Job shadows continue during pandemic – virtually

Since the pandemic began, PYD continues our mission to build the skills of youth with disabilities. The venue has changed, with all programming happening online, yet participants have access to the same programming, and more.

In February, the Career Readiness (CR) team offered the first “CR Cinema,” a virtual workshop led by Pre-Employment Specialist Mehdi Raoufi. Participants learned about different career paths, what they look like, and how to get there – all through informative, fun videos.

During CR Cinema Mehdi guided the group through Virtual Job Shadow, a website that allows users to explore different careers through videos. Job shadowing helps PYD participants learn about the duties and skills of various careers, while giving them a chance to “try out” the daily tasks of the job. This enables users to imagine themselves in a certain role.

Participants were excited to share their career paths of interest. Anthony said he’d like to learn about sound creators and music producers. Madison loved animals and wanted to learn about the path to becoming a veterinarian. Miranda was interested in both baking and makeup artistry. This type of open discussion is important in helping PYD participants feel empowered to speak up about their ideas, both inside and outside of the workplace.

Sensing the excitement for creative career paths, Mehdi shared videos of an audio engineer at a recording studio and a self-taught baker who makes custom cakes. Both attributed their success to hard work and a passion for the craft. Mehdi summarized, “Work is often greater than the sum of its parts.”

Outside of CR Cinema, the CR team assists students in resume writing, mock interviews, and one-on-one career exploration. Through PYD curriculum and their own initiative, participants are empowered to find employment and to create self-determined lives filled with purpose.

This article was written by PYD volunteer Lizzy Wimberly