EmployAbility Expo provides an extra boost toward meaningful employment

Bucks County IU 22  |  Posted on

Everyone has times when a little more practice or individualized guidance can help prepare them for taking the next big step in life. The Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) holds an annual EmployAbility Expo each spring to provide students with special needs extra practice and support as they begin their search for meaningful employment. This year 85 students   registered to participate with Bucks IU Transition Programs (W.O.W. – We’re Outstanding Workers, Everitt, College Connections, Project SEARCH) representing a significant portion of the overall attendees. The event was held on May 2, 2024, and included participants from nine Bucks County school districts and one career technical center.

Classroom teachers helped prepare the students for this exciting day and it showed. The students arrived with smiles in place, “dressed for success,” and with their resumes in hand. The Expo was held at the Bucks IU Administrative Offices in Doylestown, PA.

Dr. Mark Hoffman, Bucks IU Executive Director, kicked-off this year’s Expo as the opening speaker. “The annual Bucks IU EmployAbility Expo captures our organizational goal to strengthen and grow inclusive cultures where all learn, flourish and contribute. Our amazing students from across Bucks County learn and practice new skills that will help them secure and keep competitive employment in today’s economy. Partners from local businesses and community agencies volunteer their time to contribute to the success of the event, hosting workshops and conducting mock interviews. In short, this event demonstrates the power of working together so our students flourish as they enter the workforce.”

The EmployAbility Expo offers each student the opportunity to go through a mock interview with three different volunteer interviewers from various businesses throughout the community. To prepare for their roles, the interviewers attend a presentation about the event including details on how they can best support these students as they ask them questions, offer support and communicate suggestions.

James Lill, Bucks IU Program and Training Specialist and one of the EmployAbility Expo event coordinators, states, “Our Bucks County community is amazing – this year we had more interviewers offering to volunteer and these busy business professionals kindly work with our students in ways that make an enormous and lasting impact on the futures of these young people.”

Between interviews, students attended break-out sessions on topics related to finding employment and being employed. Bryan Berchok, from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), led one session. OVR is a government agency that provides vocational rehabilitation services to help persons with disabilities so they may prepare for, obtain or maintain employment. The other break-out session was led by Lorie McCrory and Maria Gannon, both from the Bucks IU Post-Secondary and Adult Programs.

The best part of the event? Several interviewers reaching out to the Bucks IU and school district staff regarding offers of potential employment to several student participants!

The Bucks IU thanks the following organization/employers for allowing their volunteers to participate:

  • Adelphi Research LLC
  • Aveanna Healthcare
  • Bucks County AE Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Programs
  • Bucks County CIL
  • Bucks County Recorder of Deeds
  • Care & Share Thrift Shoppes
  • Central Bucks School District
  • Core Career Coaching
  • Core Tax Strategies Inc
  • County of Bucks
  • County of Bucks Department of Workforce and Economic Development
  • County of Bucks Workforce & Economic Development
  • Custom Glass Solutions, LLC
  • Erickson Living- Ann’s Choice
  • Evonik
  • Germantown Friends School
  • Humana, Inc
  • Kaleidoscope Family Solutions Inc
  • Lenape Valley Foundation
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme Federal Credit Union
  • Operant Coffee
  • PHMC
  • The Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SEPA SHRM)
  • Vector Remote Care