Students engaged with DSR receive job, resume assistance

February 22, 2022 (Volume 45, Number 12)
Article by Michele Coffill

man seated at desk shows paperwork to a student; only the back of the student's head is visible on the right side. Osborne is wearing a mask.

Jason Osborne, senior advisor for Disability Support Resources, shows a resume guide to a student. Osborne, who has a background in helping people with disabilities gain employment, offers resume and job assistance to students who engage with DSR.

Photo Credit: Amanda Pitts

Students who are engaged with Disability Support Resources can receive assistance and advice on job applications, resumes and interview skills, thanks to a collaborative campus-community partnership.

Jason Osborne, senior DSR advisor, has formalized a process he has done with students for years, helping them connect to on- or off-campus jobs, and reviewing resumes and cover letters.

"We want our students to be more confident when they are ready to apply for a job," Osborne said.

Before working at Grand Valley, Osborne worked for an organization in Minnesota that helped people with disabilities find jobs and be successful. On campus, he has partnered with the Career Center to offer similar advice to students with disabilities or students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

"We have gone on field trips to area corporations, like Meijer, Steelcase and Herman Miller — these are all disability-friendly employers — and have had representatives from those companies come and give workshops at DSR," Osborne said. "It works well for our students who might not feel comfortable going to the Career Center for a career fair."

Osborne said many employers do not know how to accommodate a person with a disability, so they do nothing. It's not difficult to make accommodations, he said, adding an organization like Michigan Rehabilitation Services can help.

"As long as a person is signed up with Michigan Rehabilitation, they will go into a workspace and evaluate it and make suggestions. It might be that someone is sensitive to light and those accommodations would be recommended," he said.

Leslie Hooker is the co-founder of Beer City Dog Biscuits, a nonprofit company that provides vocational training to people with disabilities. Hooker said more time may be needed to train a person with intellectual or developmental disabilities, but it's time well spent.

"Repetition is very helpful for our individuals," she said. 

Grand Valley's Occupational Science and Therapy, and Recreational Therapy departments have helped create assistive technology to aid some Beer City Dog Biscuits employees with certain tasks. The Coit Avenue location serves as a clinical site for those departments as well.

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This article was last edited on February 22, 2022 at 9:37 a.m.

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