Job interviews, dressing for success, construction projects and auto detailing are some of the activities area disabled students faced at the South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative and Prairie Independent Living Resource Center Job Fair Wednesday at the Pratt County Fairgrounds.

Although the weather reduced the number of students and booths, a lot of good information was passed along to the students.

A wide variety of booths were available for students including Wichita Area Technical College, Kansas Department of Children and Families Adult Protective Services, The Flower Shoppe, Kansas Army National Guard, Blythe Family Fitness, Body by VI, Pratt City Department, Home Lumber and others.

Upon arrival, students were given a passport that was stamped at each both to emphasize the theme of the event, "Job-A-Thon 2013 Your Passport to Success!"

When students had received a stamp from each booth, they were eligible for door prizes.

This is the fifth year for the interactive job fair for high school students with various disabilities. The South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative and Prairie Independent Living Resource Center co-host the event, said Billy Thompson, PILR independent living specialist.

The goal of the event is to provide students with a true career exploration. It will help the students to learn not to let a disability limit their job choices, Thompson said.

Many businesses in Pratt will help students with disabilities that are willing to help themselves. The job fair not only educates students about job choices, it also helps educates businesses about hiring the disabled, Thompson said.

When a business hires a disabled person, many will provide special accommodations if the person requests it. A job coach will also go with the person to the job. A variety of other support services are also available in the community.

Besides visiting the booths, the students started the day with mock interviews where they bring completed job applications and were evaluated on their appearance, presentation, vocal quality and communication skills.

Local businesses provided some of the interviewers who gave immediate feedback to students after the interviews were complete.

Maurices supplied a fashion show to demonstrate what to wear to a job interview and what not to wear, said Gail Boisseau, SCKSEC vocational coordinator.

Special guest speaker for the event was Joe Coles, of Coles consulting service, who conducts workshops on using peer pressure to stop bullying.

The job fair is always looking for more businesses to participate in the event. Interested businesses should contact SCKSEC at 620-672-7500 for information.

Corporate sponsor for the event is The Peoples Bank with coverage provide by KMMM.

The SCKSEC covers seven counties: Pratt, Kingman, Kiowa, Harper, Stafford, Comanche and Barber Counties.

Before the weather reduced numbers, 125 students from the seven counties had signed up to participate along with 50 organizations and businesses. Many were unable to attend.

Contact SCKSEC
• Gail Boisseau
• Glenda Blanchat
• Billy Thompson

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