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Institute for Disability Studies, Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services Partner to Hold Multiple Job Extravaganzas, Future Career Exploration Events

Fri, 05/10/2024 - 10:35am | By: Rebecca Holland

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The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS), at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services have extended a partnership to continue providing the successful Job Extravaganza program for the next year with renewal option up to five years.

The Job Extravaganza program is a specialized opportunity for students with disabilities, ages 14-21, to participate in a hands-on job experience, provided by local businesses in the area. Job Extravaganza is a fun-filled and educational experience with the primary purpose of providing an inclusive business learning experience.

The goal of the Job Extravaganza is to provide an environment where students can explore a variety of careers freely at their own pace, which can lead them to discover what career options best fit their preferences, strengths, and interests. 

Each Job Extravaganza event begins with a virtual pre-session for student attendees to review the in-person day agenda and discuss rules, student roles, business experience opportunities, and overall expectations. The in-person event consists of businesses from the local areas that provide job skill stations. Students can visit these stations, learn various employment tasks, and receive valuable feedback.

In addition to the students visiting all job stations, they are provided lunch, have time to network, and receive direct pre-employment training. Within two weeks after the in-person event, students participate in a virtual post-session to review event activities, discuss the businesses and skill opportunities, and plan for next learning steps.

“Since November 2022, the Institute for Disability Studies has piloted three Job Extravaganza events in Long Beach, Pearl, and Bay St. Louis, for over 180 secondary students with disabilities,” noted Dr. Jerry Alliston, IDS Associate Director. “Our transition team is excited for this multi-year initiative as we have already seen the impact on students in learning new skills, exploring potential employment options, and even obtaining actual jobs.”

The Job Extravaganza is a service provided by IDS at The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and is funded by The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services as part of a partnership between the two entities.

To learn more about Job Extravaganza or to request an event in your area call 601.266.5163, or email IDS.