Job fair helps Mississippians with disabilities break into the workforce

Job fair helps Mississippians with disabilities break into the workforce
Hundreds attended Tuesday's job fair (Source: WLOX)
Hundreds attended Tuesday's job fair (Source: WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It was a room full of opportunity at the Coast Convention Center on Tuesday. Forty different employers set up at the EmployAbility Job Fair, ready to fill dozens of open positions.

The job fair was hosted by the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services with a focus on helping those with disabilities break into the workforce.

"We think it's a great idea to partner with the Governor's Job Fair Network and bring those employers that are hiring and the clients that we're trying to serve into the same room and try to get them hired into those great full-time careers," said Billy Taylor, Chief of Staff for Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services.

That's the reason why Candy Henson came out with her son Jonathan. He has spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down.

"In a way, it's hard for people who have the needs to be able to find a job, and this opens up the doors for people who do need a job and see what's out there available," said Henson.

Teachers of special needs classes also brought their students out.

"When you're helping them job search, it is very difficult to find an employer who is willing to take the time with them, and spend the time to train them and supervise them a little extra, and so here you know that you're going to get a place that they can belong and they can fit in," said Amanda Lemley, a teacher at Harrison Central.

For employers, it was about connecting with the community.

We're definitely wanting a diverse workforce. NASA is very much a wonderful place to work," said Dr. Kourtney Hollingsworth, an Equal Opportunity Program Specialist for NASA.

"They need jobs as well, so we're open to that," said Ernie Lewelling, a Geico local agent.

Connecting with the community to give everyone a fair chance.

"Everybody needs a shot in life to work," said job seeker, Noah Ellis.

This is the second year the EmployAbility job fair was held on the Coast.

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