Disability Job Fair planned in Chattanooga next week

Disability Job Fair planned in Chattanooga next week

May 28th, 2012 by Yolanda Putman in News

Staff photo by John Rawlston<br> Phillip Stevens, webmaster for the City of Chattanooga


What: Disability job fair

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 6

Where: Eastgate Town Center, 5600 Brainerd Road.

Additional resources: Preparation sessions are scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday for people who want help with their resumes and from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on June 4 for help with interviewing skills.

Source: Mayor's Council On Disability

There are jobs for people who have disabilities.

That's the message that Carol Martin and Phillip Stevens, with the Mayor's Council on Disability, want to get across by lining up 30 employers to participate in the city's first jobs fair for people with disabilities.

Chairman of the Mayor's Council on Disability, Stevens said a person's self-esteem, independence, disposition and quality of life improve when he or she can contribute to society.

A preparation session for the jobs fair is scheduled Friday to work on resumes and appearance. Another session is scheduled June 4 in which Joe Thomas, employer support for the National Guard/Reserve, will discuss interviewing skills.

Employers ask job applicants to bring two forms of identification and their driver's license to the fair.

The Council on Disability also has gathered vouchers from Goodwill, Alternative Visions Hair Academy and Great Clips to assist job applicants who may need clothes or want a more professional appearance.

Companies scheduled to attend the fair include Bi-Lo, Chattanooga Housing Authority, Chattanooga State Community College, Wacker, Convergys, Wal-Mart, McKee Foods, SunTrust and Erlanger Health System.

"You may be disabled, but nothing is going to stop you if you put your mind to it," said Lori Diffie, human resource manager at Complete Care Choice. She is coming to the job fair to hire sitters for her home health care business.

Diffie said she's looking for sitters who can do light housecleaning and keep a person company.

City of Chattanooga representatives also will attend.

"We're open-minded on what jobs we're going to fill," said Susan DuBose, the city's deputy administrator of personnel. "The city has over 350 jobs, so the odds of us having a job that someone with a disability can do is pretty good."

She said the city has about five or six posted job openings, but usually gets about three openings a week.

Stevens, the city's webmaster, was motivated to organize the jobs fair because he has firsthand experience of challenges people face when they have disabilities.

Thirty years ago, a drunken driver struck Stevens and left him paralyzed. He spent a year in the hospital, then nearly 10 years in physical therapy before he got out of a wheelchair and was able to walk with a cane. That's when he started applying for jobs.

He knew his former career as a Northwest Airlines flight attendant had ended, so he started taking computer classes. When he applied for jobs, employers were prepared to hire him on paper or by talking over the phone, but when he came in for the interview, their eyes never left his cane, he said.

There was no Americans with Disabilities Act or disability job fair then, so it was his family, friends and faith that kept him motivated to keep looking, Stevens said.

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