences before they leave
work in the hospitality industry including food service, movie
theaters, hotels, and retail, which are common for first-time job
seekers. The ideal placement, Cusack said, is 20 hours per week from
late May through August. Occasionally an employer hires a participant
for a more permanent position after the summer work experience ends.
program is a collaborative effort involving the Division of
Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department of Public Instruction, Job
Service North Dakota, secondary school transition teachers, community
rehabilitation providers, parents, students and employers.
individuals should contact the vocational rehabilitation office in
their region. Contact information is available on the Web at
For information on vocational rehabilitation services benefitting
individuals and employers, go online to www.nd.gov/dhs/dvr,
or call 701-328-8950, or ND Relay TTY 1-800-366-6888.