A Different Kind of Job Fair in Scranton

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SCRANTON -- It was a job fair with a different twist Monday morning in Scranton. The goal was to help young people with disabilities land that first job.

Camryn Kuchak, a 17-year-old student in the North Pocono School District, is looking for a job. The search brought him to the University of Scranton and a job fair hosted by the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Students with disabilities learn the job interview skills that will get their feet in the employment door.

"It helps me get easier coordinated with what I need to say to people who interview me and all," Camryn said.

That was Camryn's biggest worry -- what to say in job interviews, but there was more like how to dress, how to speak, how to discuss disabilities, and how to properly use social media.

The Center for Independent Living and the University of Scranton also sponsored the job fair. The people doing the mock interviews, and coaching the young people are University of Scranton graduate students, like Liam Mooney. The grad students also see this as a learning experience.

"Just to get a bit more experience while I can while I'm still in grad school, so I'm prepared to serve different populations," Mooney said.

This wasn't just practice. Inside one room at the University of Scranton, employers looking for part-time and seasonal help.

And students aren't just picking up skills that will help them land a job. They are picking up skills that will help them in life.

Among the biggest include building confidence and overcoming shyness.

"It has been proven that students who have a job during high school are two and a half more times more likely to have one after high school, so helping them get ready for that is what we're here to do," said Kristen Leahy, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

That first job, according to the people here, isn't just an economic issue. It's a self-esteem issue and now they are better prepared to go out and get that first paycheck.

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