By Callie Krosin
This year, I had the chance to participate in Jewish Community Services’ Inclusion Awareness Project (IAP). From February to early March, I joined two other teens to learn the role of a JCS Job Coach, aligned myself with individuals who have diagnosed disabilities, and was able to see firsthand how JCS helps people with disabilities find jobs.
As I have started to think about careers, I have come to the realization that finding a job is hard, regardless of your ability. The unfortunate reality is that finding a job when you have a physical, behavioral health, or development disability is even harder; but that is why there are job coaches, and why JCS is training the job coaches of the future.
My experience working as a job-coach-in-training augmented my perspective on diversity and inclusion within the workplace. With this new viewpoint, I believe that when a potential employee is applying for a position, and is going through the interview process, there should be an option for an alternative interview like offering a potential candidate the opportunity for a hands-on interview which would allow a candidate to demonstrate their skills rather than be judged only on answering questions.
If I serve in a leadership position in my career, the knowledge I gained from the IAP internship will guide me in hiring with diversity and inclusion in mind. The IAP program is rightly designed for teens, because we are the CEOs and managers of the future.
About the Inclusion Awareness Project (IAP):
IAP provides three (3) Baltimore area high school students an experiential learning opportunity that helps them gain an understanding about the importance of supporting individuals with disabilities in becoming more independent, with a focus on fostering inclusion and diversity in today’s workplace.
Callie Krosin, former JCS Career Center IAP Intern
The project orients students to the ways that employment services for individuals with disabilities have evolved over time, while increasing their awareness of and exposure to the obstacles and barriers individuals with disabilities currently face in the pursuit of community-based employment or internship opportunities. Students take on the role of “job coach-in-training” to learn about the importance of employing individuals with disabilities and the benefits to both the individual and the employer.